It’s funny how much we blog at Redfin without ever really saying what life at Redfin is really like. Enter Shahaf Abileah, the engineering lead who radically changed the speed, breadth and accuracy of our data imports from broker databases.
He’s taking a long-planned one-year sabbatical with his fiancee to travel around the world, and just wrote an eyewitness account of life at Redfin based on his nearly two years here. We rarely realize how the world perceives us so I was very interested to read it, particularly since Shahaf has always been thoughtful, candid and constructive.
Shahaf describes Redfin as a place full of passionate, hard-working people, heralds our customer-focus, complains that our benefits package should include a health club membership, notes that we get into silly arguments with one another, and also wants us to do more long-term planning. He talks about learning more and advancing his career much faster than at a big company, but also says he could work at a big company again. It’s entirely BS-free, and has given me a lot to think about ways we could improve.
In the end, Shahaf acknowledges that there is a “non-zero chance that Redfin won’t be there by the time I return from the trip.” Shahaf refers to this risk as “excitement,” which made me smile. It’s true that our company has to perform to grow into a self-sustaining company, but that’s a good discipline. Business lately has been good and, as Shahaf notes, we’re operating in a huge market, and our customers love us. In the end, he manages to sound sober and optimistic at the same time, a trick many startup leaders struggle to master.
In a second post, Shahaf talked about what he’ll miss in his year away from Redfin’s culture, praising Dan Fabulich’s “incredibly high signal-to-noise ratio;” Chelsea Mitchell’s exuberant
piercing, joyful laugh; Jamie DeMichele’s launch-day lab coats; Kevin Broveleit’s harrowing, heroic (and successful!) efforts to lose 20 pounds in seven days.
A great poet once talked about traveling to the four quarters of the world and, returning to the place where he started, really knowing it for the first time. But in Shahaf’s case, he already understands us pretty well. Thanks Shahaf, and bon voyage!