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The HarperDB Experience

Posted by Alonso Chavez on August 06, 2019

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Interview

As the summer of 2019 approached, my urgency to find an internship heightened. Not just any internship- not a summer camp internship or a sales internship, not a build your own business internship,” but a genuine and valuable internship that would expose me to real data and allow me to feel that I had truly contributed. When searching for such opportunities, positions for financial analysts at banks or credit unions appeared, as well as data analyst roles within companies of all sizes. All of these potential opportunities for the summer before my senior year of college provided me with food for thought between breaks from my research papers, econometrics classes, and even grading. It allowed me to ask myself questions like, “What can I do with my major? What will these roles entail on a day to day basis? Will the work be fun?”     
One afternoon during my job search I ran into HarperDB’s Data Scientist Internship role. I looked up the company and landed on their website. I navigated to their previous blogs, read about what they were currently doing, and even read a bit about their employees and new hires (which to me was an indicator that the company was growing). By just reading about the company I felt that I gained a sense of their culture, which included growth, innovation and efficiency. As an Economics student, that seemed to be a compelling culture that I wanted to be part of, so I applied. I remember coming down to Denver for the interview and meeting both Kaylan (Director of Marketing) and Stephen (CEO). At first I was a bit nervous, but after talking to Stephen and sharing a little about my passion for Economics, I soon realized this was the company that I wanted to work for.  Or maybe I was sold because Stephen was a fellow Freakonomics podcast listener too
 

First Week

Fast forward to the first week of the internship, I hit the ground running and wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Finally I could use my learning experience to produce value for a company. The first thing on my plate was extensive research, market research to be exact. So I used the tools that I knew best and started digging. One fundamental lesson I received from the first project is that unlike what I’ve learned in the university, the real world is not in a vacuum. In other words, it is important to act fast and bold, especially when there are other start-ups and companies looking to make their way to the top in this growing competitive market.  I had to learn to be comfortable making mistakes when attempting to find something new or valuable. Mistakes are bound to happen and being too careful or hesitant can limit the innovative and growth process. These lessons created a comforting and motivating foundation for the start of my HarperDB internship. Even with that confidence, I didn’t really know the limits of what I could yield or the value of information I could find, so I simply did my best and tried to find everything and anything that could be useful when data mining. 
 

Experience

Some of my main duties during the HarperDB internship consisted of data analysis, report creation on marketing and quarterly numbers, customer research, market research, data cleansing, and creating regression models. I did market research with the company’s previously collected data on customers since 2017 and analyzed where they were making the biggest waves. By funneling the contacts and companies, the cream floated to the top revealing the most successful markets, which can now be found in the Use Cases tab on the HarperDB website. In addition to using the data to reveal target industries, I was able to find key characteristics of companies that had become potential leads and search for other companies around the United States that matched those profiles. For quarter reporting, I presented to the company on which marketing materials were making the strongest online presence and what marketing material was relevant. One of my larger projects consisted of creating a regression model that would reveal what tools had the largest positive or negative statistically significant impact per dollar spent. That knowledge was valuable in the way that it allowed HarperDB to make data-driven budget readjustments if needed.
 
Apart from all of the projects I worked on, I was given a lot opportunity and freedom to learn new things from Google Analytics, Tableau, gain exposure to Javascript and Node.js, HubSpot tools, and Marketing tools. Stephen made it very clear to me one day during lunch that one of the reasons the company is excelling is because they are investing in the personal growth of each employee. Numerous people at HarperDB shared with me about the organization providing time for them to learn new tools and useful material. Hearing my colleagues say, ”Honestly what I am doing right now, I didn’t know how to do a couple months ago,” was encouraging because while HarperDB is growing, so are its team members. 
 

Why HarperDB?

 HarperDB is a distributed data management platform focused on bringing enterprise grade decision making to the edge. HarperDB is growing and expanding into industries where no other data management platforms have thought of entering. In addition to the product being so useful and inelastic, the company is led by a really great team. I learned from everyone; from the Engineering team who helped me install an editor config to try to code, the Solutions team who I had the opportunity to go on an adventure with to Kiowa to test the product on a rig, the Sales team who introduced me to intelligence softwares like DiscoverOrg and Seamless, Kaylan who provided me with the opportunity and taught me more about marketing terms and tools, Kyle who took time to teach me a little more about Node.js, Zach who engaged in theories with me and helped me with coding questions, Aron who helped me navigate Linux when learning to code, Fred who taught me more about the structure of the organization and some behind the scenes work, and Stephen for challenging me to do quality work while also providing value and credibility to it. This is a motivated and creative organization that in my opinion, will be growing exponentially in the next few years by providing solutions that empower customers, partners and employees to innovate quickly and easily while maintaining simplicity and fostering confidence.
 
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Topics: Culture


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