employee spotlight

 

 

 

Employees at Blurb

We're engineers, product experts, designers, executives, and more—but we're also real people (who are really fun to work with). Meet some of the people who make Blurb happen and learn more about who we are and what we do all day.

 

Geary Zendejas

Geary Zendejas

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Product Department

 

What’s your favorite thing about working at Blurb?

My favorite thing about working at Blurb is helping to build and deliver products that enable anyone to tell their unique stories to the rest of the world. People put a lot more effort into a book than they do, say, a Twitter or Instagram post; and it’s so fun looking through all the books that have been published with us and seeing the amazing stories we’ve enabled people to tell.


If you could describe working at Blurb in three words, what would they be?

Comradely. Unpredictable. Inspiring.

How do you describe your job at Blurb to other people?

I pull together the trifecta of customer behavior, market trends, and product metrics to derive the precise messages about our products that matter the most to prospective customers and to also help inform product development.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Play video games, drink bourbon cocktails, work out, hike, travel, and do all the cliché (but oh so fun) San Francisco stuff for which our city is so notorious.

Judith Basler

Judith Basler

Director, Program Management

Program Management Department

 

How do you describe your job at Blurb to other people?

When I tell my friends about my job, I always rave about the people, how nice and smart everyone is, and the camaraderie that I enjoy so much. We have fun at work. At the end of the day, it is the people you work with that make your day fulfilling. There is a shared passion and pride amongst the Blurb employees for the brand and its products. It makes your job really easy when people are equally committed to wanting to develop something greater every day.

What technologies, processes, and techniques do you get to use?

I am a Certified Scrum Master and Agile advocate for the creation tools application development group. Our development groups are split into different scrum teams. We use JIRA, an application used to track and plan development work under the Agile principle.

Tell us about your own Blurb books.

I have made many books, most of them about my travels. My Africa images turned out so beautiful, they make me want to go back every time I look at my book. I am working on a children's book now that I hope to publish. It's my first book using professional layout features with content and images.

 

 

 

Chris Zhang

Chris Zhang

Senior Software Engineer

Engineering Department

 

What’s your favorite thing about working at Blurb?

The company culture is excellent and everyone here is really diverse and welcoming, which is a rarity in the tech industry. Everyone I interact with on a regular basis is really nice and I feel respected both personally and professionally. I enjoy being around all the members of my team and I really appreciate that management respects our time and work-life balance and also doesn't, for example, start yelling or trying to throw people under the bus if something ever goes wrong, or have unrealistic ideas and demands about deadlines, or any of the other dysfunctional stories I've heard about managers at other companies.

If you could describe working at Blurb in three words, what would they be?

Good work-life balance.

What technologies, processes, and techniques do you get to use?

Uh, in no particular order: Ruby, Rails 2, Rails 3, Coffeescript, Haml, Sass, Git, Rspec. We're working on being more Agile. We do a fair amount of pair programming and all our commits are code-reviewed.

Pierre LaRochelle

Pierre Larochelle

Engineering Manager

Engineering Department

 

How did you hear of Blurb?

In college, I downloaded BookSmart because I wanted to make a book for a friend. For some reason I didn’t end up making the book and completely forgot about it. A few years later a recruiter I was working with suggested Blurb as a place to work. After my first interview I looked into the company a little, downloaded the latest BookSmart, and was pleasantly surprised to see my half-made book staring back at me.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Blurb?

I like how laid-back things are. I think it’s important not only from a life balance prospective but also because of the relaxed “just get it done, don’t worry about it” environment. Everyone is always happy—even when they’re stressed. It just makes coming into work that much more pleasant.

What’s your average day like?

I usually start by looking through my emails and any code changes that need to be reviewed. I then get started on any stories I need to finish or start. I’ve been transitioning into a new leadership role, so actual development work is chopped up into the spaces between meetings. I used to really hate meetings, since they distract from “actual” development work, but I’ve started to notice that I’m much more motivated to get the dev work done after seeing where we’re going as a company and how the work of my team has gotten us to where we are.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I’m a very social person so I’m often out with friends. Dinners, bars, dancing—that sort of thing. I like to travel a lot (again, to see friends). When I’m on my own I like to work on personal software projects and read fiction.

 

 

 

Estella Madison

Estella Madison

Senior Software Engineer

Engineering Department

 

What’s your average day like?

First thing I do is spend 15 minutes to an hour skimming my RSS feeds for the latest technology news. Sometimes I'll come across something that's very relevant to what I'm working on at Blurb, like a new CSS technique or development tool, so I prioritize these articles. Other times it's just an inspirational blog post (like the ones I read from The Pastry Box Project).

I then focus on my tasks and stories for the current sprint. I do a lot of code review at Blurb using GitHub—this gives us an opportunity to review someone else's work and provide constructive feedback. It not only helps us maintain a high-quality codebase, but it's also a great learning tool. It gives me a chance to see how someone else might achieve a task—we each have unique approaches as coders.

When I worked out of the San Francisco office, lunch was always something I looked forward to. There are so many amazing restaurants near our office, so a few of us would get together every week to try them out. And of course on Wednesdays we have catered lunch. This is always fun as I usually get to chat with someone in a different department.

If you could describe working at Blurb in three words, what would they be?

Challenging. Flexible. Diverse.

How do you describe your job at Blurb to other people?

I'm a UI-focused Software Engineer at Blurb, an on-demand publishing platform where we help people make both print and digital books.

What technologies, processes, and techniques do you get to use?

JavaScript (Ember.js, Backbone.js, and jQuery), Rails, CSS/SASS

Tell us about your own Blurb books.

Every year my husband and I celebrate our anniversary with a book that nicely summarizes the year for us. It's a photo book of all our adventures.

Forrest Bryant

Forrest Bryant

Senior Content Manager

Marketing Department

 

How did you hear of Blurb?

I have an unusual background. I started out in bookstores, then got into traditional publishing (doing book production for a couple of New York houses), and eventually moved into web content wrangling in Silicon Valley. A few years back, I was looking for a way to combine all of that: My deep love of books, my skills with the web, the adrenaline rush of a young tech company, and the satisfaction of working with (and for) truly creative people. When I saw a job listing for Blurb, all the bells started ringing. I knew I just had to work here. I never looked back.

What’s your average day like?

Blurb is a fast-growing company, so we're always busy. Each day is different, with multiple projects in various stages of development. I might be talking to the engineers one minute, writing copy the next, and defining strategy for our content management system after lunch. But there's also a lot of camaraderie around the office, so there's always time for a cup of coffee or the latest funny cat .gif. And I'm able to maintain a healthy balance between work and my personal life.

Have you made a book? What’s it about?

I've made a lot of books. As an employee, I try to make at least one of everything we offer. I've written a pulp-style adventure novel, spent months crafting huge, artsy photo books, and thrown together a pile of Instagram pictures in an evening. My favorite (besides the novel) is a coffee-table book of animal portraits, compiled from six months of visits to the San Francisco Zoo.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I'm really into street photography (a hobby I acquired through looking at all the books at Blurb!), and I'm making progress on the sequel to my novel. I've also hosted a weekly jazz radio show for the past 15 years, so I spend a lot of time listening to new music.

 

 

 

 

To Top