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Working at Walnut - Helping SaaS Companies Deliver Flawless Product Demos

Mihaela Popa

2 Dec 2021

4 min read

Working at Walnut - Helping SaaS Companies Deliver Flawless Product Demos
  • Startup
  • ReScript
  • Tech Startups
  • React
  • Functional Workplaces
  • Elixir

Walnut is the first Sales Experience Platform that makes the B2B sales process personalized, consistent, and efficient for prospects.

Founded in July 2020 by Yoav Vilner and Danni Friedland, the 100% codeless platform’s mission is to assist SaaS companies in delivering flawless product demos that put their prospects in the center of the conversation.

Being able to design and edit the sales demo without the need for coding frees up a significant amount of resources and eliminates the need for cross-collaboration between sales departments and back-end teams such as R&D, product development, and graphic design, giving the sales team full creative control over the demonstration.

In its first year, Walnut has raised a total of $21 million from leading investors in Silicon Valley, England and Israel, and has won prestigious titles ranging from "Top 50 Startups to Work for Globally" to "Top 3 Must-Have Startups of the Year.”

Walnut serves more than 60 B2B clients, including Adobe, NetApp, Varonis and People AI. In addition to Tel Aviv, the company has offices in New York and London.

We chatted with Danni Friedland, Walnut’s Co-founder and CTO about their biggest achievement over the last year, their tech stack, how they are managing their remote team, interview processes and more.

Before we dive in, don’t forget to sign up and subscribe to our newsletter to get personalised content and job opportunities straight into your inbox!

What has been your biggest achievement over the last year?

Growing the company from 10 to 40 while focusing on keeping the culture and not compromising on the quality of the people we bring in was probably the hardest challenge and I feel that we managed to do that in the best way possible.

What is your tech stack and why have you decided to use it?

We’re using Elixir + GQL on the backend and ReScript + React on the frontend. We’ve chosen Elixir on the backend as back then when we started it provided the best compromise between dev experience and long-term maintainability and stability - the 3 things we care most about here at Walnut. I think Phoenix and Elixir are one of the best examples of community building and long-term planning. If only I could get the same thing with type-safety it would be just perfect. We chose rescript mainly because we suffered so much working with vanilla JS and/or Typescript. VanillaJS just doesn't scale(in terms of system size) - forcing you to work hard on tests for any decent stability. While Typescript is, surprisingly, felt even worse, making you feel safe while still not being safe at all (felt like carrying a broken umbrella with me.. all was great until the rain would start).

What is the tech team currently working on?

As our customer base grew 800% in the past year, and the product demands increased, we’re now focusing on putting in place a lot of infrastructure to scale our system further. The great thing about Elixir is that it allows us to focus on shipping product features and not focus on optimizations for performance. So the team is hard at work introducing async job queues to the system, making demo creation more stable and efficient and in general scaling various places in our system while preparing for the next growth spur.

walnut product.png

How would you describe the culture at Walnut?

I was thinking a lot about what to write here that will be truthful but also not sounding too salesy. And decided to just ask the team what they think the culture here is, and here are direct, unfiltered, quotes:

  • ​​No ego (thoughtfully discussing ideas)
  • Curious (pushing the frontiers and explore novel solutions)
  • Choosing the best tool for the job (going for solid tools that make the team more productive even if they are less popular)
  • Focus on stability and reliability (eg. choosing a soundly typed programming language, building our own infra)
  • Transparency (writing an RFC for big features/changes and let everyone in the engineering team pitch-in before building)
  • No blame culture, if a bug or outage occurs find ways how to mitigate without pointing fingers
  • Thoughtful planning and balancing the roadmap and close collaboration with product, and not a lot of last minute features that need to be build yesterday
  • Positive vibe
  • Engineers and product people really care about building a high quality result, and are passionate about their craft.

How do you manage a globally distributed team?

  • We’re doing a couple of things that I think are pretty cool. But first of all, we try to learn from other great companies doing remote work such as GitLab/Hashicorp/Elastic.
  • We use GatherApp daily, it’s our virtual office. And we’re actually now doing a virtual office redesign which is definitely a new-world profession.
  • We focus a lot on written communication, each major technical endeavour is first discussed with a lightweight RFC format where everyone given a chance to comment
  • We minimize synchronous communication as much as we can, no meetings are mandatory, and all decisions made in meetings are also discussed in a doc
  • We put a lot of effort enjoying the diversity a globally distributed team brings with it, we run brown-bag sessions where engineers teach each other about various things that excites that(it can be code, and it can be comic-book-collecting)

What is the interview process like at Walnut?

  • Short, 15m call, to make sure our expectations are aligned 50m in-depth, non-technical, interview where we discuss in depth what working at Walnut is like while also learning more about the candidate experience and accomplishments
  • 2h live coding exam or a 5h take-home assignment
  • 50m assignment review and architecture interview
  • 30m HR interview
  • Offer

What’s the onboarding process like?

The onboarding process really depends on the team, we aim for engineers to be able to push to production within their first day or two. And depending on previous experience engineers spend their time going through our onboarding checklist, reading documentation, and start contributing to small parts of the system. We also do a lot of pair-programming sessions to teach various parts of the system

Finally, why should someone join your team?

Honestly, we’re trying to build an engineering driven organization while also having the luxury of having a product that’s in high demand and is growing like crazy.

Isn’t that the dream place to be at? Good news is - Walnut are hiring - so make sure to check out their open roles now!

Thanks for reading and happy coding, Mihaela x

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Mihaela Popa

Marketing Manager at WorksHub

See other articles by Mihaela

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