Prison Ed, Cats, and VMWare: Meet The Gilt Corporate Applications Team

3 min Read Time

Gilt Corporate Applications is a diverse and vital team of 27 men and women working together across two continents (North America and Europe) and multiple cities (New York, Dublin, Limerick, and Louisville, KY) to make sure that Gilt-the-company continues running. They are the unsung heroes who field all of our “HELP! MY COMPUTER IS ACTING WEIRD” queries and deal with our failures to reset our passwords. They are the front line in our battles against chaos and negative-surprise. Recently I polled them to find out more about who they are, and what makes them tick.

Who they are: systems engineers, technical specialists, security governance analysts, and documentation specialists. Moms and dads. Men and women:


Average team-member tenure with Gilt: Three years. Many Gilt people are “old-timers” according to standard tech-company attrition rates, but Corporate Applications people are particularly loyal. Some members have been with Gilt since its earliest, earliest days (i.e., when we were using Ruby).

This graph shows how “the Corporate Applications 27” landed at Gilt:


(In case you’re unfamiliar with narwhals, this should help.)

What keeps these dedicated technologists happy, healthy and holiday-celebrating at Gilt? This graph (its format is called “exploding pie,” BTW) sheds some light:


Ask anyone at Gilt what they love about working here, and “the people” is almost always the first thing that comes to mind–so this result was expected. A follow-up exploding pie seemed in order:


More than half cited the ample opportunities to learn and grow on the job. Some team members specifically mentioned learning new technologies, while others cited team-building and management skills. Our pantry options (cold-brew, popcorn, seltzer, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other treats) and flexible vacation policy came in second and third place, respectively.

More about learning: Many people enthusiastically went into detail, sharing bits of wisdom they’ve learned along the Gilt way:

  • “Numbers count”
  • “Everything requires a ticket.”
  • “Change is constant so deal with it, Macs are a good thing, and elk makes a tasty burger.”
  • “Be Agile. Be ready to take on anything and everything with style. Learn from your mistakes and get better for the next.”
  • “What might be important one day (projects, reports) might not be the next, so don’t take it too seriously!”
  • “The true nature of what the Internet is really for [is] shopping on Gilt!”
  • “If it ain’t broke, leave it well alone!”
  • “Work hard and give it your all regardless of the person, situation, or problem.”
  • “Own your mistakes and learn from them.”
  • “A great team helps you fix things quickly.”
  • “Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you break something, it’s OK as long as you fix it.”
  • “Having a relatively happy, respectful workplace with flexible scheduling is more motivating for employees to do great work than anything else I’ve ever experienced before.”
  • “Document it before you break it. Ask questions.”
  • “Don’t make a disk thick until making the comparison on VMware and NetApp.”
  • “As much as you think you know, someone knows more.”
  • IT folk are not nasty and condescending …They just have really tough jobs!“
  • Learn as much as possible, and use it as much as possible.”

One respondent developed their own motto for the team: “Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.” We need to translate this into Latin, stat.

For my last question, I wanted to get to know a bit about what makes the team tick outside the Gilt walls. A lot, apparently:


Some of people’s interests are particularly worth mentioning:

  • “Cigars”
  • “Welding”
  • “Lawn work”
  • “Cats. Playing with cats, baking with cats, watching TV with cats, telling jokes to cats & laughing at jokes my cats tell, laser tag with cats”
  • “Recreational shooting”
  • Writing, performing, teaching in prisons & Occupying Wall Street
  • “Walking along the beach at sun set hand in hand”
  • “Sitting on the beach and taking it all in”
  • “Spending time out in the bog”
  • “Researching real estate”

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