In this Netlify team interview series, we’ll be giving you a sneak peek of a day in the life of some of our teammates. Introducing Meet our Netlifolks – up first, meet Bhavana Srinivas, a Senior Solutions Engineer at Netlify!
What was your path to Netlify and what were your first impressions of the company?
I lived in India for 21 years and after my undergraduate studies I moved to LA with my best friend. LA is where I decided to pursue my master’s degree and study network engineering. My first role after college was a developer advocate at PubNub, a tech startup in San Francisco. In this role I built demos and showcased different realtime technologies. I was traveling a lot, speaking at a lot of conferences. I did that for a few years and loved meeting lots of people! After a while though, I was growing tired of the travel and looked at different functionalities within PubNub that I could transition to. I started sitting in on lots of sales calls and realized I could use the skills I had to support our enterprise customers. I moved into the solutions engineer role and I absolutely loved it!
One of my coworkers who I worked with for three years left the company and joined Netlify, which is when I first learned about the company. He spoke about the mission of the company with so much passion and this inspired me to look into it. I hadn’t yet heard about Jamstack and the world of frontend development was not something I had spent too much time on. Everything came together as I was also looking for something exciting, so I joined as the first solutions engineer at Netlify, which at the time was a team of 30 or so folks.
First impressions of the company, once I visited the office, were that everyone gave off a really relaxed vibe. I had four back-to-back interviews where I met with our leadership team, engineering team, and our co-founders. I loved that it didn’t feel like I was being grilled. It wasn’t stressful and felt like it was more of a conversation than an interview. I loved the energy and excitement and the interview process was really straightforward. It was a great vibe and it really felt like I could make a big difference at the company. After that, things moved quickly with the offer. There was no real on-boarding when I joined. I was given my laptop and then had to figure it out myself. It’s a different world now where the People team really puts together a thoughtful on-boarding that I know my colleagues love.
Tell me more about your role & your team.
I’m a Solutions Engineer, and I support our enterprise customers/prospects to get most value from Netlify. This role is crucial at Netlify because we’re selling a really technical product to teams and we need someone who can directly talk to the details of the product and help sell it while being an engineer themselves. We are now a team of three and I have team members in London and in the Bay Area.
We work closely with the sales and business teams to understand the problems companies are trying to solve and find the best solution for them using Netlify (or not). It also requires us to be the voice of the customer internally and we’re constantly collecting feedback from customers to help improve the product.
Our team’s culture is one of learning because we are the technical point of contact for the customer and they trust us to tell them how best to use Netlify. We keep ourselves up to date on the specifics of both Netlify and the broader ecosystem so we can advise customer teams accordingly. We promote learning and are constantly sharing guides and how-to’s with each other, while also giving each other feedback in an honest and respectful manner.
We promote learning and are constantly sharing guides and how-to’s with each other, while also giving each other feedback in an honest and respectful manner.
What has your experience been like working remotely?
I was really nervous to transition into remote working because I’d never done it before, and I was relocating from San Francisco to Toronto at the time. I had been working from home and remotely even before the pandemic forced all of us to do so. I’ve since set up a workspace at home that has really helped me focus and get into the “work” zone. It has also helped me to have dedicated working hours and really planning my time to take breaks in between. Being in a customer facing role, I do “dress up” every day as if I were going into an office, and that has helped get into work mode as well.
When I first started working remotely I would start my day at 9 a.m. and go all the way to 8 p.m. ET just so I’d overlap with team members. It was no surprise that I felt constantly tired. Setting up specific work hours and a routine has helped bring back focus and purpose every day. Before I start my day I do some yoga, I meditate, and read which really helps me get into the day much more calm and less scrambled. We have since adopted a dog, so she gives us ample reasons to get out and get some fresh air.
If I were to give advice to someone looking to join Netlify, I usually like to be very transparent about working remotely. It’s a pretty big shift from what most folks and companies are used to so I recommend really thinking about whether this is the right environment for them.
What does your day to day look like and what are some projects that you’ve been proud of working on?
My typical day revolves around customer calls so it’s never the same. This includes prepping as well as follow-ups for those calls. In terms of organizing my day, I like setting a routine and structure around the hours I’m working and blocking out time that I need to do “heads-down” work. I also really love working on blogs and creating webinars and product demos that we present at conferences. I find it rewarding to have variety within the role and to explore different areas that helps me grow overall.
In terms of technical challenges, I’m really proud of how we’ve been able to build up a team. When I started there was a lack of structure and we were still very nascent in our overall sales processes. I have a tendency to ask a lot of questions, asking: why do we do this or that, why we won this deal and why we didn’t win this other deal, is this repeatable—really digging to find repeatable patterns. We’ve been making a conscious effort of documenting commonly asked questions and documenting every single conversation we’ve had with customers. Our co-founder, Chris, still calls me “the original truth seeker”! It’s been fruitful to see the impact of everything we have done in the last two years!
Is there a particular memory from your time here that stands out?
One memory that stands out is one from my second year anniversary at Netlify. Chris sent out a thoughtful message of appreciation, which really made my day. I love that Matt and Chris, our co-founders, are so genuine in their interactions and intentions with everyone in the company. They really go out of their way to tell you how much they appreciate you and call you out when you do fabulous things. They listen when you have concerns and that really makes one feel heard.
I love that Matt and Chris, our co-founders, are so genuine in their interactions and intentions with everyone in the company.
What are some fun facts about you and what do you like to do outside of work?
One odd fact (I don’t know if it is fun) that comes to mind is from my time in India. In India, all 10th and 12th grade students have to take a country-wide exam that literally dictates our lives. Both times, I ranked 8th in the entire country! It’s such an odd fact because, how does one come twice in the same rank in a country with billions of people? Another actual fun fact is that I was featured in a regional soap opera when I was a kid! My twin brother (oops slipped another fun fact :P) used to play cricket growing up and one of the main actors knew him through cricket. They needed someone to run around in the title song track, so I was able to be part of it!
Outside of work, I absolutely love cooking! I’m really into cookbooks and have a whole shelf filled with them. My teammates wonder how I’m on calls all day and find time to cook! The sales team is very opinionated when it comes to food, so we are always sharing pictures of our barbecues or sourdoughs and desserts, and it is really fun.