June 15, 2016
Rue La La's Engineers Experience Freedom to Excel

Rue La La has been disrupting retail with its high-end, flash-sale model since 2008. The company's space is invigorating, inviting creativity and innovation. Each year, Rue nominates associates for each of its company values - the above photo showcases its values winners from 2015. 

This week, we shine the spotlight on Rue's engineering team about what it's like to work there. Hear straight from some of them in this awesome video and get an inside look into their Boston office. Get your curiousity fix and read on.

Rue La La is hiring! Check out its BIZZpage!

Can you share what the background of the engineering team is as a whole?

The engineering team comes from diverse backgrounds, from all around the world, and from many different disciplines. That diversity is part of what makes our story so compelling. You’d find a lot of early stage technology startup experience covering a wide range of applications and industries such as gaming, machine learning for emotion detection, and security penetration testing all the way to social media, mobile and enterprise payment systems, online collaboration tools and various other forms of large scale B2B SaaS.

What we share above and beyond everything else is our passion for our business and delivering great technology to solve challenging business problems. Between that and our great social atmosphere — we hang out after hours, play games, have LAN parties, and spend summer Friday afternoons at local pubs — we’ve really built an organization that is more like a group of friends than a workplace.

We'd love to hear from a couple of members of your team. Can you highlight a few specifically?

Ken PickeringThere’s a lot to like about Rue La La. The major thing that keeps me really psyched to come into the office every day has to be the people I work with. Everyone is really collaborative (with Kindness as one of our core values), and I feel like we’re all aligned on making Rue the best possible shopping destination it can be for our customers. It also helps that we’re working on a lot of really interesting features as we try to transform the e-commerce and flash sale space.  We don’t shy away from hard technical challenges, nor are we ever satisfied with the status quo. The honest truth is, I couldn’t ask for a better place to work.

Claire Bourdeau: When people ask where I work and what I do, I proudly tell them how much I love the people I work with and the fun and exciting challenges that I get to work on. The understanding and appreciation for the importance of having a strong Product and UX team makes me so proud to be a part of it. I love that the work I do can make a direct impact on the millions of customers who shop on Rue La La every day. Rue La La continues to bring in super talented, high-energy, fun-to-be-around people that make me feel so grateful to be a part of the team.

Misha Korablin: Rue La La exceeded all of my expectations. Talented, knowledgeable, passionate, and collaborative people at the core of the company drive innovation and solve technical challenges beyond your average e-commerce business. Everyone gets a lot of freedom to excel and every accomplishment is recognized.

A model in Rue's studio for a photoshoot


Can you explain what your tech stack is?

When you excel in a flash sales e-commerce business, you build up quite the tech ecosystem. Our storefront is written in Django / Python, leveraging Marionette on the front and MySQL and Redis on the back. We handle bursts of 5k requests per second for our most desired boutiques.

Our data processing pipeline lives in AWS, using Kafka and Storm for real time manipulation, HDFS as a data warehouse, and Hadoop for aggregation and general data badassery.  

We leverage Redshift and Tableau to feed all of our data hungry consumers, across Marketing, Merchandising, and Product.  

Going deeper, you’ll find enterprise-level Java services handling our order management. Here, there’s an Oracle database and a handful of .NET services that do things like tax analysis.

What are some of the cool / interesting problems that the team is solving?

Five years from now, will we still be shopping for fashion by typing search terms into an engine and scrolling through thousands of results only to find that one gem just for us? We instead envision a world where people’s needs and desires are revealed through interaction and data, so that you can be presented with your gem upfront, even if you didn’t know you were looking for it.  

Realizing this vision involves sophisticated data processing, crafting a compelling and interactive user experience, and deeply understanding how our loyal members engage through their various devices.

Rue La La before the JP Morgan corporate challenge last week

What's the culture of your engineering team?

We live by our values: Innovate. Collaborate. Pursue goals with passion and tenacity. Be decisive. And, perhaps most uniquely in our industry: be kind.  

Our values show up in how we work together. We form lean, cross-functional teams to pursue business objectives. We continually strive toward greater autonomy, with each team guided by a charter yet empowered to make the hard decisions necessary for success. Our engineers are willing to do whatever it takes to help each other, both so that our projects have real impact and so that we learn and grow.

Life is about the journey, not the destination. While we put significant energy into evolving a powerful technical vision, we use our vision to orient ourselves, so that we can make the most meaningful impact now. We put our emphasis on movement and iteration over perfect planning. We would rather move quickly and learn than over-analyze or over-engineer. And we are very data-driven. Instead of arguing over whether a crazy new idea has legs, we run an A/B test and see how our millions of consumers react.

The Rue Mobile team receiving a certificate for becoming a finalist in the MITX Awards

It'd be great if you could highlight some of your job openings for our audience.

Seasoned senior and principal engineers, architects, and web leads: we have a career defining opportunity for you. 

We have a certain critical mass of talent that can be highly leveraged with additional deep technical experience. The right people in the right roles will allow us to unlock new potential, forming new cross functional teams to own entirely new strategic objectives.