Rachel Gardner, 2018 Summer Intern, Stanford University Computer Science, Class of 2020
In looking for a job, there is a constant question: big company vs small company? Rather than answer this question, I chose “all of the above” and interned at a medium-sized company (Silicon Labs), a large company (NVIDIA) and now a small company (BabbleLabs), one after the other. The first and most obvious difference is that I always have to explain what BabbleLabs does, as “I work at a deep learning startup” usually invokes a fair amount of interest (along with a few knowing smiles). In case you were also wondering, Babblelabs is a speech processing company, using advanced neural networks for cloud and devices. It’s less than a year old, but has already launched its first product (5 months after raising the first $4M).
With such a small company (about 9 in BabbleLabs’ San Jose office), I was immediately treated as a full-time employee, with all that brings. In the often unstructured environment of a startup, I found that my past work at larger companies gave me the experience to impose my own structure: setting goals for the internship, calling meetings to discuss milestones, etc. It was clear that the decisions of the founding team were similarly influenced by experience with more established companies, both in terms of how to do things and in terms of what to avoid. Because of the small size of the company, I had the opportunity ...