Miodrag (or Miki - that's how we call him) is one of our great Senior Software Engineers. At Capmo, he works in a team called “Task and Documentation” and makes sure that an amazing user experience is provided to our users.
Miki joined us at a very early stage of the company more than four years ago, making him perfect for sharing his thoughts about working at Capmo! So let's see what he has to tell us!
Why working at Capmo is special
We, humans, pursue meaningful lives, and the more responsibility we take on, the more meaning our lives have. That is super important to have in mind when picking a workplace. We spend a considerable chunk of our time working, so we better make sure it is worthwhile. When a workday is over, you really want to feel fulfilled and satisfied; otherwise, you can find yourself in a tough spot. And Capmo has been an excellent place for finding meaningful work.
I always find it fascinating during interviews how our candidates' eyes light up when they ask about how our work is organized and how decisions are made, and we tell them that new engineers would join one of our teams, and each team would set their own quarterly goals aligned with our company strategy, and they, together with their team will make their own decisions on how to accomplish the previously set goals. We have a set of recommendations for various processes, but it is up to you and your team to decide if they make sense for your team to use them or not. Do you want to use scrum? Sure, go ahead. Oh, you think kanban makes more sense? Sure, go ahead. You say you don't like this retro format? Sure, use the one that fits you better. You are not sure how to solve something? No problem, just send a message, and the first available person from a different team will try to help you. Oh, you think that the CTO is doing something wrong? Go ahead and provide direct, candid feedback. If the argument is sound, based on the current experience, he will gladly adopt it. If the argument is not valid, he will thank you for reaching out anyway. Do you think this pipeline can be optimized? Again, present your arguments; others will challenge them, and if the idea still holds, go ahead and do it. You say you want to improve your knowledge on specific topics? Fantastic, let's see how we get you there.
Not only do you have all the freedom to be proactive and make decisions, but it is expected of you to do so. As long as we continuously deliver value for our customers within our company's expectations, everyone will be thrilled. But what if I make a mistake? Again, no problem. When people are ambitious and bold, it is natural that some mistakes are made. We will sit down, reflect and try to find learnings so that we can avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Really, in this kind of environment, it is tough not to grow and learn.
What made me choose Capmo
So the story goes something like this. I had just finished my internship at University, and I was about to graduate and ready to move to Canada. Well, that was the idea at the time. Then literally, on the first day of my last semester, I received an email from a German guy who asked me if I would like to consider joining him and his team on a quest to digitalize the construction industry. We exchanged a couple of emails over the next few days. At first, I was like, "Nah, the construction industry doesn’t sound that sexy, and I have other things to do now. Canada is awaiting me", but I started finding his attitude and energy in these emails quite compelling. I was thinking about the opportunity, and eventually, I agreed to start the remote, part-time job to see how things would go. By chance, my first day was on my birthday on the 2nd of April, 2018. Not long after my onboarding, I received a message where Florian, our CEO, asked me if I would be willing to come to Munich to meet the rest of the team and participate in setting the new OKRs in person. He said that they would cover the flights and accommodation for two weeks. It would be dumb to say no to that, wouldn't it?!
Ten days later, I was on a flight from Belgrade to Munich. That was my first trip to Germany, ever. After two weeks spent in Munich, I was so blown away by the city, by the drive of the founders, and by the rest of the team, who were super friendly and supportive, that I went back home to Belgrade to get more things that I needed for my new life chapter in Munich.
I literally have dozens of amazing stories to tell about what made me choose and stay at Capmo, but let me pick one that nicely fits the story above.
When I returned to Munich, we struggled to find a flat. They helped me call people and book appointments. Eventually, we managed to find a lovely flat for me. The only issue was that it would be available in 3 weeks. I really didn't know what to do in the meanwhile. As still a student, I couldn't afford three weeks in a hotel, so when Florian heard about my struggles, he called someone. After a 5 minutes long call, he smiled at me and told me that he had talked to his parents, and they seemed to have an empty room where I could stay for the next three weeks. I was speechless. He picked me up and drove me to his parent's house that same evening. They were so sweet, they even prepared a nice dinner for me. Soon after he made sure I had everything I needed, he left, and I was there sitting on a bed wondering what the fuck had just happened.
This is just one of many examples that illustrates how much people at Capmo care about each other. And when you are part of such an environment, it is not surprising why people give their blood, sweat, and tears to ensure that our cause/business succeeds.
The time I grew my knowledge the fastest
Years ago, when I was new to the React framework, we hired a guy called Maksym, one of the brightest front-end engineers I have ever met. He had worked with React almost since the day it was launched, which gave him deep domain knowledge. At the same time, my React experience was limited to only a few short months, but naively I thought I had figured it out. I was thrilled to open PRs and assign Maksym to review them, expecting to see the approved label right away because, well, my code should be spotless, no?! In the end, I have been spending the last few months working with React; shouldn't I be nailing these things?! Oh, boy, was I wrong. Almost every PR would have more code suggestions and comments than there were actual lines of code. It was super painful seeing my precious code getting torn apart by Maksym. But back then, I wasn't aware of how lucky I was to have Maksym taking his time to give me suggestions on how I could improve things. He would go extra steps to explain the "why" behind each suggestion. He would stop by my work desk and say, "Hey, Miki, let me talk to you about something," Then, I would receive 15-20 minutes long explanations on various technical topics. Often, I would disagree with him and challenge him with many dumb questions in a row, which would annoy him; he struggled, but he always found a way to teach me.
The next few months were going back and forth like this. It was pretty painful for me, but that was probably the time when I was growing the fastest as an engineer. And that experience has taught me to be humble about my knowledge. Not surprisingly, soon after that, I got my first promotion. I transitioned from my junior role to a mid-level position.