Table of Contents
- What’s next
- What I’m good at
- What’s important to me
- What I would love to do
It’s been quite a ride, the last four years.
Almost exactly four years ago, on the 14th of January 2013, I met Oliver Vins at #wmfra. He was not one to overlook, as he wore a bright yellow T-Shirt proclaiming that he and his co-founders were looking for a CTO to join their, then-to-be-founded, startup vaamo.
On that evening I never expected to actually work with them, much less spend the longest time yet at a job, at that company, with Oliver and Thomas (the other co-founder).
Still, that’s what happened and looking back, it was one of the best decisions
I’ve made in my life.
For the last four years I’ve been the CTO of vaamo. In that role I’ve been privileged to work with the brightest, kindest and most awesome people I’ve ever met and worked with. Together we’ve built a robust and scalable company and product, while never losing our kindness and respect for the fact that we’re all humans. I’m incredibly proud to have helped shape a company and culture that keeps on delivering with a sense of calmness and humanity.
Looking back it was my first “real” management job, and I’m incredibly lucky and happy that Thomas and Oliver trusted me and gave me the opportunity to be part of and shape that roller-coaster-ride that is a technology startup.
Then again, after such a long time (long for me) I feel it’s time to do something different. And so: I’m open for new roles and opportunities in the next months.
Currently I’m quite open about where I am going next. Freelance or permanent position. Both is possible.
I can imagine to join a company in a permanent role, and I think some of the below described aspired roles, are likely only available in permanent positions.
Then again, when it comes to company culture and degrees of freedom offered in a position, vaamo set a very high bar for any future job of mine. So I can imagine to take on freelance/contract work for the foreseeable future, if a fitting permanent role is not in sight.
All that said: Contact me if you think my skills and strengths could help you. Whether it’s freelance work or a permanent position, we’ll work out the details while talking.
What I’m good at
Technology-wise I’ve always been and still am a generalist. I’ve worked on a wide range of products, in different roles and several industries. I have strong opinions, that are weakly held, about how to do Frontend as well as Backend development, and also how to operate software in production.
Through my more than 15 years experience in tech, I’ve acquired the ability to quickly and intuitively grasp a breadth of situations and can usually assess ways to move forward reliably. This served me especially well, in roles where I was at the intersection of tech and business, which roughly was the last eight years of my career.
And just to be clear: Yes, I can code. And I still code. That is, if you’re looking for a very experienced developer, who contributes code and goes beyond, then let’s talk.
People first, all else will follow.
I care about people. I care about people to bring their best self to work, if they choose to. I care that every person in a team is able to contribute according to their strengths. I care about helping people grow, be it their career and skills, their contentment, their happiness or whatever they choose.
Also I’m good at listening. To what peers and customers are saying, then tailoring solutions to their actual needs. That usually means I bring people together, facilitate discussions and help people reach meaningful conclusions and decisions.
What’s important to me
I believe, one of the reasons I consider myself “good” at working with people is, that the people I work with are important to me.
That means, I’ll patiently point it out, whenever you use the word “resource” when you’re actually talking about a group of people. So, when you see people only as a means to get a job done, and not as the actual goal, then we’re probably not a good fit. If it’s not in your genuine interest to make the life’s of those around you better, then we’ll probably not work together for long.
Freedom to choose time & place to work
I’m a dad to two wonderful children, and a husband to an amazing teacher and school vice-principal. That means I got responsibilities, in addition to my professional work. In order to fulfil my duties and responsibilities adequately, I need a certain degree of freedom when it comes to where and when I do my work.
In addition to that: The centre of our life is Frankfurt, and I’m not willing to change this. So in order for us to work together you must either be in the Frankfurt/Rhein-Main region, or be ok with me working remotely most of the time.
I think the tech industry is broken with regards to, how it knowingly (and unknowingly) excludes larger groups of people, based on stereotypes, biases and seemingly “best practices”.
This does not mean, I don’t want to work with you, if your code fails the Bechdel-Test. Rather it’s important to me, that people I work with are willing to reflect their own behaviour critically, and how they might be part in excluding people. And in the end change that behaviour.
What I would love to do
One of the greatest joys in the last years was my work to build a team, to find people to join the team and work with all of them to make it the best team they can imagine.
And I’d love to help others do similar things. That means, working on the intersection of HR and tech. Helping grow scalable teams. By finding and hiring the right talent and helping to shape meaningful practices and team culture. A culture that not only puts the people’s talent to their best use, but also makes it the best place to work for the people on the team.
I can imagine doing this in a supporting role, as a consultant. And I can imagine making this my main focus of my work at a company, that’s growing its team and wants to ensure the longevity of its measures.
Tech Evangelism, Developer Relations
Through my work at vaamo and my involvement in several communities, before and while being CTO, I’ve really enjoyed bringing people together. The actual team at vaamo of course, but also reaching out to people outside the company, connecting with a broad range of communities. Putting together groups that as a whole are better than their sum of its parts. Most of the time while doing that, bringing together such groups, I’ve observed the side-effect that people discover new ways to grow, that have been unknown to them before.
And while I haven’t held a position like Developer Relations and activities such as Evangelism/Advocacy/etc were only a small part of what I did as vaamo’s CTO, I enjoyed this part of the work immensely.
That’s why I’d be excited to help a company or team reach out to and become a part of the wider tech community (or a specific subgroup).
If you’ve made it here, you seem to be really interested in what I do. Come on,
reach out, write an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or ping
@benjamin on twitter.
Whether it’s freelance work or a permanent position, we’ll work out the details while talking.