Once the Hacker Fellow bootcamp came to an end, I prepared to spend my summer at StockX. Like most people starting a new position in this industry, I was nervous my technical skills would not be on par with what was expected of me. But what worried me more was the fear of not fitting in. StockX, as it functions currently, is mainly a platform for buying and selling exclusive sneakers and clothing. It's a fairly simple business equation.
A new item is announced, social media builds anticipation and excitement (or "Hype" as we call it in the professional world) before release, item releases on retailers website and sells out in minutes, and then the item resells for multiple times its retail price on StockX. Scarcity + Hype = higher resale price and prestige for the owner. Basic sneaker economics! All of this boils down to me, a socially awkward, broke college student who happens to care way too much about appearance, absolutely convinced I was going to be the least cool person in the company. Queue my downward online shopping spiral.
Before my first week I purchased my first pair of shoes from StockX. Nothing too expensive but definitely more than I should have spent on a shoes while being in between jobs. On the first day at my new internship, looking around and seeing shoes that cost more than any paycheck I have ever received, I thought to myself “I’m going to need to step up my game." I then spent around $400 on 3 pairs of shoes, two shirts, and a few other unfortunate purchases. I realized I needed to stop when I spent close to $40 on a Supreme keychain because a kid sitting next to me told me I could resell it for double. As I held that tiny useless blob of plastic that I bought for what would equate to over two hours of my paycheck, I decided maybe I was not making the best decisions.
I began to really pay attention to the people around me. Not just the people wearing the $1500 shoes, but the people I talk to everyday: my team lead or the interns sitting next to me. I saw that I was trying to fit in with a group of people with which I would almost never interact. It was not that the team I was on did not like sneakers or streetwear, some of them definitely did, but some of them definitely didn't mind. All the people on the team just wore what they liked and did not really care what everyone around them thought of it.
I was so caught up with trying to wear the right clothes to fit in, I did not realize that it only mattered to me. Moving forward from there, I was able to focus a lot more on the work I was doing and making sure I was putting my best foot forward professionally rather than culturally.
My financial missteps aside, I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of this company. As my last week here comes to an end, my summer project is getting deployed into production. My intern experience here was not what I expected it to in the slightest, but I don’t think it could have gone better.
I was basically told learn a completely new set of technologies and use that to complete this project, we are here if you have questions. Hitting every single pain point and doing everything the wrong way, really makes you appreciate and remember the better solution once it is found.
With minimal assistance, two other interns and I were able to use tools we had no prior knowledge to make a fully functional product that will be used by the company. That kind of experience is invaluable.
Also, I got to wear the Cavs championship ring. That was pretty cool too.
Matt Maple, 2018 Hacker Fellows Intern, is completing his degree in Computer Science at Michigan State University. He is working with StockX for Summer 2018.