Co-founders Wade Arnold and Bob Smith started Moov Financial with a vision: To make the company the best place that their employees had ever worked.
“I will judge my success at Moov based on the experiences of my employees,” Arnold wrote in his company’s blog. "Business milestones don’t matter if my people don’t feel challenged, accepted, safe, respected, inspired, and like they’re doing the best work of their lives."
According to Senior Software Engineer Morgan Hargrove, they have done their job well.
“Even before I was officially on the team, I was excited to join because of the strong culture and commitment to transparency,” said Hargrove. “We have the freedom to go and create new things, challenge expectations and do something meaningful in a new way.”
Holly Caliri, director of payment product solutions, sees these values in action every day. “You can see how much heart Wade and Bob have for what they’re doing,” she said. “There’s no wizard behind the curtain. There’s no curtain! There’s openness, honesty and transparency. Even when things are hard, there is no negativity. It’s all very real and very human.”
Tell me about your early experience at Moov.
Vincent Xiao, senior software engineer: I joined Moov two years ago because I wanted to contribute to their mission of making it easier to send and receive money. I’m even more amazed by the team now than when I first joined. The people here are hyper-focused on our users and building a great developer experience. The engineering team is passionate, hands-on and iterating fast.
We work with a modern tech stack including Go, Kafka, microservices, Docker, Kubernetes and MySQL. Overall, I like having the autonomy and trust to make smart and practical technical decisions in the product.
Morgan Hargrove, senior software engineer: I joined in late March of this year. I was originally on the core team, which sort of handles a lot of the in-between pieces and internal software that runs Moov, and since then, I’ve moved to the card team. I had just finished onboarding for one team and then I heard about a new project coming up. I raised my hand, and they were like, “Okay, let’s go.” I love having the ability to forge my own path in my role.
Holly Caliri, director of payment product solutions: I joined Moov in December 2021, and I came on board to help build out our card-issuing capabilities. I had been chatting with a friend who already worked here for a while about what Wade and Bob are trying to do with Moov. All I could think was, ‘Well, that is a passion project, as much as it is a job. Here is a way to transform an industry that I’ve spent decades in.’ So I came in pretty amped up, and every new person I met had this tangible passion for what they do and the people that they work with.
What they do
What were your first impressions of the culture?
Xiao: Moov is unique in that we genuinely work out in the open. When shaping our product, our roles aren’t restricted to what’s in our job title. If you have feedback on design or infrastructure, your ideas are welcomed and encouraged. We share design documents and diagrams across the organization, and together we prototype, experiment and debate ideas and approaches. In the end, we’re committed to the decisions because we each added our unique knowledge while learning something from others.
Caliri: Right after I was hired, our leadership went through Moov’s values. What struck me is most companies have a set of values that they want everyone in the company to aspire to, and at Moov, it’s the other way around, as if they somehow took the spirit of the people that work here and put words to it.
It all really comes back to this premise of just being a good human. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be selfish with your time. Don’t be selfish with your work. These values are an elegant, graceful way to describe a simple concept: Work hard and be a good human. And everything if everybody does that, everything will come out all right.
- Give first
- Radical transparency
- Respect the craft
- Reciprocate trust
- Make it count
- Embrace community
Hargrove: The core values are tightly interwoven into everything we do. For me, I have really appreciated the way the system comes together, but especially “embrace community.” We have an open source code community. We have a public Slack channel. We have fintech_devcon that we put on to bring together different people from different backgrounds.
Among Moovers, we’ve got biologists and musicians and people from all walks of life coming together with a shared goal. We learn so much from the diversity of experiences in our community that we’re just constantly building off of each other. There is a recognition that we are whole people and our personal lives are not completely separate from our work lives. You’re still you whether you’re on or off the clock.
Do you have any tangible examples of your culture in action?
Hargrove: We have a culture that values creativity and exploration, and we also give everyone a voice and encourage feedback. When we have disagreements or differences of opinion, we do this thing called ‘disagree and commit.’ We’ll come to a solution, and even if everyone’s not perfectly happy with it, it’s the best path for our needs at that moment. In the end, we’re a team. We’re in it together, and we can iterate on it later.
Xiao: Because we’re building a platform that’s never existed before, we collaborate a lot and share ideas about how to build our architecture. Even though we have the space to explore, ultimately, we must land on the best choices that help drive the company forward. Moov is so versatile and fits many use cases, so it’s up to us to commit and execute, even if it means we fail fast, iterate, learn from our mistakes and continue shipping more innovative features.
At Moov, remote work works
How would you describe life at Moov to someone interested in joining the company?
Hargrove: One of the things I love is that there is a real focus on taking care of ourselves, and that comes from the managers, too. Recently, I was on a team, and we really had our heads down to get this massive project delivered. At the end of it, there was a set cycle of time off to make sure everyone could recuperate. Everyone got at least three days off to recover from the project, avoid burnout and to actively help everyone balance their work and life.
Caliri: Wade often says we are hard on the issues, easy on the people. We’re a team. Everybody is under pressure and working hard. Nobody is perfect. Nobody can think of every single thing. But when something goes wrong, it is never about fault or blame. We’re solutions oriented, and we are going to find a way to fix it and move ahead as a team.
Xiao: By joining Moov very early on, it’s been an incredible learning experience as I’ve watched the team and platform take shape. If you’re willing to learn, adapt and embrace some uncertainty that comes with working at a startup, you’ll enjoy it here. The tech stack is new but practical, and you will get the chance to work on lots of interesting and hard problems in fintech. With a passion and a genuine interest for finance and what good software can do to make it better, the work you’re often doing won’t feel like work.