By Edward Xiao
The most prominent thing that stuck out to me about my internship experience at Appirio was that the environment was very nice, both physically and socially. The people were kind and accepting, and it was commonplace to have friendly conversation with coworkers. It wasn’t the kind of place where people excitedly talked on Wednesday about how close they were to Friday. I can’t recall anyone saying anything like that, which means a lot.
The office was nice as well. Nestled inside the historical Phelan Building, the space had an interesting mix of styles. Around the slick white tables, translucent glass dividers, and monochromatic MacBooks are blackened bricks that look like remnants from the fire that destroyed the original building in 1906, along with worn stone columns and shiny exposed pipes. Physical decor aside, the dress code was also very comfortable and casual. I’ve always held the belief that if people dressed how they normally do outside of work at work, they’d be better workers because they’d be more comfortable. I think that was certainly true at Appirio.
As for the work itself, it differed from everything I had done before. At previous internships, I had one role from start to finish. At Appirio, I split my time in 2, spending the first half of my summer working with Online Marketing and the second half working with Analyst Relations. Both experiences were very engaging, and vastly different.
My time in Online Marketing was fun. Every day was writing-centric. If I wasn’t writing blog posts based on a number of different topics, I was editing, posting, or curating existing content. This required me to be a quick learner, as I was frequently diving headfirst into intricate tech topics I wasn’t always familiar with. In addition, I worked with the Social Media team to generate tweets and Facebook posts. I was also given the task of learning Apple’s new Swift programming language and writing my own blog series about it for our crowdsourcing community. For that, I’m very thankful. That was an especially great learning experience, and it showed how much trust Appirio puts in its employees. I was glad to be able to engage with the Topcoder community on such a level, and greatly enjoyed it. I even learned to create basic iPhone apps in the process, which was very cool.
Analyst Relations, meanwhile, was a radically different experience. In Analyst Relations, I had the privilege of sitting in on meetings with research firms such as Forrester and Gartner, and was tasked with delving into research reports and analyzing the content. This was an interesting variation on the learning I did for Online Marketing. Then, I was doing my own research, but now, I was essentially picking the brain of the analyst who had written the report. I also rehauled an important tracker for the Analyst Relations team and wrote a Google Script for it that enabled automated email reminders. But my biggest task during my time with Analyst Relations was poring through 3 years of analyst inquiries and tracking patterns and trends. It was a rigorous experience, but I’ve gained a lot of insight into cloud computing, IT services, and the companies all jockeying for positioning in that space.
I’m very thankful for my experiences. Tim Hicks and Danielle Shoshani — of Online Marketing and Analyst Relations, respectively — were great bosses, and it was such a privilege to work on both teams. I’d wholeheartedly recommend working at Appirio to anyone who asked me; it was great being an Appirian.