ATA: Hi guys! Thank you all very much for joining this chat about the vibe in the Bratislava office and the culture in the Data Stories team. So let’s kick off with how long you have been at Data Stories and what your role is.
Tomas: I’ve been in Ataccama for ten months, working as the team lead of our front end here in Data Stories.
Radoslav B.: I’ve been with Ataccama for three months, working as a front-end developer in the team, helping to build it.
Radoslav H.: I’ve been in Ataccama for two years now. But I was with the team basically since the beginning. I was hired back when it was Tellstory. That was back when Martin Zahumensky had the company Instarea, and I was doing front end.
Michal: I’ve been working for Ataccama for a year and a few months, and I worked with Tellstory for about half a year before it was made part of Ataccama. I work as a front-end developer.
Filip: I’m also a front-end developer, and my timeline with Ataccama is pretty similar to Rado Hlatky’s journey.
I’ve been in Ataccama for two years. First, I was working on our main page in the marketing team as a web dev, and then Tellstory was acquired by Ataccama and the team was formed with Rado and me. Shortly after that, Michal joined us and the other guys so it’s been about a year and a few months that we’ve been working on Data Stories.
ATA: What is a typical day like for you? Do you have any kind of rituals, like weekly meetings in the office?
Tomas: The remote guys are all trying to go to the office about once a month, and we have three stand-ups per week, when the entire front-end team meets. And we also hold retrospective plannings, stuff like that. The rest is ad-hoc meetings since we want to keep the startup, Tellstory atmosphere.
Filip: Maybe one thing that’s been with us from the beginning is the written stand-up part of the day.
Tomas: Also, sometimes when we have company breakfasts in the Bratislava office, or some team-building, the whole team gets together and has dinner afterwards.
ATA: What do you usually look for in a teammate? What are some essential skills a person needs to succeed on your team?
Radoslav H.: Coffee addiction. :)
Tomas: We usually need a person who is suitable for a startup atmosphere because we are, I think, an agile team. We need creative people.
Radoslav B.: Also, be open minded and have patience for coding. And help others if you know something, share knowledge, and learn because it’s a constant process.
ATA: How has Ataccama, and your own team, changed since you started?
Radoslav B.: Well, in the three months I’ve been here, we changed product managers. So that’s how things are changing. :)
Filip: I’d say that it started as a bit of a roller coaster ride, in terms of Martin trying to sell the idea to management and the board. So we didn’t have a real plan or timeline for the product, we were just throwing features into Data Stories.
And it was, well…if you just throw in features without a plan, it sometimes becomes a bit of a mess. So that’s, I think, the biggest change over time, that right now we have solid planning, and the resources are always divided based on something.
Radoslav B.: Properly allocated.
Radoslav H.: We are now behaving more and more corporate, not just a start up, even though there is still a start-up atmosphere. It’s more organized. The tasks are allocated accordingly. And we are trying to communicate more than back when it was a simple startup.
And when it was just an idea of an application, when we were trying to do some new features fast, it got messy. Now, thanks to the organization of the overall project, it’s less messy, we’re not trying to refactor old code, and we’re just getting a better codebase and new features along the way. So it’s definitely better right now in this aspect.
Filip: I would say that with the organization, the scalability of the project has really improved. More people can work at the same time on lots of different features. It’s structured for easier building and maintaining the codebase. I see a lot of improvements from the start.
Michal: Yeah, in the past, the project was changing on a daily or weekly basis. So it was quite messy. And now you have a goal you want to reach. And you can work with that.
Filip: And also, when it was changing really fast, it was pretty hard to make some code standards. It was more like “Make it work, and we’ll figure it out later.” So I think right now, this is also a priority — to make it well.
Radoslav H.: Having a well-maintained codebase means new developers can catch up quickly and less painfully than in the past.
ATA: Thanks, guys. So, how do you see the vibe in your office? How does it feel when you come in the office for a day?
Michal: It’s not a big office. It’s big, but not that big…
Radoslav H.: …not so many people…
Michal: …so we can do what we want. :)
Tomas: Wait a second, I need go see what’s going on there! :)
From my point of view, when I come to the office, I feel the mix of techy and a little bit homey vibes.
ATA: Do you guys have any inside jokes or office rituals?
Filip: Those are unpublishable.
Radoslav B.: What happens in the office stays in the office.
ATA: Got it. :) And if someone’s visiting Bratislava for only 24 hours, what should they do?
Radoslav B.: Drink a beer.
ATA: What if it’s a colleague from the Prague office?
Radoslav B.: Drink a different beer.
Filip: Drink a worse beer.
ATA: Ok, and what should they look forward to in their visit?
Michal: Work, sleep, eat, repeat. :)
ATA: So what do you guys like to do for fun in the city when you go out?
Radoslav H.: Always working. :)
Radoslav B.: 24/7 right? :)
Radoslav H.: 25/7, if it could be done! :)
Filip: I would say that Bratislava is pretty famous for its affordable nightlife. Lots of people from all around the world come to Bratislava for one night to save up a lot of money on all the nightlife, and then go back, so…
Radoslav B.: Also it’s very handy because it’s much smaller than Prague, so in the city center you can just visit pretty much all the nightclubs.
Tomas: Or you can borrow one of our electric scooters from the office and go through the Bratislava castle, that’s also nice. But I think if you come to the Bratislava office, you will definitely come with us for breakfast or lunch or something.
ATA: If you could have a drink with anyone in Ataccama, from any office, who would it be?
Radoslav B.: For me it’s simple — pretty much anyone, because I haven’t met anyone in person yet. :)
Filip: I really like this one guy…I haven’t really met him, but it’s Jiri Andel. He doesn’t hold back with his jokes. I think that he keeps on going with the jokes even after, well, maybe some complaints. I don’t know him personally, but I love his jokes.
Tomas: Since the All Staff I’ve kept JoEllen’s mega, mega presentation in mind, so my drink would be with her.