At Punch Through, we encourage everyone to proudly be themselves and want you to know the people behind the work that we’re so proud of. That’s why we launched our “Meet the Team” series, where we introduce you to one of our team members each month.
Chee Yi (two words in his first name!) is a Mobile Software Engineer who specializes in Android and iOS. Think of him as the matchmaker and relationship therapist between Bluetooth and mobile devices—he ties the knot and keeps things going. In his free time, Chee Yi likes to travel, play video games, practice photography, and loves to experience food from different cultures with his wife.
What were you doing before working at Punch Through?
I studied at the University of Minnesota as an international student. I graduated with a Computer Engineering degree because I was equally fascinated by both hardware and software aspects of engineering. After college, I joined a major travel company as an iOS engineer.
I worked in a small remote office out of downtown Minneapolis, collaborating with the bigger offices on the company’s flagship iOS app. The vibes were very corporate-y, and eventually, our office closed due to cost-cutting. I was offered the option to relocate, but I wasn’t ready to move out of the Twin Cities, so I looked for other iOS jobs and found Punch Through. That was May 2017.
What is your favorite thing about Punch Through culture?
My favorite thing about the Punch Through culture is it’s a family that is completely non-political. We’ve built an impressive culture of kinship, trust, and empowerment that’s so endearing, and hard to find elsewhere. Everyone knows everyone, and here, the President of the company makes omelets for you every other Monday!
The team is so tightly-knit. Whenever possible, Punch Through does away with anonymity, not to threaten exposure, but to encourage frank and open conversations. If someone on the team is unhappy about something, the expectation and also reality is that they’ll bring it up immediately. The short feedback loop has been really instrumental in building a culture that is completely empowering. Oh, and we also have custom Slack emojis for most people on the team 🙂
Tell me a story about your most memorable moment while working at Punch Through
My experience learning Android development definitely takes the cake here. Prior to joining Punch Through, I only ever worked with iOS. After joining, Matt, my manager at the time, thought it’d be cool for us to start building some sort of expertise in Android around Android BLE, so I took it upon myself to learn from scratch.
The fruit of my efforts ended up being our flagship LightBlue® app on Android. To this day, I’m still very proud of it and we’re still working to make continuous iterative improvements.
What cool or rewarding things to do you get to do on a regular basis?
Coming from my prior experience working in a big corporation, focusing on just a single product for close to 2 years, working in a small engineering/design services company like Punch Through means that I get to work on different projects for different clients quite regularly. I’m also able to focus on internal projects like our flagship LightBlue® app between client work.
Ultimately, this translates into a lot of experience and growth working on different hardware and technologies, not to mention working with teams of different sizes located in countries all over the world. Instead of just the depth aspect of learning, I also get to enjoy the breadth aspect of diverse projects. I couldn’t ask for anything better!
What is the most valuable part of your work to you on a personal level?
I think the most valuable part of my work is knowing that I’ve made an impact on something that matters. It’s the satisfaction I get from helping our clients solve problems, and building the products they want. Seeing those products being manufactured, used by real people, or just seeing my code being used in production makes me swell with pride.
What is different about Punch Through versus other places you have worked?
Punch Through really empowers its employees, there’s a culture built around trust and accountability that you simply can’t find in bigger companies. Engineers own their work. If you’re on a project and decide to implement things, it’s easier to consult your peers and make things happen at Punch Through. This also means that when you make a mistake, you’ll learn from it first-hand.
We’re also empowered to communicate with clients directly when it comes to technical conversations. This has really helped me build confidence in myself and in what we’re doing. We’re the experts in Bluetooth. Period.
Interested in Learning More?
To meet more of the Punch Through Team, check out these interviews:
Meet the Team – Karel Kalthoff – Firmware/Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Louis Barrett – Engineering Intern, Summer 2019
Meet the Team – Erin Moore – Hiring Coordinator and Office Manager
Meet the Team – Alec Letourneau – Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Andy Lee – Senior Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Amanda Nguyen – Embedded Engineer
Meet the Team – Gretchen Walker – Mobile Software Engineer
Meet the Team – Charlie Kellerman – Hardware Engineer
About the Blog Series…
Great culture builds great products. Some of the ways culture is expressed at Punch Through are through authenticity, autonomy, and experience. The individuals at Punch Through not only build great products, but they are the culture. The individual team members aren’t defined by their past or title. They’re encouraged to be true to themselves, learn from each other, and grow professionally and personally.
It’s essential to get to know the people behind the projects and to understand how culture plays a vital role in everything we do. To help get inside the heads of the genius behind the brand, we’re launching a “Meet the Team” blog post series. Each post will feature one of our talented team members where you can get to know them on a bit more personal level, and see how their contributions make Punch Through what it is today.