Photograph of the author, Rose

Taking flight: my first year at Cuckoo

Rose Bowen | Developer

At the time of writing this blog post, it’s coming up to my 1 year anniversary at Cuckoo (23rd of August) so it seems fitting to reflect on my time here and tell you why it’s been the best career choice I’ve ever made.

Why I joined Cuckoo

Around summer of 2021 I had come to the conclusion that I needed a change. I was working at a financial services firm and I wanted a totally different work environment. I got in touch with a recruiter and described my ideal employer/role. I wanted to be at a company that has a fun, relaxed culture where employee wellbeing is prioritised and where the mission of the company is one I really believe in. I also wanted to be somewhere I could really grow my skills as a developer and work on a product that was not only functional, but also exciting to interact with.

My interview process at Cuckoo was by far the most fun I had in an interview, as an example of that here is my hand drawing of an otter that I did for the coding portion:

After my interview with Dan McClure (Co-Founder and VP of Technology) and Alex Fenton (Principal Engineer), I came away from it feeling confident that Cuckoo would be a great fit for me, as they had exceeded all of the requirements I’d spoken to my recruiter about. In particular, I remember agreeing that a website should be an experience that brings joy to the user and not just a means to an end.

The prospect of working at a startup really excited me and the more I looked into Cuckoo, the more I loved what they were all about and where they were going (especially loved their promise of 1% of every customer’s bill going to charity). And after that painless interview process, I didn’t have much else to think about when the offer came through!

Highlights and achievements

My start at Cuckoo aligned perfectly with the rebranding kick off. Which meant - with the help of Studio Output - building a totally new website. This could not have been more exciting, as we were frequently getting presented with new and vibrant designs for the brand, each with their own feel and direction. Once a brand direction was landed on, we delved deeper into it, with things like interactions and motion being explored. This was a very memorable experience and I can’t imagine a better way to have got stuck into my new role.

This rebrand went hand in hand with starting up our new design system, Yolk. A design system was something I had never worked on before, let alone setting one up from scratch. I have gained new skills, more confidence, and loads of experience while working on Yolk (special shout out to my former colleague Mike Francis for his amazing mentorship during this time). Not only have I learned a huge amount, but I have had a great time doing it, working closely with the design team and being part of the creation of a brand from the ground up.

Company culture

One particular thing that Cuckoo does well (among many other things) is their company culture. From my very first day it has been clear that Cuckoo is a welcoming place that respects and values each and every one of its employees.

The culture is based around the company’s values, which are referred to often in our weekly All Hands meeting, where we recognise and celebrate those who have displayed any of these traits.

  • Race to the future - We grow by doing things we haven't done before. 
  • Love the flock - We listen and we act with humour, humility and empathy. 
  • Champion each other - We celebrate our differences and welcome everyone, all of the time.
  • Stand up, speak out - We take responsibility for everything we do.

These values help to steer us in the right direction with everything we do, both with how we treat each other and with how we treat our customers. Personally I have always found the culture to be one of the best aspects of being at Cuckoo. I have been actively encouraged to carve out time at work for personal development, and I have been consistently supported by my colleagues in my professional and personal life.

And as a side note - sometimes you get sent chocolate.

Final thoughts

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first year at Cuckoo and, knowing what our CEO Alex has in store for the future, I can’t wait to start on the next challenge. Feel free to email me at rose@cuckoo.co with any questions you might have.

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