Below - Photos from Polarr Team Retreat 2019
Hey, young grads, students, or experienced industry veterans and PhDs from all corners of the world. This is Borui and Derek, founders of Polarr, and we're making creative A.I. for everyone 🤖.
Welcome to our career page. For students, we know it's a really busy season for you, and among all the midterms, finals, and other life choices you're going to make soon regarding course planning, interns, and full-time jobs, we don't want to worsen your decision paralysis. For those who're currently working in the industry, we don't want our process to hijack your existing work routine and schedule, so we'd like to keep it as simple as possible for you to decide if Polarr would be a good fit or not.
This web page has an estimated read time of 10 minutes. If you don't think Polarr is a good fit today after reading, things might change in the future and we will remain in touch. Otherwise, there is a link to an application for you fill out near the end of this post. If you know anyone who might be a good candidate, we offer a gift for external referral as well.
To enable and inspire everyone to make beautiful creations.
The ongoing act and potential of making once-in-a-career, gaming-changing and ludicrously interesting projects.
Polarr is a Series A stage startup company (see most recently announcement) based in Silicon Valley. When we started Polarr in 2015, we saw the future of content is code, and the future in computation lies in smaller, more efficient mobile GPUs. But more importantly, we started to see conventional algorithms being repurposed for creative work to create music, writings and movies.
We believe this is largely due to the increased computing power and quality in cameras sensors in consumer devices. In 2019, most cell phones will be equipped with compute NPUs, 8K cameras, and we're seeing a new generation of users looking to creatively capture and express their lives with the new-found power in their hands.
While the A.I. compute capabilities in mobile hardware are truly promising, today only a very small fraction of applications and software leverage the hardware. This is because:
Since 2015, Polarr's team has built cross-platform, A.I. enabled, award-winning apps used by millions of photographers. Such process required us to continuously tackle A.I. interfaces with different device platforms and chipset vendors. Our apps also became an amazing platform for us to experiment new creative A.I. use-cases to engage with our audience.
Above - Polarr's machine guided composition on iPhone.
We pushed the limits of computer vision and neural network efficiency and trained a large set of modules that best represent our vision in content evaluation, manipulation, and curation. These modules help users to tell stories in albums, guide photo composition in real-time, understand photo aesthetics, and navigate cluttered media libraries.
While our own apps are direct beneficiaries of these modules, we also realized that millions of other developers can use our modules to create new experiences with A.I. we could never think of. We believe we have the right ingredients for a new chapter of applied A.I. where A.I. becomes truly meaningful to empower creativity for all.
In the last 12 months, Polarr has been focusing on exploring, implementing and optimizing interesting offline A.I. modules that cost 1-2 order of magnitude cheaper than traditional cloud-based A.I., as well as eliminating the interfacing issues for developers to learn vendor-specific quirks on offline A.I. implementations. Our understanding of interactive user cases of offline A.I. has also grown drastically which allows us to toy with more complex interactive behaviors overtime.
Today, we have a few new apps under work. We have companies such as Samsung, OPPO, Western Digital, Hover already using our modules to build new A.I.experiences on their new generation of products. We're gearing up right now to build scalable infrastructure to help serve the power of Polarr's creative A.I. to hundreds and thousands of developers, including our own app developing team, to inspire and enable the devs and their users to make beautiful creations.
We are only scratching the surface here and we see Polarr’s A.I. capabilities as a starting point for something much bigger in the domain of user privacy.
Not everything is super shiny at Polarr, below and on the right are a few caveats ⚠️.
What this means is we're still in the early phase of our venture. Our team currently has 27 employees and more than half are remote in countries including Ireland, Russia, Spain, China. Although the company is currently profitable and we've raised more than $10mm in our recent Series A funding and backed by reputable investors (here, here, and here), there are tremendous competitions and risks in our technology and strategy. It means we will constantly adapt ourselves to new landscape and climate changes in the industry, and we might go through big detours to react to markets and new demands in weeks, not months. Practically, it means you are likely to touch on multiple projects and transition in and outs from multiple roles throughout the year, as opposed to focusing on one specific role if you were in a later-stage startup or a larger company.
Because Polarr touches on multiple areas in A.I., Product Design, Application, Engineering, Growth with a small team, each person is likely to own an area bigger than what they'd be given in a larger company. We don't have dedicated teams for crafting and auditing metrics, debating utility v.s. novelty in product features, or doing QA reporting for releases. We expect engineers to test their own code and understand UI principles, designer to program interactive prototypes and run their own user studies, researchers to document and benchmark their findings, and product managers to involve engineering system designs. This means our team structure is currently optimized for cross-disciplinary communication and task ownership, and it could be difficult for those who want to focus on building on one particular skill deeply such as database query optimization or design A/B testing.
Inside Polarr, every member on the team has an implicit title of "problem solver". We share every piece of context from execution strategy and tactics, risks and challenges to quarterly financials and board meeting notes. We want our team members to have active commitments on problems they genuinely care and feel passionate to solve, as opposed to passive commitments assigned by leaders or managers in the company. This means we have a free-market approach in the company when it comes to problems, and we expect each member on the team to actively initiate and ask for areas to work on and set their own goals and deadlines under the guidance of leadership, instead of waiting for tasks and new assignments.
As impressive as the products and offerings from Polarr might be, the day-to-day work in Polarr is full of challenges, hill-climbing/roller-coaster rides, potential struggles, and sufferings. These frictions bring Polarr's team closer as we run against the misunderstandings and resistance from society's status quo. The only sustainable competitive advantage we see in Polarr is our self-awareness and commitment to truths in our ever-changing market landscape and climate. With that being said, we don't take pride in comfort and security in working together, and we invest our resource for long term outcome in the company rather than short-term exits. Being long-term greedy is what it is at Polarr.
To put all the above areas we talked about so far into perspective:
|Attribute||Polarr is||Polarr is not|
|Stage||Early and fast-moving||Stable and peace of mind|
|Responsibility||Multi-domain and morphing||Clearly assigned and contained|
|Culture||Self-initiating and forgiving||Process and permission|
|Nature of work||Challenging and turbulent||Comfortable|
Startups can work crazy hours, regardless of your skill and ability. People always ask us how many hours per week do we work at Polarr, and our honest answer is we don't measure work by hours and we only measure by deliverables and outcomes. Your manager will never push you for deliverables and promises you feel uncomfortable with. We believe a focused, high quality 40 hour work week is more than sufficient for most startups to execute their mission. As a company we try to accommodate as much as we can to lower the friction of work for our employees, with policies like the option to work from home three days per week if you're based out of one of our HQ locations.
One of the biggest challenges we face is the fact that the earth isn't flat, especially for those whose work is dependent on teams in different timezones. Occasionally you can expect to work late or wake up early to meet with other teams or handle something urgent.
Many of our team members have serious hobbies (photography, surfing, etc.), social commitments, and family commitments that can take a significant amount of personal time. Let us know your commitments and we will work with you to set clear expectations.
Our compensation strategy is guided by a data driven pay bands designed by our board and our executive team and take into consideration a variety of different factors. We update our pay bands regularly to ensure that they are in line with the market. Like any process, the bands are setup as point of reference. We recognize that people have special life circumstances and may prefer more cash with less equity or vice versa. Our team will accommodate special needs and requests as much as possible to build an offer that works for you.
We are a Series A start up and we can't compete with offers from tech giants or later stage companies, although we frequently try to. As an early stage company we are excited about the company’s mission and vision but realize that we need to be sensitive about preserving cash position as much as possible so that our hard work pays off,
Polarr doesn't have a global pay structure which means that compensation will be based on market rate for your part of the world.
We try to maintain a lightweight, low-stress process as much as possible for our candidates. To accomplish that, we abandoned the white-board coding interview since we first started the company. It means you never have to think of how to write a piece of code on the spot. Instead, we hand out a simple take-home assignment to evaluate your technical skills or design skills depending on your role, and our process moves as follows:
The entire recruitment process can be completed in as little as 3-4 days. If needed, our team can accommodate an expedited timeline or any special needs.
For those who're interested in our full-time roles, our assignments are located in Polarr Prospective Full-time Member Assignments, for interns, we will have a much simpler and shorter assignment sent to you based on your interests.
Because Polarr evolves fast, sometimes the role you were applying for would already have changed once you start your first day. In some rare cases, the role and responsibility could change during the interview processes. We understand how exciting as well as frustrating this might be depending on who you are, but such decision will always be mutual and any role given to you will be based on your own personal interest and technical match.
Such process will continue after you join the company. Most of Polarr's existing team members have either passively or proactively rotated from one team to another, and touched multiple projects where they can make significant contributions.
Over the next two years, we want to grow both our and developer platforms, with an overall goal to become a leader in offline A.I. in the consumer application space. We plan to double our team size to around 60 headcount and remain in good cash flow position before raising our Series B.
Q: What does benefits and perks look like in the company?
A: See Company Perks.
Q: What you support working from home or work remotely?
A: See Remote Working at Polarr.
Q: What are the core cultural principles at Polarr?
A: See The Complete Guide to Cultue and Value of Polarr, here is a summary of all the main points below.
Q: Will I have mentors in the company?
A: For each new hire we will have a dedicated mentor for the first three months at Polarr. Interns will always be mentored throughout the internship program. For interns, your mentor will help you keep track of your progress and will be available to discuss challenges with your ongoing work on daily basis.
Q: Will intern be allowed to work remotely?
A: You will follow the same remote working cultural in Polarr as fulltimers.
Q: Are interns paid? Do company pay intern housing?
A: Yes all interns are paid at comparable price in the internship market. And we pay an additional stipend per month for housing.
Q: Do interns get to join company all hands?
A: Yes you will be exposed to the week to week execution update from all team members at Polarr and understand all aspects of the company's day to day operation. You will be considered the same as all full-timers in terms of information access, Slack channels as well.
Q: For internship programs, what are areas of opportunities to work on?
A: Polarr evolves on a weekly basis. Although we couldn't guarantee the exact tasks, please check out our opening position page. Intern positions are most popular during spring every year.
If you're still with us in the webpage, by now you probably would have a decent understanding of what we're working on, and what type of team member we're looking for. If you remain excited, please apply for our position below and we will reach out to you again regarding our next steps.