Timescale and Speakable and Central Park Zoo, Oh My!

The interns from Timescale and Speakable had the opportunity to share their stories and insights this week. Timescale, where James Sung '20, HJ Suh '20, and Narek Galstyan '20 work, is the first time-series database specifically designed for scale, ease of use, and complex queries making it a key building block across a range of industries.

Speakable, where Brillian Bao '20 works, is a technology company on a mission to make civic engagement more accessible. Their first product, Action Button, is changing how the world reads the news by enabling readers to take instant action on news articles. Their algorithm matches the right civic and charitable actions to engaging content, enabling readers to impact the issues they care about directly from the article page.

Before getting into the details of the chat, a group of PSIP interns had the awesome opportunity to go to Central Park Zoo this weekend. Check the end of the blog for a picture of the squad enjoying their Saturday in the city!

Now onto the interns...

What project are you currently working on at your startup?

As is tradition, we love to ask what projects the interns are working on. The Timescale interns had the following responses: 

Narek is working on two major projects so that he can optimize the work that he does. His first project is creating a new user-facing function in the database that will allow product clients to easily export historical data. His second project focuses on building a set of functions that will serialize database structure as SQL queries, hoping to fix a small piece of a larger puzzle facing the startup. HJ described three separate projects to us: (1) He is using the database the company is building to perform some analytics on NYC taxicab data; (2) He is automating some tests of the company's codebase; (3) Lastly, he is also automating the process of storing benchmarks of company's database against others. Lastly, James, as the business intern, is completing market research on the PostgreSQL ecosystem, evaluating opportunities and challenges for Timescale.

At Speakable, Brillian said this of her work:

"I work on a few smaller projects at my startup, as opposed to one larger project. Right now, I'm mostly researching potential grants/sponsors for a campaign we're launching in the coming weeks and testing editorial content to see what features are most effective at driving impact."

Sounds like these interns are really making a difference at their startups!

If you could choose one word to describe the last week, what would it be and why?

Brillian chose "exciting" because of a rollout that happened within their product recently.

James, as the business intern, chose "all-over-the-place." He assured us this was not a bad thing. In fact, he remarked that there are so many moving aspects of the business side of a startup. Therefore, he is constantly working on a variety of projects, learning as much as possible.

In a similar fashion to James, HJ chose "multi-tasking," and Narek chose "enlightening." 

What insights were you hoping to gain this summer?

James came into the summer hoping to learn more about his potential career choices. Brillian wanted to learn how to drive action and increase engagement on breaking news, something she is very passionate about. HJ wanted to learn how tech startups balance the business and technical sides of the company. Lastly, Narek came in with a startup specific insight goal, hoping to learn how Timescale is built as well as how the company functions as a business. 

What about your experience has surprised you the most this summer?

When asked this question, here is what Narek had to say:

"It is interesting to work with so many PhDs and academics... along with non academics. I got to find many reasons in favor of and against going to grad school. Discussions we have had in the office were an important catalyst for my findings."

James suggests that surprised isn't the best word to describe this insight, but he says he has been very pleased to learn about how seriously the leaders of the company take building a good company culture with an emphasis on inclusiveness.

Brillian says:

"It's been incredibly interesting to see what issues people care about and what issues people are willing to take action on. Though the political climate has seemed hopelessly partisan over the past few months, we've engaged with content over the past few months that has fueled considerable bipartisan action."

And on a note outside of work and focused on NYC, HJ says he is shocked about how much there is to do in the city (while also acknowledging how overwhelming it can be). 

Have you found a favorite spot in NYC yet?

As a final rapid fire question, we love asking the interns this question. James's favorite spot is three blocks away from our housing this summer on the Brooklyn Heights promenade (specifically at night when the Financial District skyline is lit up). Brillian's favorite spot is a lavender field on Governor's Island where she can escape the city and volunteer. HJ's favorite spot is the neighborhood around NYU and Soho. And to cap it off, Narek's favorite spot is Central Park, both for the nature and the access to the museums!

As promised, here is a pic of the PSIP interns at the Central Park Zoo this past Saturday!

Jarred Felix