Interview with Casey Mason, a developer who started in 2020

What were you doing before LACRM?

Before Less Annoying I was finishing up a Master’s in computer science. This was after studying psychology in undergrad with the idea that I wanted to do research. Well, it turns out research isn’t for me. I started studying computer science and I jumped into a Master’s program because I was worried about finding a job. But even with a degree I felt so unprepared for work as a software developer. I was baffled that Less Annoying hired me!

You started as a coding intern -- what was the internship like for you?

The internship was my first real computer science job and I felt so unprepared. I remembered going to an interview at a different company and having a dumb blank look when they asked if I knew what ‘inheritance’ was. I was just waiting for that moment at Less Annoying. The moment where I revealed just how wrong for the job I was. But, that moment never came. In fact, with every project, every lecture and meeting, I felt more and more capable. Sure, I asked some maybe obvious questions, but no one seemed bothered. Actually, everyone seemed excited to answer my questions, even taking time to make videos explaining a particular concept just for me. It was my first computer science job and I didn’t even know I would like it but Less Annoying made me love it.

What was it like to then transition to a full-time employee?

Honestly, it was the easiest thing in the world for me. You don’t realize how crazy school really is until you leave. I wake up later for work than I did for class and I go home in the evening with no homework to do. There are no weird 3-hour psych experiments that you have to fit in between your classes, no squeezing in TA hours on the weekend. Working 9 to 5 has been the best thing to ever happen to me.

What have you learned so far in your career here?

I learned how to be a software engineer. I learned how to plan a project, a new language and framework, how to test, how to really use a database, I learned all the things school tried to teach me about being a software engineer that just didn’t click into place. Well, not all the things. Everyday I feel like I learn something new. And not just about code, about me! I’m learning what I like, what I’m capable of, how to speak up, how to ask questions, and what I want to learn more about! The things I can learn from this job, right now, feels infinite.

What’s your day-to-day life like working as a developer at LACRM?

It’s kind of crazy how little busy-work I have to do in a day. There’s one meeting that happens every week, a pair programming session a week, and maybe a brainstorming meeting once a month. Mostly I just work on my code, which, to me, is peaceful. Plus, there are no “deadlines'' for projects. No, not take all the time you want, kind of way, things still need to get done. But, take the time you need. When you are planning your project with Robert and Tyler, you estimate how long you think it will take (you get better at estimating this the more projects you do) but sometimes things are a little more complicated than they seemed. Sometimes you get stuck in a rabbit hole looking for the best TOTP generator and sometimes it takes you a whole day to get your div centered. It’s just part of the job and they understand that here.

What types of projects do you get to work on in your role?

As a full-stack developer I get to work on building a lot of our new features (I got to build our two-factor authentication as an Intern!). I know I probably sounded so confident about being a “full-stack developer” in that last sentence! When I started I didn’t know I was a developer, let alone full stack! As an intern, after a few projects to get you familiar with the code, we got to pick our projects. There’s a list of all the things we want to accomplish, some higher priority than others, and you just pick what sounds interesting to you. Tyler is really good at asking leading questions and suggesting projects you may like but you always get a say in what you work on. And after you finish the project, he always asks how it went. So you’re never stuck in a box, unless you want to be.

How do you like living in St. Louis?

I love St. Louis! Coming from the suburbs of Georgia, I always wanted to live in a real city, but places like Chicago or New York are so intimidating. St. Louis has been my happy middle ground. It’s got the happenings of a real city but it’s small enough that it still feels homey. I can walk to my favorite park (Tower Grove - sorry Forest Park) or the bar in my neighborhood where they know my drink or the Thai restaurant that makes the best green curry I’ve ever had. What more could I want?

What are a few of your favorite things about working for LACRM?

I love our office! It’s got huge warm tables where we eat lunch together, a disco-ball that we once turned on for karaoke night and still hangs proudly above our weekly meetings, and the biggest fiddle-leaf ferns in every corner.

What do you think separates LACRM from other companies?

Probably that we don’t have any investors. We’ve got regular people who have a vision and who care about other people. Sure, we want to be profitable but not in that weird cost-cutting corporate greedy kind of way. It’s upsetting that a company that actually cares about its employees and users is so rare. But here we are. I mean, it took a decade for the company to raise the price of the product for the first time and it’s still one of the cheapest CRMs out there!

Is there anything else you’d like to say to someone considering applying for a role at Less Annoying?

Why not? You can’t know that this is the job for you or the city for you or the company for you, but you definitely won’t know if you don’t apply. I know, you can say that about any job or hobby or piece of food, but that’s the point. Anything can surprise you. Anything can be a thing that changes your life, that changes you, and you just won’t know until it happens. So why not Less Annoying?