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Digitec Galaxus d.o.o.


Developing our software while developing a new team


The new year must be exciting for you because you are the first team leader of our new team that is currently in the making. Could you tell us more about the vision behind this Project Development team in Belgrade?

This is the first software development team in Belgrade for Digitec Galaxus. We’re now setting the scene. The team will be international, with two members from Zurich already in. Don’t let the internationality fool you in a direction of total remoteness. We’ll be spending a lot of time together, in person and virtually. I believe that this pandemic took a toll on all of us, and for the team to function properly, the most important thing is the human connection. Once we’re all onboard our company’s development division will count more than 250 devs.

The development scene in Serbia is mature and, in some way standardized. Things are done a way that they’re done because it must be that way or “there is not another way”. I must state it won’t be the approach that we’re taking. We will shake up the norm and make the decisions together that are beneficial for all of us. We have a chance to establish the “new normal” and believe me, we will.

So to conclude I had a great start to a New Year and this feeling won’t be going away. During my years in this industry, ideas were piling in my head, and finally, I have a chance to implement them. As I found out recently, my vision was the reality that the colleagues from Switzerland are already living.

How would you describe the recruitment process, and would you share any tips and tricks for the candidates?

My advice for potential applicants is: “Do not train for the interview and be 100% sincere”. This is a two-sided effort and without both sides being really and naturally happy, I don’t see fruitful cooperation in the long run – and that is what we’re aiming for. It’s not our goal here to produce clones that obey the rules that they themselves don’t believe in.

This is also something that makes us stand out, I would say. A lot of attention is given to the culture, value and team fit in order for the person to resonate well with other teammates. Don’t be tricked here, I’m not putting accent away from the technical moment, but allow me to put it clearly: “You can fill the gaps in candidates’ technical knowledge if they have the right attitude and potential in that direction, but you can’t change their personality”.

“Making a world a better place” is a typical Silicon Valley platitude. In your opinion – how does Digitec Galaxus avoid the IT platitudes and what does its technology stand for?

To make the world a better place, you must begin with yourself to avoid it being a platitude. I like competitiveness, but the real gain you get from it is only when you compete with a current version of yourself, not with others. We all bring different things to the table, and that is the beauty of it.

We want to empower people, to make them challenge things as we go, so we can make the most out of our joint effort. Intrinsic motivation comes from within, and as we spend half of our waking life on the job, I think that it is important that we have fun and be happy doing what we do the best. In the end, life is short…, and we all die eventually, so let’s make the most of it.

An employee who is happy, healthy, and well-rested is much more productive, for themself and for the company. I see that as a win-win situation. This is where “world being a better place” is not only a platitude repeated and misrepresented so many times. The world is a better place if the people you’re involved with are really satisfied, have time for their families, hobbies and everything that makes a complete human being. My impression is that the people here are really satisfied overall. I can't sense that bad feeling that clings to you when you get home after work tired.

To summarize, I go to work with a smile, and this is important for me. Every one of us knows that company is not made of its appliances, its buildings, the capital it possesses in terms of money. The company reflects the people included. Actually, I see the company only as its people, everything else adds superficiality to this nice abstraction.

Would you tell us what is your personal drive that makes you roll up the sleeves and “work under the hood” of a webshop?

In terms of software, everything that makes us stand out is made by ourselves. No outsourcing, no “clients” pushing the limits of our sanity. Our main and only product is the software we’re making. The online shop is only the tip of the iceberg here. Our own ERP, software that is used in warehouses, reporting system and almost all of the logistics come to mind first, but there is much more to it – all the pieces that make a difference to a customer are “in-house”.

We do the feature implementations where there are real reasons for the software to be better than it was before. Engaging every person included, getting their feedback on how best to execute a project or a task result in reasonable milestones and corresponding deadlines, We use continuous delivery, every feature is released when it is completely ready and tested, not driven by some inflexible release cycle that was set in stone.

Finally, we would like to end this interview with a touch of nostalgia and motivation. So, what advice would you give to yourself when you were a junior and just started working in the IT world?

I’d probably believe more in myself. I was afraid of failing and was often beaten down by my own shortcomings. Now, as I get older, I know that is inevitable because no one is successful all the time. But those moments when we’re down can be the best tool for our improvement. We can learn a lot from it and move on, wiser than before. If I had this environment while I was making my first steps as a software developer, I would be better off now, but I’ve seen and learned a lot about how things are not supposed to be done and that is the greatest value that I bring to the table here.

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