May 11, 2020

Why MURAL Was (And Is) for Me

Santi Figueiras

Having started a 20-person company of designers and developers at the early age of 21, Santi joined MURAL as a full stack developer on MURAL's Integrations Team in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When not hard at work on MURAL, you'll find Santi pursuing interests in fashion, poetry and music.

My name is Santiago José Figueiras, and I live in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina (it's a great city — if you want to visit when this is all over, just email me). I could go on and on with my title, my interests, my skills, buuuuut…  

I won't. That's what bios are for.

And because that would drive your brain to reduce the range of tasks that I do to the ones you think I do. Titles aren't inherently bad, if used wisely. For instance, they can help people find common ground with one another. So, what I will do instead is tell you how I got to MURAL last year — and why I've chosen to stay.

Working from my home office in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Let's Go Back in Time

I used to own a software development agency that started as a single project working for a Spanish consultant firm, facilitating design thinking workshops (some of which I co-facilitated in Argentina). Back then, design thinking wasn't yet a thing, and my team and I helped our client build a digital collaboration tool to work with design thinking and Lean Startup tools. (Sound familiar?) 

MURAL had been around already for a few years, and they were clearly "competitors" — at least in an aspirational way. Sorta like, "Someday we'd like to be where they are." As a junior but wildly eager-to-learn developer I also looked to them for inspiration as they were better established: "How would their infrastructure work?" and, "How the heck did they solve real time challenges like multiple consistency on edit?"

(Thanks for coming with me on that really specific train of thought.)


Why I Joined MURAL

So, fast-forward several years, and there it was: the job opening shining through the third dimension that was the rest of my LinkedIn feed. It clearly connected with some part of my brain that other job options didn't — the eye-catching neon coral of the logo notwithstanding.

The hiring process was quite relaxed, in a positive way. I talked with CTO Pato Jutard about my experience and the opportunities inside the company to grow. This might be obvious if you think of a growing international tech company with a product that is used by huge companies where you can, and probably will, build cutting-edge tech solutions that change the way thousands and millions of people interact. What may not be so obvious though is the amount of opportunities you have to create opportunities (redundancy intended) because all the teams (including the co-founders) will buy in if they see your confidence and commitment to execution on a plan.


Why I Stayed at MURAL

For me and many others, MURAL is the place in tech where you can start as though you were a simple cog in an engine — like a FullStack Engineer — and then gradually find the little gems that match seamlessly with your unique traits. These are the things that are most difficult to include in a job description because it would end up being 5 pages long, and you'd get tired and keep scrolling. I'm talking about things like technical writing and public speaking (both supported internally with practice and mentoring from experts), real leadership skill development (not the LinkedIn-ian marketing BS), building empathy towards team members with wildly varying backgrounds (think sales, marketing, and design), and helping each other thrive by sharing your critical and productive perspective. This not only makes the work environment more harmonious, but it improves the processes that drive the product forward. Regardless of your title, you can be kickstarting projects, and replacing, removing, and adding tools that make our lives easier.

Now you know why I feel so strongly about titles. 😏

There are other things that are commodities in companies of this level but worth mentioning. Like, right now, I am writing this blog post in my living room accompanied by my dog, Vulfpeck, and a mate with yerba uruguaya. Also, I can take a break when I need to and play some jazz on the piano, or take a walk with my dog. If I take a walk, I'll try to get home just in time for my almost-daily integrations team meeting (yeah, it is a thing). We're the team that struggles with third party APIs and integrations that make MURAL all the more powerful.

At MURAL, and on my team specifically, we all know what we have to do, when we have to do it, and why. No one needs to chase anyone down. Our objectives are clear, clearly and transparently shared starting with the Mariano, MURAL CEO, and the rest of the team leads at All Hands meetings (which actually have nothing to do with physical hands, much to my surprise).

We're also not perfect — and we ALL know it — things can change, break, fail or succeed, and we are hyper-aware of that volatility.

Sounds pretty great, right? Now ... what if I were to make you an offer you couldn't refuse, like a job as a Fullstack Developer?


A Jungle of Opportunity

You might say MURAL sounds like a great, human-centered organization. Or, you might say, "Hey, wait a second! There must be something wrong, are you a cult or something like that?" No, we are not a cult. But — or, and — let's bring even more transparency for the sake of consistency here (we love consistency).

A growing company is a company with growing pains; there are things that must be dealt with for which there are no out-of-the-box solutions. You have to be able to manage some amount of uncertainty — the uncertainty of not knowing the right answer but giving it a try anyway. And that, my friend, takes trust. Thankfully, you can choose the amount of uncertainty you want to deal with. And if you want it, there's a jungle of opportunity waiting for you.

As for me? Gotta catch 'em all (or some of them, at least). 🐉

Thanks for reading. If you want to chat more about my MURAL experience, please feel free to email me at santiagof@mural.co.