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Who is Temboo?

This mysterious company Temboo writes the most compelling job posts. They’re located in TriBeCa. And yet otherwise, I’ve never heard of them. Their company website is unlike any other I’ve seen. Instead of providing a list of services and client case studies, they tell you nothing — actually, they call you out:

Apparently you are part of the population that goes systematically on a website to gain information on a company.

We do things differently. Don’t be afraid to call us at…

Now that’s balls!
I have seen two job posts from them on the NYC CHI mailing list. I include them here, in their entirety, because their communication style is unique for a job post (that I’ve seen): familiar, innovative, casual, honest, funny, clear, exciting, out-of-the-box. It makes me feel like working there would feel the same way. I think that’s the point ;) I recognize them here because I have a special appreciation for people who practice what they preach. And in this case, understand the “user experience” of a job candidate.

If you know anything about this company, please fill me in. I’m very happy with my full-time job and definitely not considering leaving, but I live in TriBeCa and am really interested in making the connection.

Post 1: October 2007

Subject: Interaction Design Rock Star Wanted

So I’m sitting at my desk in the office. It’s a summery New York afternoon and outside the Tribeca streets are lined with little cafes where people sit with their laptops by the open windows. On other days like this, I’d go down to the corner coffee shop to work while enjoying a latte and a croissant. But today, I’m still in our sunny loft, worried because I need to figure out how to fill this job opening.

In theory, filling this position should be easy. After all, Temboo is a great place to work. In addition to the casual atmosphere and the product itself (one of the most challenging, elegant, and innovative software systems I’ve ever been involved with) it’s the people that make it a pleasure to come here every morning.

Earlier today, for example, I found myself discussing philosophy of language with the two developers who sit beside me (are there real-world equivalents for the concept of mathematical equality?), and a co-worker who just got back from Europe shared some Swiss truffles while we played a quick video game on the Wii in our back room. The Temboo team isn’t just fun; they are also the brightest group that I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. Last week, a few of the problems we tackled include tactile metaphors in the GUI, the pitfalls of visual programming semantics, and the architecture of distributed file systems.

The problem I’m facing now is now to find a person who will thrive in this kind of environment. And it’s tough, because the usual language of job postings doesn’t manage to express all the really important things – like what makes a company special, what makes a job rewarding, or what type of individual we’re looking for.

So in the end, I suppose that the person we’re looking for is just as frustrated with the traditional clichés of career postings as me, and also someone who can pull their weight in the following:

• Have a sturdy portfolio of schematics, maps, interaction specifications, and information design documentation, as well as finished products you’ve contributed to.
• Have a genuine respect for the human beings who will use the products you work on.
• Understand the critical balance of utility and pleasure in design.
• Have at least three years experience designing rich internet applications, software, or games.
• Are excited to use your deep knowledge of user interface standards and usability help us design beautiful products that are both surprising and joyful.
• Can reconcile apparently conflicting user requirements.
• Dig multi-tasking.
• Have a great curiosity and quick sense of humor.

Our unique company culture promotes individual contribution, innovation, excellence, and the belief that work should also be fun. We offer competitive compensation, flexible working hours, a casual office environment, and respect for individual contribution and autonomy. We’re looking for people who have interests outside of work as well (please mention some of these in your cover letter if you like).

Does this sound like you? If so, there may be a place for you at Temboo. Candidates outside the New York area will also be considered for employment on a remote basis, or for relocation to NYC (where everyone should experience living for at least part of their lives).

Post 2: January 2008

Subject: Mary Poppins, with Project Manager experience

Dear Candidate:

If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sort

You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets

If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea
Hurry, Dear PM!
Many thanks
Sincerely,

— The Temboo team

If Mary Poppins was in the software business, she probably would have been a Project Manager. After all, what makes a great PM isn’t so different from what it takes to be a wonderful nanny: knowledge of a wide range of subjects, a sense of humor, an ability to keep people happily working together, and an occasional touch of magic.
At least that’s the kind of person we’re searching for to join the Temboo team.

Temboo is a small technology company located in Tribeca, NYC, where we’re building technologies that – we believe – have the potential to change the world. Put simply, we are developing a set of next-generation visual tools that allow non-developers to build complex applications. By empowering average users to create software that truly meets their needs, our products pave the way for a new paradigm of software development. Our platform is currently being used to build everything from rich AJAX applications to infrastructure systems for major financial institutions.

We are looking for a flexible, creative, tech-savvy Project Manager to help guide the development of our products. In this role, you’ll participate in virtually every aspect of the software lifecycle from brainstorming about design concepts to defining processes, tracking progress, and collaborating with other teams to ensure the success of our projects.

Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:

• Experience building and managing a software development team
• Fluency in at least one programming or scripting language
• Ability to juggle multiple timelines, priorities, and requirements
• Experience negotiating successful compromises between multiple project stakeholders
• Excellent communication skills, including writing specifications and explaining technical concepts in non-technical language
• Familiarity with the software development lifecycle and agile methodology
• Experience in the financial services or health care sector
• Ability to translate user requirements into concrete software implementation plans

Our company culture promotes individual contribution, innovation, and excellence. We offer competitive compensation, flexible working hours, a casual office environment, and respect for individual contribution and autonomy.

If this sounds like the right position for you, contact us by email at [email protected] with a CV and cover letter, detailing your past experience and personal interests.

Qualified candidates outside the New York area will be considered for relocation to NYC (where everyone should experience living for at least part of their lives).

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  • http://www.greenonions.com Dan

    Their site invites you to call them. Why don’t you?

  • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog whitney

    Ha! Yes I suppose I could do that. But I’m not looking for a job, just curious about what they do. Hoped someone in the blogosphere had worked with them before.

  • http://jay-photo.com/blog Jay Zipursky

    Hmmm… Maybe they read your post, because now it says, “…don’t be afraid to contact us:”. You can now just send them an email!

    :)

  • http://www.justinabbott.com/ Justin Abbott

    “Temboo is a young, cutting-edge New York company. We have developed a new software model with an elegant, powerful graphical interface that lets non programmers quickly build complex workflows enabling disparate databases, web services, and applications to communicate and interact.

    Think of our technology as an “inter-operating system,” a visual tool for developing advanced information services applications that actually works. By allowing businesses to focus on what their information systems should do, instead of worrying about how to do it, our technology paves the way for a new paradigm of software development. You may think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not.”

  • http://www.gubatron.com/blog Gubatron

    I’m a former “Temboolean” as we call ourselves. I must say working at Temboo has been one of the most fulfilling experiences.

    Only job I was really really happy to go to work on mondays. Learned a lot, they hire really cool and culture rich and fun to work with people.

    Go for it, give em a call or answer to the job posts, you have to go there to have an idea of what it is Temboo does, it just can’t be explained, to fully grasp it has to be tried (due to company strategies)

    The Best of Luck to Temboo, I’m really proud of having taken part of such a cool idea.

  • http://test.net nyob

    Perhaps they don't have “the work” to validate their attitude so they don't show anything. Clients don't want attitude they want results.

  • http://xtremax.com SEO

    Temboo is a small but solid start-up full of smart people who love to learn from one another. They are dedicated to making the most useful and elegant product imaginable..

    Best of luck to u Temboo!!!

  • http://user-experience.iterating.net Alina

    And here's another job they posted on boxes and arrows:

    “Interaction Design – wow us with your wireframes
    at Temboo

    Location: NYC – Tribeca

    We're looking for a Interaction Designer with an eye for elegant interaction design and a brain for computation. We know you're out there. C'mon, talk to us. You know you wanna.

    // Why would you want to talk to us?
    Well, we're fun and interesting and *always* the life of the party.

    What? Not enough?

    Okay, here's more:

    We're building a set of next-generation visual tools that allow non-developers to create complex customized applications – empowering, community-centric software with amazing potential. We're making it easier for mere mortals to do the work of the gods and do it with a smile on their face.

    We are a small but solid start-up full of smart people who love to learn from one another. We are dedicated to making the most useful and elegant product imaginable.

    We eat lunch together on Fridays and often make the same jokes more than once.

    // What needs to be done?
    A crap ton. Yes, that is a word we just made up. Or maybe we heard it on the street. While you might not find it in the Oxford English Dictionary, it does accurately describe the work ahead of us. Quite simply, it means “a lot”.

    The interaction designer is an especially important role, because you will work with both our Development and UX teams. On the Development side, you will drink coffee with our technologists and delve into understanding the theory and foundation behind our very complex suite of interactive products. You'll then take that knowledge and contribute to new features, explore concepts through sketching, wireframes and prototyping—all in support of the UX team's efforts to make our software engaging and as easy to use as possible.

    // What we're hoping we'll find in you.
    Ideally, your humble beginnings are rooted in computer science and somewhere along the line you discovered fields like interaction design or human computer interaction and thought, “hey, that's for me”

    Easily grasp basic programming concepts such as dynamic variable typing, iteration and APIs

    The ability to create layouts, wireframes, user interface elements, prototypes and project documentation

    The belief that design is as much about emotion, behavior and story-telling as it is about utility and ease of use

    Real empathy and respect for your audience of end users

    A nerdy fascination with Douglas Engelbart (50 spirit points if you can name his invention without resorting to wikipedia) and, perhaps, think a lot about how designers can effectively communicate with developers

    The tendency to look for inspirations in unexpected places

    Curiosity and a quick sense of humor

    Expert proficiency in the tools of your trade. Pick your poison. We could list a bunch of software in which you should have expertise. But we don't care. Why? We'll take it for granted that as a seasoned interaction designer, you're familiar with stuff like Photoshop, Illustrator, Visio, Omnigraffle and a whole host of other prototyping tools. We're not focused on the methods, just the end result. And the end result should effectively communicate your designs in interesting ways to our developers, so they can grasp your intentions and build them .

    Self-motivation, good communication experience multitasking, comfort with both following direction *and* change. We're a start up software company with a dynamic environment. The only constant is that things change (and change often). You need to be comfortable with that.

    Temboo offers competitive compensation, an informal office environment, respect for individual contribution, and a unique opportunity to shape a game-changing brand. We're looking for people who have passionate interests outside of work as well (please mention some of these in your cover letter if you like).

    Does this sound like you? If so, we'd like to hear from you. Candidates outside the New York area will also be considered for relocation to NYC (where everyone should experience living for at least part of their lives).

    It'll will be fun, we promise. We are opinionated. We'll challenge you. We know just enough about visual design to be dangerous. But we're not too proud to ask for help.”