What it’s Like to Intern at Location Data Company X-Mode

A snapshot of our brilliant class of interns from this last summer.

by Joseph Green

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As X-Mode continues to grow in our biggest year yet, the company still likes to stay grounded in our beginnings as a humble startup. That’s why we’re always happiest during the summer, when interns arrive and we get the opportunity to nurture a talented group of baby entrepreneurs, allowing them to blossom like we once did.

The interns always bring a new energy to the office. They also bring a chance for the whole team to have some fun and get to know each other better. Company potlucks, softball games, impromptu lunches…  intern season is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

This year’s batch of interns was our biggest yet. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to get to know so many future captains of industry, I posed a couple of questions to the young go-getters. And this is what I learned.

It turns out most of our interns didn’t know much about the Location Industry before they heard about us.

“I knew that my location was probably being collected and sold given the amount of apps on my phone that I use in daily life that have a location component like Google Maps; however, I had no idea that there was an entire highly-competitive industry surrounding geolocation data.” – Emma Zhang

Emma Zhang

“I knew that companies were collecting my location data and using it, but I didn’t know what it was used for. I thought that location data was primarily used for advertising and for showing me targeted ads.” – Steven Vu

Steven Vu

Some of them were a little uneasy about it. 

“I just knew that some companies probably know way more about me than I thought they might.” – Evan Heitman.

Evan Heitman

And some, well… 

“I didn’t know there was a location data industry.” – Ronak Shetty

Ronak Shetty

But all of them learned more as they worked this summer, and came away with a renewed impression of a fast-growing industry.

“I loved researching Smart Mobility and learning about all the cool ways companies are using technology, including location, to better society in ways I wouldn’t have thought of, like safety and carbon emissions. It was also a really good way to break down my preconceived notions of location data.” – Cameron Ngo

Cameron Ngo

Working for a startup instead of a big corporation is always a unique experience for our interns, who find themselves with more responsibilities — but also more opportunities to grow.

“There are always so many ideas flying around about how to make things work better, paired with an atmosphere and culture that promotes the pursuit of those ideas, even for interns. It makes the workplace really exciting and engaging.” – Evan Heitman

“It’s fast-paced and unpredictable. Things are constantly evolving and even from one day to the next, the projects you’re working on can change direction or be extended or altered based on new developments.” – Emma Zhang

I think Lauren here summed it up best: 

“In just a few words, it’s meaningful, fast-paced work with a group of driven people.” – Lauren Mohan

Lauren Mohan

As for the specific culture at X-Mode, they seem to have figured us out pretty quickly.

“We were told on the first day that the company has a relaxed dress code, but not relaxed work and I’ve found that to be very true. Everyone here is friendly and fun, but also eager to work.” – Cameron Ngo

“People here are friendly and relaxed, but everyone here is driven toward X-Mode’s larger goals. There’s a good balance of work and play (and snacks).” – Lauren Mohan

“The culture here is definitely young and laid-back, but with a wide array of different personalities. The work always gets done, but it gets done in different ways by different people, which is how startups thrive in the first place. “ – Garrett Reynolds

Garrett Reynolds

Some of the interns were pleasantly surprised by just how important “play and snacks” are to us here.

“I didn’t expect that a company culture could be so welcoming, from catering lunches, to surprise snacks, to super smash bros tournaments. It’s been a lot of fun.” – Evan Heitman

I asked them in what ways they had been challenged during the summer… 

“The challenge of learning new tools and techniques throughout the internship has definitely helped me learn to adapt quickly. Some of the projects I’ve done involved things that you don’t learn in the classroom. Learning as I went was difficult initially, but was ultimately rewarding.“ – Steven Vu

“Because I work with two departments with two different leads, it’s extremely important that I communicate well to them about my progress and where I’m at with my other project with the other lead.” – Emily Zou

… and also what they were going to take away from their time at X-Mode.

“I’ll take away a better understanding of the hard work it takes to grow a company, and the amount of people and processes that have to be in place for a business to keep moving forward.” – Emma Zhang

“I’ll be walking away from X-Mode with a better understanding of my interests, career wise. I worked on a lot of projects this summer I could see myself doing in a job. I also definitely learned how to take ownership of my work, and take projects in stride – even if I’m not always completely sure of what I’m doing.“ -Cameron Ngo

I ended with a question I thought they would get a kick out of: If X-Mode Social was a sitcom, how would they describe the plot?

Some of the answers made me laugh…

“It would probably be a show centered around the food culture at the office – the lunch catering, chili cookoffs, endless snacks, and random celebratory cakes that appear in the kitchen.” – Emma Zhang

“It would be a show about a struggling softball team that takes the local community by surprise and wins the championship.” – Ronak Shetty

Some were quite insightful…

“The show would be a wartime rom-com. The execs would be making plans to take down competitors. The Ops Team would be slashing plans and realigning targets to win feasible fights. Marketing would be bribing people with shiny content and chewy gummy bears. Sales would be playing cupid and shooting clients with their arrows of love. The Client Success Team would be the wingmen and making sure the relationships work. The Engineering teams would be blacksmithing and building the weapons of love. The HR Team would be making “I want YOU” posters and training the new recruits in old-fashion Mulan way.” – Emily Zou

And some were, admittedly, pretty obvious:

“All I can think about is The Office.” – Evan Heitman

The X-Mode internship program is unique. It’s not about fetching coffee or completing busy work; it’s a chance to take a deep dive into a company that is still growing. It is a place where your input will make a real difference, and the projects you work on are more likely than not to be seen by the CEO. I started in this program myself, and I gained as much from the company as I gave to them. The interns this year were a talented, hard-working group. We can’t wait to see what they do next.

Do you like the sound of working on the X-Mode team? Check out our careers page today, and see if we have any opportunities that are right for you!

Joseph Green

Joseph Green

Writer

Joseph Green is the content manager and chief blog writer at X-Mode.