How I decided to join Quip

I started at Quip this week, so I’m still learning what it’s like to work here. But I can share my reasons for joining.

Scanning the industry for interesting new opportunities last fall, I narrowed the field to companies that met three criteria:

  1. A business model I believed in
  2. The imperative to ship often
  3. An environment where women thrived

When I shared these criteria with Bret Taylor (Quip’s CEO) during our offer conversation, his reaction to the final point impressed me. To paraphrase his response:

  • Cultivating an environment where women thrive is important to us, too.
  • We’re currently in a good position: about half of our engineers are women, as well as our COO, Molly Graham.
  • Three main factors have made our current position possible:
    • Our network and reputation: The extremely talented women we’ve worked with at past companies (mainly Google and Facebook) come to us when they’re interested in new opportunities.
    • Women in leadership: Because talented women joined us early on, they act as beacons for their networks.
    • A “we’re all adults around here” culture: The majority of Quip employees of all genders have young children at home. Because of this, the norm is for everyone to put in a solid day at the office — or remotely, if needed — and then switch off around 5 or 6. This makes our workplace more supportive of mid-career contributors.
  • That said, we know we’ll need to keep an eye on sustaining these factors as we grow, as well as expanding the diversity of our team in other dimensions.

After our offer conversation, Bret asked whether he could bring in anyone else to help give me the information I’d need to make my decision. I asked to speak with Molly and Julie Tung, one of Quip’s long-time engineers. As I spoke with them, their honesty and energy gave me a window onto what thriving could look like at Quip. The view through that window convinced me to join.

A few days into working at Quip, I’m happy to report that the story checks out. By doing the hard work of developing a sensible, high-performing, fair working environment, Quip’s founding team has built a foundation that doesn’t cave under women’s contributions and ambitions. If you’re interested in experiencing it for yourself, reach out to me anytime on Twitter at @dianakimball.

Originally published as a response on Quora.

Diana Berlin