Mary Gruen



September 1, 2021

Author: Stytch Team

Today we continue our celebration of Stytch-iversaries with two of the engineers who helped round out our first Stytch team, Danny and Mary. We’re excited to celebrate this milestone with them and share more about their journey at Stytch! Mary joined us as our first product engineer and now is the engineering manager for that team, learn more about her here.

What do you love most about working at Stytch? 

One thing I love about working at Stytch is the collaborative culture. Everyone has their specific job duties but is primarily focused on the success of the company. If you need help debugging something or want to brainstorm new ideas, they are willing to spend time helping you out. It also means decisions aren’t made in silo.

What does a typical day at Stytch look like for you?

Most days are different! I am primarily focused on helping my team, which includes 1:1s, product specs, PR reviews, hiring, and coordinating with other teams. I also contribute code when I have time!

What’s been the most surprising thing about Stytch?

I’m surprised at how fast we have been able to grow. We’re able to get a lot more done with 25+ than we were with 6!

Stytch has gone from 0-1 in the last year, what have been some of your biggest learnings about joining an early stage company?

There’s a lot of pressure to get things right from the start when building things from scratch. In order to move quickly, we can’t spend weeks on every decision. Our founders introduced a framework where everyone is empowered to make decisions that are highly reversible and low impact (such as copy) without waiting for sign-off from a group while spending more time on more important decisions, like those impacting architecture or security. It’s a helpful framework when prioritizing what you spend your time on. 

What’s your favorite part of the Stytch culture?

I love Stytch’s focus on feedback. We’ve been really intentional about creating multiple feedback channels, including formal reviews, monthly peer feedback, and 1:1s. It’s great that we are constantly flexing the feedback muscle rather than waiting for yearly reviews.

Which Stytch value resonates most with you and why?

I love our core value around trust (Trust like it’s Christmas 1914). I think it’s really important when working with both coworkers and customers to assume they have the best intentions. This is a great framework when approaching a disagreement or miscommunication. I think it also embodies the idea that folks know what the best working environment and hours are for them. We don’t track how long folks are online/in the office – we just care that they are getting their best work done.

What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on at Stytch?

Building our docs from scratch was a fun project. We decided to build in-house rather than use a 3rd party to create a better developer experience. Users can copy code snippets with their API keys pre-filled and update their settings straight from the docs.

How did you end up becoming a software engineer?

I was introduced to CS in high school and ended up taking a few classes in college. I really enjoyed web development, especially focusing on user experience, where I could tangibly see what I was building.

When’s the last time you did something for the first time and what was it?

I learned to golf during quarantine. It was a great way to spend time outside.

What song, hobby, or recipe got you through COVID?

TBH I watched a lot of reality TV during COVID. And I continued to golf!

What’s your ideal weekend?

My ideal weekend would consist of a trip to the farmers market, wine tasting, and/or a day trip to the beach.


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