(cross-posted from Into Thin Air)

The Engineer's Desk

“Oh, you’re ‘The Engineer’!”

“Uh, hi, I’m Jeremy.”

“We’re all so excited you’re here!”

“As am I!”

This was a common exchange I had with “Gusties” (what Gusto calls its employees) in the Denver office as my first day here began. For some reason, my arrival had been eagerly anticipated, and I was curious to understand why.

You see, Gusto is well-established in San Francisco. There it has an office of over 250 people on 3rd and Bryant, with about 20% of them being software engineers. Business has been great, and in July of 2015 Gusto opened an office in Denver in order to accelerate growth.

The aim wasn’t to create a satellite office that would be perennially subservient to the will of the mothership. No. Denver would be a co-HQ. And salient to this strategy would be the establishment of what Gusto calls an “EPD” team (Engineering, Product, and Design) of equal weight and strategic importance to San Francisco.

During the interview process, this history was made known to me, and I knew what I was getting into. But it wasn’t until I started here in Denver that I fully understood how important engineering was to folks who had been working so hard to build the office.

Gusto’s Care and People teams are already rockin’ in Denver. EPD is the last missing piece.

After a few days here, I’ve realized what makes people excited isn’t me — it’s what happens after me. My job is to establish a beachhead through which other engineers follow. The process will be methodical. The bar set by our teams in San Francisco will be identical in Denver, which means hiring will be slow and deliberate.

Silicon Valley-based companies are starting to appreciate the advantages of co-locating outside the Bay Area. The high cost of living there has turned places like Denver, Colorado, into great markets for engineering talent.

Transparency is lauded here at Gusto, and we’ve decided to write about what works and what doesn’t as Gusto builds its new EPD team in Denver. Our hope is that other companies can learn from this experience, and perhaps give us feedback to improve ours in return.

As of now, I’m the first and only Gusto engineer in Denver. There’s a long road ahead! Oh, and if you’re an engineer in Denver and you’re interested in learning more, we’re hiring: gusto.com/careers.