Wildfire is the front page of the 5 miles around you. It’s a hyperlocal news app where users post about major events (from safety to a celebrity sighting) to notify the people right around them instantly.
Why join us?
Wildfire is used by over 40k students weekly at 20 colleges (50% 90-day retention), and we’re expanding to 30+ colleges this fall.
We are backed by Y Combinator, Accel, Greylock, Khosla, Redpoint, and the Founder of Gmail. Our team's past experience spans Facebook, Nextdoor, Dropbox, and Visa.
Over 50% of UC Berkeley’s campus downloaded Wildfire within a month. When a shooting happened near campus, we notified 4,000 students in 1 minute – and grew by 2,000 downloads in the next hour - literally spreading like wildfire.
Engineering at Wildfire
Our engineering team is very small so you'll have very large ownership and high impact. We're currently 2 people in the office, as well as 2 remote contractors.
We prioritize speed and experimentation (over getting it perfect). In our morning meeting each day, we give updates/demos on current tasks, and outline and prioritize new projects. If you're taking lead on a project, you'll work closely with our team on design and gathering user research, and also help split up tasks with the rest of the engineering team (if it's needed). You'll also be the PM of your features - tracking and monitoring the analytics to see how our users are using it.
We use GitHub with pull requests to manage code. We aim to ship new versions of our apps every week, and backend/web changes multiple times a day.
Most our our projects fall under 3 categories: (1) product features, (2) internal tools, and (3) infrastructure.
(1) Product features are for our mobile apps, and are features that students have been requesting for us to add, such adding DMs (direct messages) or search.
(2) Internal tools (our web dashboard and automation scripts) help our team maintain and moderate content at over 30+ campuses 24/7.
(3) Infrastructure projects allow us, the engineering team, to make our product more reliable and performant for our users (examples: setting up AWS autoscaling, or configuring continuous integration so tests run automatically)
A recent project we worked on was making it easier to discover old posts in Wildfire. We spoke to our users, and showed them mockups of different UIs to filter/search through posts. Based on their feedback, we implemented a simple search bar, that shows suggested search terms when you tap on it. For the backend, we used Postgres's text search features (tsvector) to index post text, but as we collect more data on how students are using the search bar, we'll likely switch to faster/more detailed indexing tool like Elasticsearch or Algolia.
Safety news scraper
We've built a web scraper that pulls articles from news websites, Twitter, Reddit, and more. It then runs a classifier to determine which articles contain actionable safety information (such as a mugging or robbery). This tool is also connected to a web dashboard that our content team monitors, to send out as push notifications to students. Overall, this scraper is constantly undergoing improvement — from improving the ML in the classifier, to connecting it to Slack alerts, and much more.
Switching our backend to GraphQL
Currently we use REST endpoints to communicate between our mobile apps and backend. We'd like to migrate to GraphQL, which is an alternative released by Facebook in 2016. It allows our apps to request smaller payloads (speedier) and eliminates the need to version our backend (v1, v2, etc). It also has nice support for real-time subscriptions, so we easily get live updates for important UI elements like likes, comments, and views.
Working at Wildfire
We are driven to break stories that deeply impact people right now rather than later. We're a group of ambitious, diverse, and curious story tellers. You'll find us constantly learning and experiencing new things, from product features to traveling to new schools and destinations. Above all, we care for each other's health and happiness because that's what makes coming in to work so fun and enjoyable.
We have a beautiful office in SoMa, San Francisco - close to great restaurants and 1 block from the Giants stadium. You can draw and write on all our walls and we curate our own snacks, drinks, and entertainment. We give you $500 to spend on your desk / personal space. Our goal is that you’re as comfortable as possible working here. Buy that monitor or Airpods or whatever your heart desires.
Our whole team is composed of out of staters. We all work hard and put in long hours, but are a big believers in traveling and spending time with your family :)
Have catered lunches daily. On Fridays, our team members take turns choosing a new restaurant to go out to!
Our day starts at 10:30 and typically going until 7 in office (but we're flexible). Your work quality matters much more than the number of hours you're in the office.
We do an escape room (physical adventure game) with every new member of our team (best way for people to get to know each other)! We also watch a lot of movies together and love exploring new restaurants in the city.
We cover business related transportation (Ubers, Flights, Hotels).
Interested in this company?
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