Responsibility and change are his fuel. Meet Mateusz
Mateusz is one of the first-ever bright team members. He started his bright career as an iOS Developer transforming over the years into Tech Leader. Mateusz loves working with startups that deal with scalability. The status quo is not for him. So what do work for him? Read the interview to find out!
From which technologies did you start your programming adventure?
I started to code in high school. My first language was C99, so you can see it was over a decade ago. 😉 I was learning in a quite old fashioned way. I got a book and tried to do every exercise from it on my computer.
Then I started to learn C# during my Computer Science studies at the Gdańsk University of Technology. Back then I started my first internship in a corporation which turned into a part-time job. That was my first serious job. I worked there for 18 months.
In the meantime I was diving into iOS development, learning Objective-C.
Why did you start to learn iOS development?
It all started because I decided to participate in the AppCamp competition. Contestants had to create their own iOS app from scratch. I had to pitch an idea for a healthcare app in front of the jury. Then they chose the apps with the greatest business potential. My idea was included so I had a chance to build my first app and launch it on the App Store. That was quite a big deal for me.
That was the first time when I really had a taste of mixing software development with business. I had to come up with ideas, goals and the code obviously. The only help I had was from a graphic designer.
As a finalist I got a Macbook, on which I developed and launched my healthcare app, which obviously sped up my iOS development learning process. And helped me to change my job and get where I am – to Bright Inventions. 🙂
So how was it to join a small company from an international corporation?
During my master studies my lecturer Tomasz Dziubich from the Gdańsk University of Technology recommended me to Bright Inventions. And that is how I came to Bright. I was so silly back then. I came to Bright office and I was thinking that I was coming there to have a tour of the office. Obviously, when I came there I had a technical interview. Imagine my surprise. 😉 I felt so not ready for it.
Nevertheless, I was offered a job. So I came to Bright Inventions and left the corporate world behind. All of my friends and family warned me not to do it. Everyone was telling me that I should stay where I was – with a full-time contract offer at a steady company, with an established brand. Corporations have lots of advantages and stability is on top of them. I needed something different though and decided to take that risk.
It turned out that I got lucky. I came to Bright as one of the first employees. Our team consisted of 5 people back then. I was learning there like crazy. I was bombarded with knowledge. The company was small so Michał had time and opportunities to teach me a lot. I learned 10 times faster than at the previous job. What was awesome was the lack of processes and procedures. Nothing stopped me from doing my job. I liked that. I don’t claim that the corporate world is bad. It works for tons of people. It has lots of advantages. It just wasn’t for me.
You are an iOS Developer who turned into Technical Leader & Project Manager. What made you move your career in that direction?
It came quite naturally. There wasn’t any meeting that established my new role. It was a natural outcome and effect of the company's growth. I always liked to take responsibility and initiative. So when we started recruiting new people, there was a natural need for a leader to be established. Someone who knew the processes, company best practices and was not afraid to lead the way.
I should mention that after graduating from Computer Science Studies I decided to do a Master’s Degree in Management at the Gdańsk University of Technology. These studies gave me some theoretical knowledge that I could confront with my practical work as a PM at Bright Inventions.
Firstly, I became a technical leader at Bright mostly maintaining relations with clients. Then my role evolved. Now I focus on choosing the right technologies and solutions for clients matching their business objectives. As a result, I code less than I used to.
Looking back I appreciate the fact that despite being an iOS developer I had opportunities at Bright to work on backend (Spring, Node.js) and Android applications as well. Even though that weren’t my specialities it now helps me to manage projects. I am aware of the challenges programmers have even if they use a different stack than I. It is important for me to be up-to-date with other technologies than iOS development as much as it is possible.
What projects do you manage now?
Currently, I take care of 3 projects at Bright Inventions. One of them is Relevo – an iOS and Android application from a German startup. Thanks to Relevo app users can get their food from restaurants in a resuable eco-friendly tableware. We take care of the infrastructure, the backend application, web-apps for restaurants, and mobile applications for restaurant clients.
Another project is AccesSOS, it’s a PWA application for placing emergency calls for people with speaking or hearing disabilities that will be launched soon in the USA.
I also work with a USA startup Luna, where we build a complete communication platform based on the network of Bluetooth devices. That is a fascinating yet complex project. I believe that it can revolutionize the way we use Bluetooth technology.
Do you prefer to work with startups or bigger organizations?
I like to work with startups but from time to time I enjoy having a break to work with corporations. I love changes and stepping out of my comfort zone. Really. I know that many people claim that, but that is really my gem. I like to regularly change my tools, browsers, libraries etc. I feel the need to deal with something new, so I won't get stuck in the status quo.
I have a soft spot for startups for other reasons than you might think. Many developers love working on startup projects because they thrive on greenfield. You can choose your stack. You don’t have technological debt. You don’t worry about backward compatibility. Nothing is holding you back.
It is not my reason though. 😉
So why do you prefer working with startups? What is your reason?
I love working with startups especially after they successfully launch MVP. Because then the real challenge approaches. Your solution has users now and you hold responsibility for them. Often, startups struggle to deal with their users' growth. Due to the fact that the rise of users is followed by a strong possibility of system overload.
So here we come to the real test of architecture and infrastructure scalability that every startup has to pass. What is essential at this stage is well-configured monitoring that controls system overload and informs us about emerging threads.
Imagine that your app has been getting fastly new users and also has been affected by peak hours. Let’s say that this is an app for ordering food. So naturally, the peak will be during lunchtime and the late hours on weekends. If you made wrong architectural decisions, and didn’t properly configure the monitoring tool, your app could fail because of your success. Our job is to prevent that and help clients build the product which will be growing with its users.
At the same time, we need to remember that this is an early stage of business. So software developers still need to find the most efficient ways to minimalise infrastructure costs and workload on them. High fixed costs for infrastructure could significantly slow business development.
I believe that we as software developers cannot guarantee that the product will be a success but we can easily make it a failure. So it's all about understanding the responsibility and making choices that will enable a business to grow. I love that about software development. I love that pressure, responsibility and high stake. I can find all of that while working with startups.
What activities do you enjoy after hours?
I spend most of my free time with my family. Also, I listen to lots of podcasts and enjoy reading fantasy books. If I have some time (which is difficult with 2 kids in the house), I play some console games. I am quite passionate about the startup scene, but I also like to observe big tech and innovators in action. I won’t say ‘no’ to board games like many people at Bright Inventions.
Ok, so tell me what podcast do you recommend for tech leaders and startup enthusiasts?
Definitely, my favourite one is Polish podcast “Design Your Life” on the careers of extraordinary people, building businesses, and the startup scene. From non-polish podcasts, I can recommend “Acquired” which presents stories about leading companies and tech giants.