A series of interviews with Springest’s product development team.
Like all tech companies, at Springest we love our developers. We just can’t get enough of them. If we were a corporate, we would give them a parking space right next to our office entrance. That’s how much we love them. We can’t have enough of them either – we are constantly on the lookout for new hires to enrich our team. We look for a certain set of skills but we also look for a certain mindset. And this mindset can be hard to pinpoint. What is it that makes our developers choose Springest? And what is it that makes Springest choose them?
Buckle up. In this series of interviews I will try and answer those questions.
Ove Danner (30 years old)
Code Jesus, loves obstacles
So Ove. One of our only born and bred Amsterdammers! Have you always had that beard?
Well. I wasn’t born with it.
No of course. I mean, have you had it for long?
Since 2014. I was on vacation in Thailand and didn’t feel like shaving. So it grew, and I realised: this could actually be interesting. So yes, that makes me a trendsetter. A lot of people say “ I can’t have a beard” – but I don’t believe that. You just need to stick through the bad phase. If you want to have a beard: you can. Everyone can.
You sound very positive. Is that why we hired you?
I am not the right person to ask. But I would say that I got hired because I click well with the team. We got along super fast. I stayed for about seven years with my former employer, SRXP. I was sorry to leave my colleagues and I honestly didn’t think I would find that kind of group back so soon. But I did. I am not sure this is the case for all techies, but I need a good vibe and a good team. So that, and you know, I am a decent programmer.
How was trialling?
[Red: If you apply for a position at Springest, you will be invited to come and work with us for a couple of days.] I was pretty impressed by it. I was applying at another company during that period, and I actually gave them the tip to introduce trialing too. Trialing like this offers a real introduction to the team, the work and the company. After my two days here my mind was made up.
More than three months have passed now. What do you think of your onboarding project?
The Springeteer onboarding was set up very well. I had to work my way through different tasks in week one, two, etc. It was super clear. Product onboarding was partly loose in the sense that I was encouraged to have a look around for issues, but it involved deep one-on-one sessions too, to learn the ins & outs of the platform.
I guess those first weeks can be intimidating. With Ruby being newish for me, plus the Holacracy structure that we work with – it was a lot to take in. How you deal with that depends on what type of person you are. You will find yourself thrown in the deep end for a bit. If you take the time to figure things out and you’re not scared of being a little adventurous, then you’ll be fine.
This also applies to trialing. I chose to work on an issue that turned out to be a lot more complex than it appeared – a total rabbit hole. In a situation like that, you just need to not freak out; that is how you learn and improve. It introduced me to a lot of aspects of the code base – so that was good. What also helped is the fact that the team here gives you time to figure things out. If they would all be looking over your shoulder, checking on your progress – that would be somewhat annoying.
So after making your way back up out of the rabbit hole… How would you describe our codebase?
It’s an application that has been around for a while. That means I need to understand its logic. It’s part of being a developer and working in a system that was built by others.
In general I think it is well-structured. It makes sense to me. When I need to work on a certain feature, I know where to look.
I also need to adapt to Ruby, which is our back-end language. It’s a language that I’m not very experienced in yet. But it is one of the reasons I applied at Springest. Ruby is very accessible and it allows you to express things in a natural way. Plus, the Ruby community is big and buzzing so you don’t need to continuously reinvent the wheel.
About that team… Who is most likely to be hacker by night?
Mark, of course.
Of course. And you? Have you ever considered another career?
My father is a doctor, so I considered being one for quite some time. But then I got curiously injured by broken glass when I was a teenager. There was blood and chilli sauce everywhere. I nearly fainted. So I had to redirect my ambitions. Another job I can imagine myself doing is Product Owner. I think I’d be good at making technical aspects understandable, to be the connection between developers and non-developers.
I hear a lot about connection and team playing. What do you do in your free time? Scouting?
No! I have a girlfriend who requires a lot of my time. Don’t write that down. And I love sports: tracking, working out, obstacle courses, running for miles through the forest. I love it.
Obstacles, beards, the codebase, the trialing – you like a challenge!
Sure. But what I like most is working with people. Giving input, meeting, talking, making sure we function as a team. That is what matters most to me.
I am starting to understand you. Let’s move on to one of your colleagues who is still a total mystery to me: Jorge. [Red: Jorge’s interview will follow soon]