Finding the right company as a developer is not easy. Welcome to CodersRank’s “Fast Track” series where we introduce top companies in technology and show you how to get hired with them.
We provide insider info about their hiring processes, interview questions, benefits, and more. You’ll also get to know interesting details about the company’s beginnings, culture, and mission.
Bonus: check out a special CodersRank advantage that can bump you up in the candidate pool. More info toward the end of the article!
This week, we’re excited to feature AE Studio. AE Studio is a software development company with offices in LA, California and Brazil. They’re known for their work in web development, data science, and product design.
CEO, Judd Rosenblatt will be answering our interview questions today.
What’s AE Studio? TL;DR:
Specialty: software development, data science, product design
Number of employees: 100
Remote-friendliness: remote-friendly, on-site optional (LA or Brazil)
Hiring process: 3 steps (some steps can be skipped if you score high on CodersRank or Stack Overflow)
Whiteboard questions: no
Technical interview: yes, live coding session
CodersRank Fast Track: yes, see the special at the end of the article
Table of Contents
AE Studio had a humble start that involved… sandwiches.
CEO of AE, Judd Rosenblatt, was in college at Yale at the time. There was a very popular restaurant nearby that featured probably the world’s BEST sandwiches.
The place was the staple of late night studying and afterparties. Students used to get drunk and order food late at night regularly. There was one problem, though.
The restaurant’s website sucked.
It sucked in the sense that there was no website in existence.
So, just for fun, Judd and a friend created One Button Wenzel – a simple web app that let students order their favorite sandwich, paid for and delivered, by simply clicking a button.
They sold several hundred thousand dollars of the sandwich, the app became a huge phenomenon at Yale, and Judd suddenly found himself running a food delivery startup.
After that, they expanded the ordering functionality to 50 universities across the US, added delivery drivers, and named themselves Crunchbutton. They opened their first office in LA.
But business is business. One day, Judd and the crew woke up to a major restaurant partner suddenly having pulled the rug from under them. Losing this partner meant losing 30% of their total order volume.
CrunchButton could not continue as is.
Judd decided to open source CB to keep the core code alive. Next, they had to do something about their decreasing finances.
Rather than raising money this time around, they decided to start a profitable, bootstrapped business to have much more agency and longevity.
They started to rent a couple rooms at the office so tourists could spend the night there. This way, they offset their rent and keep some cash flow going. They decided to make every single thing in the new company a profit center, not a cost center.
This survival tactic helped them get through the hardest times.
Eventually, they were able to secure software consulting clients and started making some money again. Today, over 100 people work at AE.
They now build cutting-edge, agency-increasing technology products for some of the world’s most interesting startups, celebrities, and enterprise companies. Their philosophy is simple: it’s better business sense (in the long run) to build products that maximize human agency.
This philosophy makes users love products and refer their friends.
This philosophy inspires employees in the work they do with clients. This has led to more and more work, more referrals, and growth over time.
They hire only the best developers in the world and then identify how they can grow technically and as business thinkers. The onboarding process is intense, but drives people to grow as much in weeks as they might otherwise grow in years. Hires continue to learn and grow on client projects, helping clients by delivering a “startup mentality” and treating each project as though they are its founder.
Observing clients making good and bad decisions that they also would have made offers a perspective they can put to use themselves when starting their own agency-increasing internal skunkworks projects–the first of which recently sold for millions of dollars.
They like to think deeply about the future of humanity and how they might best contribute with a longtermist approach. They are inspired by the principles of Effective Altruism and donate 5% of their profits to the most effective charities in the world. This actually serves as a placeholder for eventually building agency-increasing skunkworks that, per dollar spent, do more good in the world than the world’s most effective charities.
Specifically, they think that there’s a decent chance humanity’s primary mode of interaction with computers becomes brain-computer interfaces. When that day comes, they want to ensure such technology is designed to maximize human agency rather than shareholder profits. Easiest way to do this? Don’t have external shareholders.
And the Wenzel? Still the best sandwich in the world.
AE Stands for Agency Enterprise
Vision: To increase human agency
Mission: Increase agency for the team members we work with, for our clients, for users of the technology products we build, and for humanity with BCI
- Create not billions, but trillions, of dollars of value from skunkworks
- Increase your and the world’s agency
- Make agency-increasing BCI that makes the experience of being human 1000x better than it is today
Interview with the CEO
In the following section, we interviewed the CEO of AE Studio, Judd Rosenblatt. We’ll dive even deeper into AE’s company culture, hiring processes, and their collab with CodersRank.
Let’s jump in!
Q. Why is a high CodersRank score important?
We want to hire the best of the best. We’re always looking for really skilled people and what else is a better indicator that they’re awesome if not their actual experience. We’ve hired some of the best developers we have with the help of CodersRank!
Q. How do you use the high score?
On our website, we showcase that we’re at the top of the leaderboard. Some of the clients that reached out to us were very impressed with the quality of our team. We also use a banner on LinkedIn saying “Top developers on CodersRank.” We find that it instigates the curiosity of other top-tier developers that want to work with a top-tier team.
Q. Why are you motivated to do that?
We are always hiring, looking for the best of the best developers and also looking forward to working with great clients.
Q. How can devs apply to AE?
The best way to apply to join us is through the AE Studio website. Don’t forget to attach your CodersRank profile to increase your chances! More on this at the end of this post.
Q. What are the steps?
There are 3 steps.
One initial interview where we get to know each other, you get to know more about the company and we get to know about you.
Then, there’s one live coding session.
We don’t ask any whiteboard questions, so don’t worry about binary trees and things like that. Instead we want to see how you work, the task is going to be something you’ll be doing daily if you join us. (There are cases where we might skip this step, if you have a high reputation on Stack Overflow; or impressive GitHub projects; or if you have a lot of points on CodersRank which indicates that you have amazing projects and/or Stack Overflow).
One final interview which is usually with the CEO (me) to get a sense for how you think and if you’re aligned with our core values around increasing Human Agency and share an optimistic growth mindset towards our future and the future of humanity.
Q. How should developers prepare for the technical interviews?
Also, what topics do you ask about?
We’ll ask about your experience working in teams, with clients, managing projects and people, how you learn, what you want to learn, what you know about best practices and more.
Q. How much time does it take?
The initial interview depends on how much candidates like to talk, but in general shouldn’t exceed 30 minutes.
The live coding session varies depending on the candidate’s skill, it can take from 20 minutes to 1 hour.
The final interview takes up to 1 hour.
Q. Why should they apply?
Because technology should increase human agency. This presents a challenge when maximizing value for venture capitalists (VC), private equity (PE), and shareholders means maximizing the number of eyeballs on a screen and maximizing time per eyeball. That means agency-decreasing patterns and ads. We don’t have VC, PE, or outside shareholders. We want to make software with a purpose beyond short-term monetary gains.
Because you enjoy technical challenges and working with some of the smartest developers and data scientists in the world. If you want to grow personally and professionally, work on fascinating client projects, and learn the skills necessary to launch your own agency-increasing startup from within AE–and sell it for millions of dollars, we’d love to have you.
Because our equity plan offers equity in skunkworks startups and client companies for all employees (even those who aren’t founders or working with that particular client). Each employee becomes a mini-VC., We offer benefits and raises/bonuses depending on your contributions to the company. We also hold Human Agency Hackathons at multiple company retreats every year in places like Porto de Galinhas, Brazil and Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean.
Q. Can you tell me a bit more about the technical interview?
For example, do they have to use their own computer and share their screen? Is there a coding platform used? Do they have to write a working API, or find a bug in an existing code?
We ask them to use their own computer and share their screen. We give them an existing app that they can work on top of, but it’s optional. We let them pick whatever they feel more comfortable with.
They have to build screens to ask for user input and use that data to consume an API. Then they have to parse the API results and display them on the screen.
We observe how natural writing code is to them, how well they communicate, how they organize things, and everything else.
CodersRank Fast Track
CodersRank is on a mission to make tech hiring better for everyone.
AE Studio believes in experience-based evaluation of a developer’s capabilities.
Together? You get the CodersRank Fast Track! No more rounds of interviews. No more lengthy test projects.
All that matters is already on your CodersRank profile.
Therefore, if you have a CodersRank score of 1,000 points or above, you’ll skip the second round (the technical test)! Once you pass the quick first round, you’ll immediately advance to an interview with the CEO, Judd Rosenblatt!
Simply add your CodersRank profile’s link to the field called “Coupon for accelerated interview process when you’re applying on AE Studio.
No CodersRank account yet? Register a profile here >>
What if you don’t have 1,000 points yet on CodersRank? No worries, you’re still encouraged to apply! Having the CR profile alone is a huge advantage. The folks at AE Studio are super familiar with the platform, so you’ll make a good impression right away. You’ll also help them to evaluate your background quicker.
Apply today to AE Studio!
If you’re interested in moving your career in software development to the next level, AE Studio is worth considering.
The team is passionate about creating products that have a purpose. They also believe that technology should increase human agency which is something we can all get behind.
Finally, you may even get to try the famous Wenzel someday.
PS: looking to see even more specific info in these series? Join our Slack channel to let us know what’s important for you when selecting a company to work for.