Posted Aug 22, 2013

The Lovely Summer Intern Recap (and it’s only Part 1!)

As Labor Day draws near and it finally starts to feel like summer in San Francisco, we’d like to take a moment to recognize our amazing interns who’ve been hard at work during a very busy few months at Lovely. They’ve coded, researched, designed, even beat boxed, and all deserve our thanks for the impressive and lasting contributions they’ve made to the company. We asked our interns to share a bit about their personal experiences to give you an inside look at the life of a Lovely intern and what it’s like to work at a fast-paced startup. If it sounds like a something you’d be interested in, check out our available job openings and let us know why you’d be a good fit. Be sure to look out for Part 2 for more from our knowledge-dropping interns!


Name: Wayne Spiegel
Position: Product Design Intern
Age: 23
Hometown: Toronto
School: York University

What was your main focus during your internship?
I worked with our product team on interface and user experience, basically any visual element to the product. I also helped out with some marketing collateral, designing banners and flyers, so it was a nice mix of print and digital design work.

What was a typical day at Lovely like for you?
Well, would usually have a minimum of six cups of tea a day, usually green or orange peking and some other french tea with fancy packaging we had in the office. Sometimes I would mix tea and coffee, which I guess wouldn’t fall under the ‘typical day’ category. I would start everyday by checking my emails and Asana to see what tasks should take priority and what I needed to accomplish that day and then would get to work.

How was working at a startup different from other work experiences?
Previously, I worked at a small design agency as an intern which turned into a contract job. I found that when you’re working on a product at a startup you feel a sense of ownership, whereas at an agency it’s about how much work you crank out and once you finish you move on to the next project. Both experiences can be great, it just depends on your work style and preferences.

What was the most interesting thing you learned during your internship?
I knew photoshop prior to this internship but had used it primarily for editing, never for mocking up interfaces. I would say I’ve pretty much learned how to master photoshop and learned some really cool hacks that improved my workflow.

What was your favorite part about being an intern at Lovely?
All the snacks I could eat! I also really liked that I could work at my own pace and take breaks whenever I wanted. I found that flexibility and freedom helped to avoid unnecessary stress.

What advice would you give to future interns?
Don’t be timid or afraid to open up to colleagues. Take advantage of working with a team, even if it’s just temporary and talk to as many people as you can so you learn as much as possible.


Name: Nick Karpov
Position: Engineering Intern
Age: 23
Hometown: Canada
School: USC

What was your main focus during your internship?
Hacking the mainframe.

What was a typical day at Lovely like for you?
I’d likely enjoy a bagel from The Creamery and a tasty cup of coffee from the Lovely kitchen before reviewing everything that happened overnight, closely check logs to see if any fixes had to be made and basically make sure the site was running smoothly. If anything did need attention, I’d work with Sam to track down the issues and fix them which involved hot fixes typically, super hot fixes. After lunch, would set a game plan for the remainder of the day which could include implementing feeds or some kickass interfaces.

How was working at a startup different from other work experiences?
It’s almost like No Pants Sunday, everyday. As my first formal work experience, I can say with absolute certainty I never want to wear pants to work.

On a more serious note, being part of this startup environment exposed me to every aspect of the company which I really enjoyed. My very first day happened to fall on the day of our team meeting and it was so sweet to see what everyone was working on and immediately get up to speed on how each team interacts.

What was the most interesting thing you learned during your internship?
I learned how to effectively work and communicate across multiple teams, both technical and nontechnical (special shout-out to the Collaboration Station!). I learned quickly how important this is skill is in order for team members to understand each other and expedite tasks even though we might work on completely separate things on a daily basis.

I also learned how to slow down. I tend to dive right into projects so it was really good practice to carefully consider the best way to solve each problem and the consequences of each action on a more macro scale before getting started on a project.

What was your favorite part about being an intern at Lovely?
Working with the team was awesome, even though there were some long days, I loved every minute of it. The overall experience and everything I learned has really changed my perspective on what kind of career I’d like to pursue. I feel like I learned more in the past three months than I learned during three years of school.

What advice would you give to future interns?
Obviously, work at Lovely. Keep an open mind and remember that there is always someone smarter than you so learn as much you can. Also, never be afraid to ask questions because your team members are there to help!


Name: Jonathan Hsieh
Position: Product Intern
Age: 21
Hometown: Johns Creek, GA
School: Stanford

What was your main focus during your internship?

My work involved a lot of research and gathering feedback about the rental process from both renters and landlords to help inform our product design process. I conducted a lot of user interviews, tested rough demos of the product and used that feedback to gauge what kind of features and product innovations we could implement. As part of this work, I met a lot of interesting people from a variety of backgrounds which resulted in diverse feedback to a wide range of pain points facing renters and landlords.

I also QA tested all of the new features that were built to make sure everything functioned correctly before users have access to the product.

What was a typical day at Lovely like for you?
There really wasn’t a typical day; my schedule depended on product priorities of any given day. If the team was focused on a mobile build, I would QA test that, some days were booked with user interviews, it really depended on what the most pressing project was and I focused on that.

How was working at a startup different from other work experiences?
On a small team, your role may not be as defined as it might be at a large company or organization. For example, my product work involved user interviews and research but also included QA testing. I found this allows for more flexibility to take on tasks as they arise and opportunities to help the team in ways you may not have expected, rather than staying within rigid roles and responsibilities.

What was the most interesting thing you learned during your internship?
I started the internship thinking I knew everything about renters’ and landlords’ needs and motivations, what kind of issues they deal with and what kind of solutions they want to use. I realized I was actually completely wrong and it was really interesting for me to learn about the wide range of problems both groups face and what kind of tools they want because it varied so much. The entire experience left me with an understanding that I cannot take for granted that an entire user base wants the same things and how important it is to listen to users.

What was your favorite part about being an intern at Lovely?
I think my favorite part of the internship was how relevant it was to me at this specific time. I looked for housing three times throughout the summer as I was conducting research in the field and spending a lot of time thinking about the needs of renters and wants of landlords. Am very happy to report I have secured an awesome spot in NoPa and will be an official SF resident!

What advice would you give to future interns?
Be open to the entire experience. An internship is a great time for you to learn as much as possible and really figure out what you like and what you don’t like. You may start an internship in one role but there is likely room to take on other things or move into a new area, especially in a startup environment.


Elizabeth is the Communications & Marketing Lead at Lovely where she helps spread the word about Lovely's mission far and wide. She loves corgis, Beyonce and helping renters enjoy the best possible experience in their homes.

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