Lessons Learnt From Employment - Part 1 / by Frankie Baeza

My first interview out* of uni took place in a co-working space office in Kings Cross, the day started with an introduction to the company and it's intentions by Steffan Aquarone and Will Grant the founders of Droplet. There mission was to create a business that allowed users to pay businesses & each other on there mobiles. The technology was clean cut and very well designed albeit ahead of its time.

*This was March 2015 and my degree would not end until May so I actually started working before finishing my degree.

Check out the objective I sent on my CV in 2014, we'll talk crypto another time though.

Crypto

All candidates where then asked to complete a team task, the tasks where very well designed see below and consider it was done with 10 candidates, whilst being in all outer corners of the room with our backs to each other. 

"You are a member of a space crew scheduled to rendezvous with a mother ship on the lighted surface of the moon. However, due to mechanical difficulties, your own ship was forced to land at a spot 200 miles from the rendezvous point. During re-entry and landing, much of the equipment aboard was damaged and, since survival depends on reaching the mother ship, the most critical items available must be chosen for the 200-mile trip. 15 items are listed as being intact and undamaged after landing. Your task is to rank them in terms of their importance for your crew, to allow them to reach the rendezvous point. The 'expert' answers were compiled by a team of scientists and engineers at NASA."

This was the first time in my life experiencing a task like this, I remember straight away how loud the room was with discussion and back and forth, everyone talking over each other. It didn't take me long to pick up a whiteboard pen and start writing a list on the flipchart that happened to be next to me. I mean there where no rules on whether or not you could write things down. 

This centralised conversation and allowed for a discussion to take place, whilst everyone getting there opinions heard we agreed on a final list and where able to submit it within the required time frame. This is the list of items you need to order in preference  of importance to escaping the above situation.

  • • Compass, magnetic
  • • First aid kit w/ hypodermic needles                 
  • • Flares, signal
  • • FM receiver/transmitter (solar-powered)
  • • Food concentrate
  • • Heating unit, portable
  • • Map (stellar map, moon’s constellations)
  • • Matches (1 box)                
  • • Milk (1 case dehydrated milk)
  • • Oxygen (2 50kg tanks)
  • • Parachute silk
  • • Pistols (2 .45 caliber)
  • • Raft, Life (automatic inflating)
  • • Rope, Nylon (20 meters)
  • • Water (25 liters)

Now it's up to you whether you'd like to give this ago without cheating, below will be the list outlined by NASA experts and there reasons why.

 

10 *Stop cheating

 

9

 

8 *It won't take you long to give it a shot

 

6

5

4

3 * Don't fancy yourself up against the NASA braniacs eh?

2

1 * Ok here we go, I hope you gave it an attempt:

  • 1:               Oxegen - Fills respiration requirements
  • 2 :               Water - Replenishes loss by sweating, etc
  • 3  :              Map - One of principal means of finding directions
  • 4  :             Food - Supply daily food required
  • 5 :               FM receiver - Distress signal transmitter, possible communcation with another ship
  • 6 :              Rope - Useful in tying inured together, help in climbing
  • 7:                First aid kit - Oral pills or injection medicine available
  • 8:               Parachute - Shelter against sun’s rays
  • 9:                Raft - CO bottles for self propulsion across chasms, etc,             
  • 10:             Flares - Distress call when line of sight possible
  • 11:               Pistols - Self propulsion devices could be made from them
  • 12:               Milk - Food mixed with water for drinking
  • 13:               Heating unit - Useful only if party landed on dark side
  • 14:              Compass - Probably no magnetised poles, therefore useless
  • 15:               Matches - Little or no use on moon     

Interesting choices aren't they, I think the gun used as a self propulsion method with a raft is genius, hard to think it up with 10 people with their backs turned on each other though! This was a great day for me, as it was also my 21st birthday. Yes, I had taken the time out of my 21st to go for a job interview, and I'll never regret it. It opened my eyes to the world of tech and I could not be more grateful for getting that opportunity straight out of university. Oh and if you hadn't guessed yet I got the job!

It started of as a field sales executive role in Bournemouth. I was told to read Spin Selling by so & so and use BaseCRM management tools + Atlassins hipchat whilst on the road. Ultimately I should have taught myself a simple sales funnel and used trello but hindsight is a great thing.  The strategy was to bring on as many SME merchants to use the droplet app in store, and longterm hoping the merchants would pay for extra features such as pre-ordering and loyalty tools. 

I used to love walking around Bournemouth and walking into random shops to talk to the owners of independant brick & mortar businesses, it opened by eyes to every day business problems and software was very, very low down the list. Even so I managed to convince Tarek (who is now a very good friend of mine) the owner of Omelettos in the Triangle, the UKs only & greatest Omelette shop on the planet. I could not recommend it highly enough. Peak the tripadvisor!

Tarek had me annoy him about 4/5 times before thinking to himself "Fuck me this kid won't leave me alone" and he agreed to sign up. It was such a great feeling, but ultimately the start of the beginning.

Tarek if you are reading this my friend, thank you so much for that you really didn't have to be Bournemouths first. You Sir, are a legend.

 I was responsible for getting the whole of Bournemouth to sign up and this wouldn't be easy at all, but believe me I gave it everything I had.