Breaking Through Walls

Developer program redefines career growth and company culture.
Call Box is redefining what it means to have an authentic and remarkable culture. For the interview below, we caught up with members of the Call Box development team at their office near Mockingbird Station.
Tim Gaziano Team Lead, Front End Development
Front End Developer at Call Box since March 2018. Tim is currently focused on client side processing and refining Front End code and processes.
Vivek Jain Team Lead, Machine Learning
Vivek has been with Call Box since December 2017. He is currently leading large scale initiatives and guiding the Machine Learning Team
Jason Sitzman Head Of Quality Assurance
Back End Developer turned Quality Assurance at Call Box since June 2016. Jason currently owns all things QA and works dilligently to improve stability and code quality.
Kelly Ford Director of Product
From Consultant to Direcctor of Product at Call Box since February 2014. Kelly the director of Product for Call Box and maintains and guides the yearly and quarterly Development Roadmaps.
"If we're focused and pulling together in the right direction, then we can do anything." - Matt Andrus, CTO
Why Call Box? Tim: I chose to come to Call Box because I was excited by the work they were doing and the boundaries they were pushing. Vivek: 3 and a half years back, as a fresh graduate, I was applying to several companies including Callbox. After the interview, the CEO of Call Box personally called me to offer me the job. That's when I knew that I wanted to be a part of a company, where I can have a direct line of communication with upper executives and possibly quicker vertical growth. 3 years later, I am now leading the team I was originally hired for, as a Junior ML Engineer. Jason: Call Box is unique in that I never thought I'd ever know the inner workings of "call tracking software", let alone, work for a call tracking company. Additionally, Call Box has a very "freedom" based atmosphere with our "see it, own it, do it" motto. Problems aren't ignored here, and they're not "someone else's problem". We help each other where we are able, so that we can succeed together as a collective whole. Kelly: Call Box is a rare find in a company. The culture and opportunity are amazing! You're constantly surrounded by brilliant peers who genuinely care about the success of the company and people around them. It's awesome to face tough challenges and break through those with people I really like being around.
"See it. Own it. Solve it. Do it."
Kelly Ford
What's the most interesting/exciting project that you've worked on or lead during your time at Call Box? Tim: Early in my career at Call Box I was asked to help plan out how we could present more of the data our machine learning team was pulling from Call Audio - that turned in to a several month long initiative where I built out a fully customized audio player and waveform to display sentiment data for our users. Vivek: We had recently started dabbling in Speech-to-text and figuring potential use cases that could benefit our customers and I happen to be the lucky one who was given the task to configure and deploy our first speech-to-text based prediction pipeline that helped us identify sales leads which proved to be monumentally beneficial for our clients. We then created several other pipelines based on the same architecture helping us identify other useful insights. Jason: For me, it was probably improving our automated reporting system. It was inefficient, bound to certain restrictions of our language's capabilities, and frequently caused issues for the rest of our platform. We took the most problematic portion, the queueing system, and converted it from one language, to another. Converting it wasn't enough though, and was certainly a challenge in it's own right. To account for the previous language's flaws, we also wrote in new rules that made it more efficient, and less problematic for the rest of the platform by essentially adding circuit breakers rules so-to-speak. I found it interesting and exciting because it was the first time where I had taken already exciting code, re-written it in another language, improved upon it, and saw the results of those efforts pay off. Kelly: When we first started tracking user engagement data and using it to make decisions about sales and development we treated all users the same. I introduced personas and roles into our sales, marketing, and product. Those same personas and roles are still used today to more effectively market to our users and build product features catered specifically toward critical user types. This project from 4 or 5 years ago completely changed how we work and really stood the test of time. It's hard to imagine doing what we do today without it!
A group of Call Boxers (left) await the results of the plinko board, and team members (right) enjoy the afternoon during a company celebration.
How do I grow my career as a developer at Call Box? Tim: See it, own it, solve it, do it - if you see something that can be improved, take ownership of it and give it your all to solve the problems. Keep that attitude and you'll rise quickly. Vivek: Just do it. If you see a problem, take ownership. Our managers will always be happy in pointing you in the right direction, to the right resources, initiatives and stepping out of the comfort zone is encouraged here. Jason: I started as a junior developer and grew to now lead our Quality Assurance efforts. Your career is what you make it, know what you want to be, and work with your leaders to move towards your goals. I think at other companies it's more laid out where they say do X, Y and Z and you'll move up and you have little say in the matter. Yes, we have general guidelines, but the idea is you should be working towards bettering yourself, in whatever way you want. Grow to be who you want to be. Kelly: Jump in headfirst. Learn, problem solve, create quality work, be a team player, and stay above the line. I know these are cliche, but they really do create the recipe for success in any position at Call Box.

See it. Own it. Solve it. Do it.
E + R = O (Events + Reactions = Outcome)
You can't control the Es of life - the Events you encounter. And you don't have direct control over the Os - the Outcomes. The only thing you do have total control over is the Rs - your Responses to the Events you encounter. Your response to any event decides the outcome and its effect on you as well as others.
"Call Box isn't the best fit for somebody who waits to be told what to do." - Dawn Winsor
Above: Call Box team members celebrate after a tough day of competition at the Fit Company Challenge. Below: Executive VP of Product, posing underneath a hand drawn Dallas skyline.
Is there a particular dynamic that makes the team special? Tim: The development team is really close, we do a ton of things together outside of work and everyone here encourages each other to take new risks and push themselves to the edge. Vivek: The Machine Learning team is a specialized sub-team of Hackerfarm, our development team, which is a great team of really kind, helpful, and intelligent people. The coolest thing about working on my team is the endless possibilities of things you can do with all the raw data that is available and the R&D time you're given with it. People on my team have used the research time to extract a lot of insight and built multiple core features ranging from facial detection to voice recognition, from sentiment analysis to fraud detection, and in the process have been able to grow their skillsets exponentially. Jason: There's a lot of instances where you may not have the answer to the problem you're trying to solve, and nothing online is really helping either. The willingness of people to brainstorm and think through difficult issues and collaborate is pretty awesome to say the least Kelly: The development team is the most diverse team at Call Box. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, educations, and previous work experience. I'm always learning something new and surprising about someone on the team.
The company plinko board (left) on display at a milestone celebration party where a few lucky employees will get to try their hand at some generous prizes like a $500 Amazon Gift Card. Developer Ian Ruth (right) taking on camera man duty for a company outing.
(Left) A group of call boxers enjoy a friendly company team volleyball competition. A side project by some of the developers involves engineering a self ringing bell for the sales team.
"You'll struggle here if you're still spending most of your day
passively waiting for a new email that gives you something to do."
- Matt Andrus, CTO
How is the development team organized and what does each team do? Tim: The development team is broken down into Network Operations, Application (Front End and Back End) and Machine Learning. Network Operations handles our infrastructure and databases. Application - both Front End and Back End handle code updates to both our client-facing applications and internal tools, and Machine Learning handles our machine learning pipelines as well as research and development. Jason: The development team is divided into 4 main groups. We have Network Operations, Database, Web Application Developers, and a Machine Learning team. The Network Operation team handles all our server and telephony infrastructure, updating and maintaining them so that our clients have the best possible call tracking experience. They also have a wide range of system monitoring tools to let them know when things aren't working quite right. The database team ensures that our queries are optimal and running as efficiently as possible. The Machine Learning team takes the audio from our tracked calls to make inferences about what was discussed within a high degree of certainty. Lastly, the Web Application Developers maintain the brunt of the code across a wide range of repositories and systems used by our client users.
"the only limit on advancement is your skill and work ethic."
Some of the Call Box team bring out their winter apparel at a Dallas Stars hockey game. "We are always putting together outtings for our teams, building relationships is important to us."
What makes Call Box different than other opportunities? Tim: Call Box is different from other companies because of the opportunity you're given, you can rise as high and as fast as you're willing to, there's no ceiling to growth and no limit to the potential you bring to the team. Vivek: Whether you're an intern or a full-time developer, the work you'll be given will be challenging and meaningful. There will always be new problems to identify and solve, new challenges to overcome. And there will always be something where you can go above and beyond, take ownership, and rise. That being said, no matter what role you find yourself in here, it's up to you to see that success though as both an individual and a team player. Jason: Simply put, and quite literally, the people themselves. I never thought I'd work at a company where I can genuinely say there isn't anyone I wouldn't want to work with. These are all smart, motivated, and kind-hearted people, who just want to provide a great product to our clients to the best of our abilities Kelly:Everyone here is a go-getter and Call Box rewards that by providing the opportunity to grow and pursue career paths in any department. You're not held back by your degree or past experience. You can move into any career path you want and do it quickly.

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