When did you start working at Echometer?
Robin: I was there almost from the start – Jean came back from the Founders Academy (now Startup School) in 2016 and was like “So… we kind of developed a pretty cool startup idea. You in? “We started working on Echometer in our spare time, until we took the plunge to full-time in 2019!
What is your previous work experience?
Robin: I did a dual course of studies in Business Informatics at Bertelsmann, and continued to work in the Bertelsmann group of companies as a software engineer for a few years, until we started with Echometer in full-time.
With a bit more detail: what do you do at Echometer?
Robin: I'm one of the founders, and therefore have to do all kinds of stuff all over the place, naturally, but my main focus is our software – I'm leading the development team, working on product design, and managing our infrastructure and tech stack.
What do you like about working at Echometer?
Robin: Two things: First, the team and its growth. We've managed to find some amazing people over the last year to support, be it the first full-time hires we already have, or the interns that come and go way too quickly, but always bring something unique to the table.
The second thing is the plethora of things I'm learning in my role as a founder. I wither if I'm not learning new stuff constantly, so this is perfect for me – two years ago, I had no idea how to facilitate Holacracy meetings, build an awesome software development team, or actively shape the inclusive work culture I want to be a part of. I still mostly don't, to be honest, but that's part of the fun, and hey, what we're doing seems to be not terrible so far, at least!
What was your first week at Echometer like?
Robin: The first week of working full time on Echometer was really surreal. Suddenly, my day job was gone, I was in a new city, and the slightly incredulous feeling of "Damn, so we're really doing this now, huh?" Was hanging over everything we were doing. So much freedom, so much uncertainty, but so much great stuff ahead.
What was your biggest or funniest fuckup at Echometer?
Robin: Not having made sure we had a server backup ready when our hosting provider fluked out on us in the very early days and our server died without any means of restoring it. Those were some stressful hours of working frantically with the team to get a new server up and running. Luckily, we were of course doing daily backups of all customer data, and we didn't actually have many customers back then, so no lasting harm caused. We've learned our lesson from that – we're regularly backing up our whole server setup in addition to the databases, and we've also since moved to another hosting provider that's more reliable. For now, at least 😉
What are your hobbies?
Robin: I've sung in choirs since I was 6, which is not really possible to keep up at the moment, sadly. I'm learning to play the guitar right now though, so that's some consolation at least!
I also very much enjoy the mix of puzzle and creativity that comes from building with LEGO bricks, so I try to sneak that in every once in a while when I need a break from the very different kind of problem solving and creativity needed to build Echometer .
Your top 3 favorite podcasts or books
Robin: A Podcast Of Unnecessary Detail – Exactly what it says on the cover. There's only one season yet, but the creators have lots of other content on YouTube that's worth checking out.
The Design of Everyday Things – The Book that you absolutely need to read if you design anything to be used by anyone, and that is still incredibly interesting and insightful even if you don't.
The Skulduggery Pleasant book series – An undead wizard skeleton, mirror images that can do the boring stuff for you, and tons of wacky, dark deadpan humor, what's not to like?
What is a fun fact about you?
Robin: I like just a little cinnamon in my scrambled eggs.