Our Head of Product shares his journey from an interest in technology as a young child over two sabbaticals to guiding product development at gridX.
Back to the roots
I was intrigued by technology at a very young age. My grandpa had a big box of electronic devices that I disassembled just for fun when I visited. After my visit he put them back together for my next visit. I was about 5 or 6 years old then. After I got my first (second-hand) commodore 64, things “escalated” quite quickly. In the end, I studied embedded systems and have worked for different tech companies since.
It’s not just IT and electronics that I am interested in. I like to build, restore, maintain vintage cars as well, getting my hands dirty and doing some mechanical work.
Finding the perfect fit
After having a first glance at Information Science, I decided to switch to electronics – embedded systems. In my first job, I developed a modular hardware platform for diode laser drivers. When I had finished my bachelor’s degree and worked full time for six years, I took my first sabbatical to travel. Having worked for a small company with 15 employees, I wanted to see what the corporate world was all about. I joined a bigger company as an electronics system engineer, developing the technical framework for a high-end sliding door operator and managing the product development side of the project. Following yet another sabbatical, I started my hunt for a new company to join. After working in research and at a big corporation, I actively decided to join a startup. By ruling out things like e-commerce and automotive, my search narrowed down to gridX astonishingly fast.
From vision to product
As Head of Product at gridX I work with a great team of product and solution managers, product owners, product designers and tech writers to make the company's vision happen. Translating a vision into a strategy, strategy into features and features into product increments is what it's all about in the product team. Therefore, it is of key importance to fully understand where we want to go, what customers we want to onboard and how to align all of that with our technical infrastructure.
I joined gridX as the first dedicated Product Owner. Until then that job was covered by the tech leads. The promotion to Head of Product was a major step for me personally, but being part of such a high performing and motivated company is what makes me grow most.
Aligning values and work culture
The gridX culture is open, easy and direct. I think that's even something I put in my resume as some of my personal values and is something we should cherish. The motivation and pace with which we “get shit done” sets us apart. We all want to have an impact, make the world a better place and contribute to that every day. There are no double agendas, we are all targeting the same goals. Working for a high-tech company, in combination with the social aspect – interacting with customers and colleagues – are my favourite aspects of the company and my job.
Challenges and benefits of working remotely
It became clear to me soon after the start of the initial lockdown that the output of our teams was as high as before. For me, the benefits of working remotely would lie in the combination of remote and office work. Doing some heads-down work is far more efficient at home and saving travel time improves work-life balance significantly. It is challenging, however, to keep creative aspects of our job at a high level when working remotely. Sometimes, working together on a flip chart or brainstorming over a beer really does make sense. That’s why I'm really… REALLY looking forward to meeting up at the office again. That being said, our beer tastings are an absolute highlight and are here to stay at gridX, either virtual or physical!