Engineering Spotlight: Ordergroove
Ordergroove helps retailers and brands make themselves indispensable to their customers’ lives by anticipating their needs.
We connected with Ali Ahsan, Senior Director of Engineering at Ordergroove, to get an inside look at the company's technology, various projects, the team's culture, and more.
Interested in joining Ordergroove's engineering team? Take a look at all of the company’s openings on the list to the right!
Quick Hit Details
- Year Founded: 2010
- Number of employees: 79
- Number of engineers: 31
- Industry: Technology - Relationship Commerce
Can you share a summary on what Ordergroove does?
We reduce friction between consumers and retailers by automating the purchase cycle on items frequently purchased by consumers. We want to foster a relationship between the two by helping retailers offer special discounts and incentives for customers willing to engage in the programs our system can drive.
What are some of the different technologies that the engineering team gets to work with and at what scale?
Our tech stack is compised predominantly of Django/Python + MongoDb + MySQL + Celery + RabbitMQ. We’ve developed a number of “micro” services over the years, based on areas of the platform we expected we would need to be able to scale the easiest/fastest.
What are some of the interesting projects that the engineering team is tackling?
Our DevOps and Productivity teams are working on migrating more of our stacks to containers for ease of development and onboarding. We’re in the middle of migrating our applications from VMs into containers as well. One of the primary functions of our business is placing recurring orders with our clients - our volume has reached a particular load such that we’re dealing with the CAP theorem. Like many SaaS platforms, we’re actively reducing the complexity of integrations down to a single day. Our data science team is working on optimizing frequencies and recommending products based on modeling, because retail isn’t about static recurring purchases - this helps further deepen the relationship between retailers and their consumers.
Does your engineering team have a chance to work on projects outside of their day-to-day responsibilities?
Given that we use many open source projects, a number of engineers have given back to the community by triaging PRs, providing documentation updates, adding test cases and even fixing bugs. Some of the more popular projects include Celery, Django, Django REST Framework. Some of us have also written Nagios monitoring plug-ins. Whenever these types of opportunities present themselves, be it a completely new project or supporting one we use, we always advocate giving back to the community.
What is the culture like at Ordergroove for the engineering team?
Strong opinions, loosely held. We want everyone to feel like their ideas can be heard and we want to be data driven in when we decide to work on something. Sometimes, the right way needs to be delayed because we need something “right now” - but that doesn’t mean we ever sacrifice quality for speed.
What can a potential employee expect during the interview process?
We want to learn about you, not just about what you know. There will be some evaluation of your technical skills but more importantly, we want to learn about how you go about solving problems, what and why you think is important when evaluating and proposing solutions to problems -- given that, that is what our day-to-day will be mostly comprised of. What kind of questions do you ask? How do you interface with a product driven team? How do you balance “solution correctness,” platform stability, and client demands when evaluating different approaches for given problems? What are you passionate about and what motivates you?
Are you involved in any local tech organizations or Meetups?
We have had team members involved in the Django NYC Meetup and Burlington Python Meetup groups. Team members have also attended conferences such Pygotham.
Rapid Fire Q&A
What’s on tap?
We have a variety of beers and wines in the office. We usually stick to Lagers - nothing too extravagant.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
iPhone or Android?
This is a hotly debated topic on the team.
Coffee - hot or iced?
We have both in the office. The cold brew on tap is very popular, but we also have some die-hard hot coffee drinkers.
Favorite employee perk?
What TV show describes the engineering team’s culture?
What music is playing in your office?
GRiZ or Elliott Smith, or something in the reggae genre
View of your office
Cleanest desk / Messiest desk
Juan Gutierrez, Application Architect
Juan has been with Ordergroove for over 9 years! He grew up in New Jersey, just outside of New York City, graduated from Columbia School of Engineering and lived in Brooklyn for 10 years before moving to Vermont, where he now works remotely. He likes to read blogs, articles & books, engage with the community via meetups and support open source projects to keep up with the fast paced industry. He also enjoys cooking and playing music. His favorite healthy dish to make is a cauliflower and chickpea flatbread - but his real preference is making a medium-rare rib-eye steak with a nice, crusty sear. As for music, he listens to everything and will play along with anything that speaks to him, from Robert Johnson to Elliott Smith to GRiZ.
Mackenzi McGuigan, Software Engineer
Kenzi recently celebrated her one year anniversary at Ordergroove, having joined the team in October of 2018. She lives in Manhattan with her partner and two dogs, Lucky and Luna Bear. In her free time, Kenzi enjoys working on side projects, camping, finding new music, and riding her motorcycle around the city (sometimes even to work for an extra-scenic commute along the west edge of the island). Over the summer, Kenzi founded Ordergroove’s LGBTQIA+ affinity group, OG Pride, that works not only on initiatives within the company but also with external volunteer organizations.
Want to learn more about Ordergroove? Check out their BIZZPage