Today Brooke Stevenson ‘01, the CEO of Spry, talked to us briefly about what the company is and how it operates. She was very kind and welcoming, which was indicative of the general office environment we would later encounter. Afterwards, Christina (who stayed with us the entire time) began teaching us basics on how the company operates and the querying language that it uses. Tristan, a recent Princeton graduate, later joined her. He had a lot of good insight on the differences between our college and post-graduate experience, notably the changes in expectations for work and the type of knowledge that is actually applied to the real world. We spent most of the day learning about the database, Knoodl, that they had constructed to interpret the language of semantics that is Spry’s trademark.
Day 2 – 3/20
Now that we were briefed on the basics, today was more in depth. Having a stronger background on what the company itself does, we began to dive into more technical details of the languages and methods they use. The atmosphere of the office became more apparent, and I began to appreciate the casual workplace demeanor. We got to talk to a lot of the employees about how they operate on a day-to-day basis, which was very helpful. In particular, a lot of the advice we got was related to our future and the key differences between the college and workplace experience. Towards the end of the day, we talked to two very recent Princeton graduates from Revelytix (a company that frequently collaborates with Spry) and their take on post-college life.
Day 3 – 3/21
We finally got to dive in and really explore the tools that employees of Spry use regularly, especially in the analytics department. Christina continued to guide us as we did more work in Knoodl as well as Sparql, a relational database query language that Spry often uses. We even got to apply some of these queries to a project that Spry was working on, to see how they are implemented. Toward the end of the day, Andy, the director of analytics, came in and talked to us about the advantages of working at a small start-up like Spry as opposed to the government. His knowledge and advice was very credible and valuable, and his military background allowed him to give us a good perspective on the value of places like Spry. Brooke bid us farewell and we went on our way, content with what we had learned about the company and the start-up environment in general.