Know Your Knockstars: Joe Shehata

KNOCK, KNOCK

  • His position: Engineering Manager – Web
  • His hometown: Saint Louis, MO
  • His favorite Knock market: Atlanta since it’s our first one
  • His favorite style home: Contemporary
  • His favorite home upgrade: Outdoor patio and living space
  • His best skill: Problem solving

COME ON IN

What is your role at Knock?

I manage a team of five frontend engineers – frontend engineers get to build products that our customers actually touch and feel, like our website or mobile app. My team builds products and code, and I have an overarching vision that guides all the projects we have happening within the company. I also aid in removing roadblocks, making sure my team stays on track, and interfacing with other members of the team to keep open lines of communication. I also still do a decent amount of building products, but my day-to-day responsibilities are more focused on management tasks, like recruiting and hiring. Managing people also means I uphold our POPSICLE company culture and inspire my team to keep our company’s mission in mind at all times. We’re a collaborative team so I try to keep work fun and interesting with contests and competitions. At Knock, we believe that strong opinions are important, but that we all need to be open to new ideas, which is what I relay to my team.  

Why did you decide to join Knock?

I came from several startups before and also have my own company, so I’ve always been interested in fast-paced work environments. After I left my last company, I started doing consulting, but before long, I was hungry for a new challenge. Consulting was great and I gained valuable experience, but I wanted to make a bigger impact and do something more exciting. I wanted to be able to live my passion, make a difference, and be part of a positive change in people’s lives. With Knock, I discovered that I could do all of that and more. It’s amazing to see how much of an impact we have on our customers’ lives.

What do you love most about working at Knock?

From an engineering perspective, the way we build software is my favorite thing. A lot of people say they develop in an agile way and iterate, but we actually do it. At Knock, we iterate small and build things in a way that works in the moment to get the idea out there. Then, we build further from there if the project is worth pursuing. We’re very data-driven, and only build things when the numbers show we need to. The Knock Deals website is a great example of our agile environment; it started off as an email to a small number of customers. We asked customers if they were interested in receiving home deals in their area, and they were. After a few iterations, we built the Knock Deals experience we have today. I’ve come from places where we’ve built things that are just thrown away, and that’s not how it works here at Knock. It’s great to see that our efforts are paying off in a positive way.

Aside from that, our company culture is something I really love; we know how to hire the right people. With the right people that share the same values, it’s easier to communicate opinions and thoughts and be collaborative. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Dress for the job you want.” I say “Start doing the job you want.” At Knock, that effort doesn’t go unnoticed.

Many companies lose their best people because they don’t trust their employees. At Knock, you’re empowered to take risks and make mistakes. You are able to shine naturally, and you learn so many things from the amazing people around you. Knock truly gets it. It’s such a refreshing, rewarding place to be. I’m so glad I found Knock.

Knock Deals Experience
Knock Deals Today

What do you find most challenging about working at Knock?

I would say the most challenging thing is scaling. We are a rapidly-growing startup, so of course there are always going to be unforeseen challenges that may arise as you scale quickly. You can prepare as much as possible, but you most likely will still face challenges. Fortunately, we have an awesome leadership team of founders who have built other successful companies, so I trust them to make it work and to continue our success.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on at Knock and how has it impacted our customers’ experience?

My favorite project was a recent one, where we rewrote and redesigned our website’s CMA form. It was a super fun task to work on, because the original form was something I was a part of when I first joined Knock. Since then, we made a few tweaks to it, but we just recently did a complete overhaul. The new CMA form has definitely impacted our customer experience, which is great to see. Our conversions have been up, and it just provides a much better user experience for prospects and customers.

What’s your number one piece of advice for home buyers and sellers?

You may have a checklist of items of things you definitely want or need, but as you keep searching, you’ll find that a single house probably won’t check off every single box. But, that doesn’t mean you should just take it off your list. Sometimes things you think are deal breakers aren’t really deal breakers, so take that into consideration when looking for a new home. I’d also say know your numbers throughout the process. If you are educated about the numbers, you’ll be able to better compare offers on your home, know how much new home you can afford, and determine how much profit you’ll walk away with.

Shehata Family
Joe and his family

What do you like to do in your personal time?

I have two sons who are almost three and almost one, so most of my nights and weekends are spent with family. Knock’s distributed structure makes that easier for me; I don’t live in one of our main markets, so I’m able to work from home 24/7. As far as hobbies go, I’m a drummer, so of course, I like to drum. I also like exercising and going to the gym, watching movies (in the actual movie theater, which is rare these days), and new TV shows. I love anything recreational and active.

Interested in an engineering job or another role within Knock?

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