New Relic exists to help people. Making your job easier is our job, and we’re thrilled that our software makes your infrastructure’s behavior cleaner. That’s why we’re always innovating and adding more value to our product, so we can provide you with insight into every aspect of your application’s performance.
As a company, we also apply this mindset internally. As much as we like to improve our customers’ lives, we also want to improve our communities. We provide corporate sponsorships for community events – from Rails Girls and greenlight for girls to hosting host tech community meetups at our office.
To help our employees out into their communities more, we have a company-wide initiative called ‘volunteer days’. Every employee can spend a few paid business days each year to work out in his or her community. There aren’t any strict guidelines and we’ve done all kinds of interesting things – like chaperoning school field trips, working in community gardens, volunteering at museums and festivals, and so much more.
My Tale of Community Involvement
Last year I used my volunteer days in three ways:
1. I’m a geek! I spent a day working at a local conference helping folks get signed in, orienting speakers, dispensing visitor information, and making sure other geeks got fed. The sponsoring non-profit group, Stumptown Syndicate, puts on a lot of tech community-building projects. Open Source Bridge is their biggest one of the year and it needs a lot of folks on the ground to keep the conference cheap. (An order of magnitude cheaper than other multi-day conferences!)
2. I spent a couple afternoons conducting a bike census count for the Portland Bureau of Transportation. PBoT ‘crowdsources’ a bike census each year during rush hour so they can quantify the effects of their work on the city’s network of bike facilities. This is my third year counting bike traffic at different corners and the first year I was paid to do it (by New Relic). Maybe next year I’ll find a way to pump those statistics into a pretty graph New Relic’s UI ; )
3. I spent a few other afternoons on the PBoT Budget Advisory Committee as part of my work with AROW. AROW attempts to better represent people who don’t usually interact with the transportation planners of the city. And I’m happy to report that this year’s work was very effective. While the budget committee is advisory in nature and doesn’t make policy, it certainly does affect policy-making and we scored a real coup in keeping funding levels going for the important projects that improve our city’s livability in a real way. Everyone’s a pedestrian, sometimes.
New Relic gets no direct benefit from this work. However, the indirect benefits are huge. The tech community in Portland is enhanced. Our city increases its citizen engagement and remains one of the most livable cities in America, without the need to borrow millions of dollars. And most importantly, New Relic has an employee (me!) who feels good about the work he does every day – both on and off the job.
Have I helped you lately? I’m Chris McCraw, one of the tech support crew here at New Relic. We’re happy to help!