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Employee Spotlight

Employee Spotlight: Lena Chretien

What initially attracted you to Jellyfish and motivated you to join the Data Science Team? 

Back in Sep 2021, I had just recently left my position as an Assistant Professor of Physical Oceanography and I was nervous about the leap into working outside of academia. While finishing work with a Data Science Bootcamp, I was approached by a recruiter who introduced me to Jellyfish. I had no idea what this company did initially, but I was instantly drawn to the open-ended problems the Jellyfish Research Team was working on. One of the big motivations to join Jellyfish was that I met the entire team during the interviews; all of them were laid back, approachable, and interesting, and four of them (then, a team of 5 people!) also came from academia. They helped me navigate the challenges I faced from academia into a tech startup. In addition, I knew I would still be working in a field that was (and still is) largely unknown, undiscovered, and always changing, which is something I loved about academia. 

Can you share a memorable experience/project highlighting why you enjoy working here?

It is hard to name just one! I thrive when working on ill-defined questions, ambiguous tasks, and open-ended problems… which is exactly the kind of space the Research Team works in. Trying to figure out what problem is important enough to spend effort on, how far to take it when to put it aside for something else, and how to communicate this is what I enjoy the most. At the same time there is space to sink your teeth into a problem and spend significant time on it, as well. I enjoy the mix of fast-moving startup culture and slow-paced research.

A fun project that I was able to spend time on was around the idea of “Workflow.” How can we quantitatively describe different types of Workflow? What is healthy/unhealthy, productive/unproductive etc? Defining this problem and developing a mathematical solution using Jellyfish data took a while. Now that we have that, I can use this solution to nail down some definitions and more explore this space. An ongoing research project with no real end, very ambiguous and ill-defined, and a lot of fun!

How does Jellyfish encourage innovation and creativity in your role, and how does that make your work more fun?

Innovation and creativity are big parts of Research, helping solve big ideas that are often complex and novel. Creativity is needed to approach these problems from different angles, think outside the box, and produce innovative ideas and insights. In the team, we often spend time face-to-face brainstorming, bouncing ideas, and trying to think outside the box without limiting ourselves to what we already do or know. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you do that! 

While this kind of work is normal in my position, we foster creativity outside the Science and Innovation Tank by holding Journal Clubs as a team and brainstorming and demo sessions. Often, we end by discussing “Where in Jellyfish might this approach be useful?” or “Could this be a method that can be used for a specific problem?” “what other approaches should we consider?”.

It is fun to think about problems outside your expertise. It gives you a chance to see different angles on the same question, which is essential to creativity and innovation.

What do you think sets Jellyfish apart from others in the Tech Industry?

While my experience here is limited,  one of the biggest differences is the company’s emphasis on its people; giving everybody flexibility and freedom to take care of themselves and their lives outside of work.

In addition, everybody is always interested in the work of others. People will take time to learn more about other functions, you can ping somebody to get in touch, or ask a question, or chat, etc., you want to ask a question? You can! Do you want a coffee break or chat with a co-founder/Manager/colleague? You absolutely can. Everybody is transparent, interested, and happy to chat about anything,  including the founders!

What would it be if you had to sum up why you like working at Jellyfish in one sentence?

I like working on the Research Team at Jellyfish because we are thinking about the things nobody else is thinking about, which means working in a never-ending, open-ended space of questions and possibilities, which we approach with a group of people with diverse backgrounds and ideas that are out of the box, new, and exciting, without being rigid in our process and while having fun.

If you want to work with colleagues like Lena, check out our careers page! Jellyfish is growing rapidly across all functions, and we will continue to need many great people to help realize our vision.