Sense Home Energy Monitor
Interns at Sense

Interns at Sense

Our interns – Jennifer, Rachel & Brandon – are finishing up their six month co-ops here at Sense, and have provided some insight on their experience.

Our interns – Jennifer, Rachel & Brandon – are finishing up their six month co-ops here at Sense, and have provided some insight on their experience.

Jennifer Rigby – Marketing & Public Relations

What are your key tasks?

As Sense is a startup company, I am responsible for a number of tasks that require several different skill sets. As the Digital Marketing Analyst Intern, I develop weekly customer acquisition cost (CAC) reports to analyze the cost of digital marketing spend in relation to the number of product orders. Because we are interested in minimizing CAC, our marketing efforts reflect this weekly number. For example, if CAC is really high that week, we want to sell more units; therefore, we will ramp up our marketing efforts in an attempt to drive sales. So, in addition to analyzing weekly ad spend, sales data, and CAC, I am responsible for implementing marketing efforts such as email marketing campaigns, blog content curation, and providing prompt customer support to inquiring potential customers. Finally, in an effort to better understand our customers and target market, I conduct market research via customer surveys. These surveys ask carefully crafted questions that help us get a better understanding of who is interested in Sense. We use this information to message and market our product accordingly.

What’s the most fun part of your job?

Working for a startup company has allowed me to manage several projects. Instead of being “just an intern,” I am responsible for developing reports, researching growth opportunities, and editing content that will launch publicly on our blog. I am not micromanaged – I am responsible for myself and my work, which is a very liberating feeling.

What’s challenging?

At a large corporation, there are very regimented training procedures and materials. At a startup, much of the knowledge is self-taught. In hindsight, I believe this contributed to my personal growth, but I did find it initially challenging.

What’s your proudest accomplishment from your internship at Sense?

One of my first projects upon arriving at Sense was to create the CAC report from scratch. My CAC reports are now used to communicate with our Board of Directors. I like knowing that something I create can be so influential in how we guide our marketing efforts.

Rachel van Heteren – Marketing & Public Relations

What are your key tasks?

I handle a lot of content work. This means that I help put together email marketing campaigns, as well as write and edit blog posts and produce short video content for the blog. I also run Sense’s Twitter and Reddit accounts. Those are the ongoing tasks, but a lot of other projects pop up over time. The other month I worked on some user research for Sense’s upcoming solar-compatible product.

What’s the most fun part of your job?

I like the flexibility that comes from working with a startup. The list of items that fall under my job description is always growing and changing, so it’s really difficult to get bored.

What’s challenging?

Having a flexible job description is sort of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I get to try new things, but on the other hand, I have to try new things! I definitely get pushed out of my comfort zone. When I did user research to see what homeowners with solar would want from a solar compatible Sense, I had to call a lot of strangers on the phone, which isn’t something I would ever volunteer to do. Happily, now I can say that I’m at least pretty comfortable talking on the phone with people I don’t know.

What’s your proudest accomplishment from your internship at Sense?

I think the Sense installation video, which shows how a Sense monitor is installed in an electrical panel. While I didn’t film it myself, writing the script, sourcing a production team, coordinating props and shoot days, and auditioning and hiring a voice actor made the project a really tough beast to tackle. But ultimately, it resulted in a product I can be proud of, that I hope Sense will be able to use as a resource for a long time to come.

Brandon Robinson – Device Discovery & Customer Support

What are your key tasks?

I am in charge of the later stages of device discovery that happen at Sense. In other words, I take uncorrelated device elements and correlate them based on what we know about how the devices behave. Ultimately, when I “discover” a device, it means that a new device gets identified in your app.

I am also in charge of monitoring the customer support line to make sure that problems can be addressed as they arise.

What’s the most fun part of your job?

I really enjoy the device discovery process as it is very similar to solving a puzzle. Learning how all these devices behave and work is the most fun part of my job. I get a great feeling of accomplishment when I am able to find a device that we haven’t before, like a printer.

What’s challenging?

The most challenging part of my job is trying to figure out the best way to solve customers’ problems. I am not used to asking people for help, however, in the first month or so I had to ask for help a lot while answering support tickets. This was really hard for me to get used to, but I have since realized that asking for help is the best way to learn something if you don’t know how best to go about finding a solution in the first place.

What’s your proudest accomplishment from your internship at Sense?

Out of all the odd jobs that I have done for this company, by far my proudest accomplishment was when I successfully took over part of the device discovery process. I was nervous at first that I wouldn’t do a good job with such a complex analytical process. However, as time went on, I became more confident in my abilities.

I’m also proud of the amount that I have learned. Thinking back on how confused and overwhelmed I felt at the very beginning, I realize that I have learned so much in my time here at Sense. I’ll definitely have a leg up when get back to school and start taking electronics classes–I’ve learned a lot about motors and circuits.