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San Francisco, CA - ZenPayroll - VISA

ZenPayroll is building dead-simple, delightful payroll software for small businesses. In only 2.5 years, we've grown to process payroll for more than 10,000 companies and process billions in payroll for small businesses around the world.

Here's a LIVE twitter query of how ZenPayroll is used in the same sentence as PayChex

https://twitter.com/search?q=zenpayroll%20paychex&src=typd

Team culture is a huge part of what makes ZenPayroll special. We have a team of super-sharp, passionate, hard-working, and friendly software engineer. ZenPayroll is in a hyper-growth, adding thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees to our system every month. We've just raised a $60M Series B, led, by Google Capital to help take our company to the next level. Some of the technologies we use: Ruby on Rails, JavaScript/CoffeeScript, Backbone.js, React.js, MySQL, Redis.

Apply online here! https://zenpayroll.com/careers or email me directly.

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That has definitely happened here. And I've personally had my fair share of breaching people's trust. We're human. It happens.

There's no magical solution to fix it. I think the best thing to do is acknowledge it to the person you've violated and tell them you're going to do your best to earn their trust back over time (and actually do it).

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I'll write more about this in my next post, but we started by going on an engineering retreat and came up with a pretty massive document. The hardest part was distilling all the text down to a point that was easily consumable. I actually feel that the amount of text is just about right.

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I agree and think you did an excellent job here. Distilling down such critical information shows how much time and thought you put into it.

It's easy to ramble on for 100 pages, but capturing the essence of your values in a few slides with a couple of tidy examples each is really hard.

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sorry, but... really? these are bullet points. I could come up with these points in literally 10 minutes. They aren't THAT original or revolutionary. What matter are the details; the push come to shove stuff.

Maybe this is good for a TL;DR, but if you don't spell out the details you leave room for ambiguity. Details help everyone think the same and gives them all the same reference points. They all have examples they can pull from already built in, so they are more likely to make the preferred decision.

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It's definitely a priority here, and more so as we continue to grow. This particular engineering value was intentionally left a little vague because prioritizing the people in the company can mean so many different things, and we wanted to purposefully leave it a little to interpretation and our best judgement.

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It sounds like the purpose of these values is to provide guidance. From your piece:

> It’s a framework that we can turn to whenever we’re faced with a difficult decision, whether it be about how to best architect something, how to prioritize our time, who to hire, or how we interact with each other.

Why would you then leave a growing priority vague and up to interpretation? Isn't that exactly the type of miscommunication and lack of guidance you're trying to avoid?

P.S. I do think the exercise is great and don't want to sound unnecessarily critical. Especially for such an important part of companies (people) and common issue in engineering organizations (management), though, it seems like one of the first places you should put a stake in the ground in terms of action, guidance, and specific commitments.

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ZenPayroll CTO here. At least for the stage that we're currently in, having high unit test coverage, high-level integration tests, a strong code-review process, and individual accountability for bugs has worked very well for us so far. So well, in fact, that we don't feel we need a dedicated QA team.

It's also worth mentioning that when coming up with our values/principles, we started with the understanding they can and probably will change over time, especially as we grow. So while we don't have dedicated QA team today, we'll keep an open mind do whatever works best for us in the future.

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What we meant by "we" is that the individual engineer who wrote the code is ultimaetly responsible for it. From building/modifying the backend APIs, frontend code, testing, QA, and ongoing maintenance/bug fixes.

I guess "we" really means "you"

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That will never work because economic returns to a piece of code will not go to the engineer. Both management and company owners will want most of the returns of the code, leaving no profit motive for the engineer to be ultimately responsible for it. The engineer will move on and the owners and management are stuck with rotting code. Or management gets rid of all the engineers because they want to keep all the revenue and discount both cost of maintenance and need for engineers to profit.

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I believe you described Marx's theory of alienation[1] as applied to software engineering.

[1]:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marx's_theory_of_alienation

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Yeah, which is why companies should stop going on about 'owning' things. If I'm going to own its creation and operation, I'm going to own all the revenue it produces. All of it. I have all the means of production (no 19th century power looms needed to create software) and all I really have to do is survive while it is being produced.

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This is actually what Philip Greenspun did at ArsDigita. Each project had its manager/lead own the profit-and-loss:

From Founders At Work:

"I'm organizing this company like McDonald's. Each restaurant is going to be managed by a few people, and they're going to have profit-and-loss responsibility. If they make a profit, they get to pocket half of it. If they make a loss, we're going to know who's responsible, and we're going to go there and fix it, and there are going to be consequences for those people." People have all the right incentives to make their customer happy, to do the thing on time, to take the customer's money, deposit in the bank, and then move on to the next one and get their bonus at the end of the year.

And apparently at one time Accenture had this philosophy too:

At the time Anderson Consulting (now Accenture) didn't have any salespeople. They always had the people who were executing the project sell it. "You eat what you kill" was the phrase at Accenture. You don't have a salesperson go out and tell the customer, "We can do this", making promises and then handing it off to a programmer"

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What about sales, marketing, management, QA and other staff? What is their responsibility?

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Probably outside of the scope of this document.

Can you imagine if a Sales team came up with a set of values and part of that document specified how engineers should do their jobs? There would be revolt!

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San Francisco, CA - ZenPayroll - VISA

ZenPayroll is building dead-simple, delightful payroll software for small businesses. In only 2 years, we've grown to process payroll for more than 10,000 companies, and process billions in payroll for small businesses around the world.

Team culture is a huge part of what makes ZenPayroll special. We have a team of super-sharp, passionate, hard-working, and friendly software engineer. ZenPayroll is in a hyper-growth, adding thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees to our system every month. We've just raised a $60M Series B, led, by Google Capital to help take our company to the next level.

Some of the technologies we use: Ruby on Rails, JavaScript/CoffeeScript, Backbone.js, React.js, MySQL, Redis.

Our Engineering Blog: http://engineering.zenpayroll.com/

Benefits/Perks: https://zenpayroll.com/careers

Full-Stack Engineer: https://boards.greenhouse.io/zenpayroll/jobs/28115#.VW0n5FxV...

Growth Engineer: https://boards.greenhouse.io/zenpayroll/jobs/53835#.VW0n5lxV...

Product Support Engineer: https://boards.greenhouse.io/zenpayroll/jobs/27718#.VW0n6FxV...

Security Engineer: https://boards.greenhouse.io/zenpayroll/jobs/63608#.VW0n6VxV...

IT Support: https://boards.greenhouse.io/zenpayroll/jobs/66928#.VW0oU1xV...

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We have a dedicated employee dashboard where employees can login do things like change bank account information, federal and state withholding , and even donate a part of their paystub to any registered 501(c).

We consider the employe experience to be just as important as the payroll administrators experience.

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> and even donate a part of their paystub to any registered 501(c).

Wow. Impressive!

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Google Capital and Google Ventures are two different investments arms of Google. Google Ventures focuses a lot more on early stage companies (and makes many investments throughout the year), while Google Capital focus on later, growth stage companies. Google Capital tends to only do a few large investments each year. In ZenPayroll's case, we were honored to have strong interest from both GCap and GV, so they both invested, with GCap leading.

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Ah thanks for the insight. I know that GV is a separate entity from Google proper with a chinese wall in place between the corporate mothership and itself. Is this the case with GC as well?

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We don't do this, as we're currently just 100% focused on building the best product possible for our customers.

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Interesting - I've always assumed ZP does do this, because the lag between when you debit our account and when the employee's account gets credited seems to be pretty long (3-4 business days at least).

Is this just an artifact of ACH? What is it that causes it to take so long?

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They did a great write-up on ACH actually: http://engineering.zenpayroll.com/how-ach-works-a-developer-...

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Yup! Part 3 of the post explains why there is the lag:

http://engineering.zenpayroll.com/how-ach-works-a-developer-...

By the way, I hope no one minds if I insert a plug here: We're working on some very interesting ways to cut down this time in our engineering team and we're hiring on all fronts. Shoot me an email directly (in my HN profile) if you're interested in learning more!

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Devops?

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Shoot me an email. We have a growing Devops need!

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Do you have integrated timecards? ADP does that, as well as payroll for us. (I looked at your site and didn't see anything.)

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We have a number of great 3rd party time tracking software tools thats integrate well with ZenPayroll via our api. For example ,TSheets, WageBase, Nimble Schedule.

https://zenpayroll.com/integrations

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What is an integrated timecard?

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People are paid from what's on their timecard (aka timesheet) and job cost and billing is generated from the single source.

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Ahh - got it!

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Thanks for the response. My 2 cents... This will be a great bonus for you once you've grown. In the meantime, I think you're in an area ripe for disruption. ADP and Paychex are old companies with old technologies, processes and mindsets. It's like you're competing with GM or IBM. Good EPS management, but not the future. You'll grow fast, and what's the worst thing that happens? One of them buys you so the other won't.

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