How Work Is Really Done at ABOUT YOU Tech
A glimpse behind the scenes of Hamburgs first unicorn
When one thinks of ABOUT YOU, the first things that come to one’s mind are the online store, clothing and the latest trends. Yet, we are way more than just another online shop for fashion. With one-third of our staff working in IT, we are a true tech company driven by the passion to create the best product. To provide you with a better understanding of how our company works, we are starting a series telling you more about our tech staff, how they work and what they all have in common. Before digging really deep, this article intends to give you all the hard facts including organizational structure, work culture and tech stack.
What you need to know
ABOUT YOU is home to IT specialists, web developers, UX designers, product managers, and data scientists — to name just a few. Over the past years, we have developed from a startup to a fast-growing company currently employing more than 500 people of around 30 nationalities from all parts of the world. This constant growth motivates and empowers us — we constantly learn new things and get to know new people & technologies that help us to overcome even the biggest business challenges.
However, the bigger we get, the bigger the challenges we face in our everyday business. With three million customers per month and increasing revenue also emerges the risk of our company becoming inflexible and too slow. This is not what we want. We want to be first. In order to assure this excellence, we have introduced MOVE — an organizational model that enables employees to switch between teams, make faster decisions and grow within the company.
Being big, yet flexible
In the past, we had big teams generating a lot of overhead. This changed with MOVE — splitting large groups of people into smaller units and circles that are more focused, faster and able to adapt accordingly. Find out more about MOVE.
“Through MOVE developers can try something new without changing companies and find the team where they are most productive” explains Jannick Garthen who works as a Lead Developer in the Desktop Circle in the Shop Application Unit.
Since his start at ABOUT YOU in summer 2018, Jannick has seen several members of his team change to different units. While having to cope with the loss of manpower, he still appreciates working for a company that allows its employees such freedom. Furthermore, he values the way his team communicates across all hierarchies. “We are all working toward a goal and not picking on problems”, says Jannick.
Better done than perfect
Clear communication, the ability to ask for help and solution-oriented work not only applies to Jannick’s team. At ABOUT YOU, we encourage all of our employees to speak up and share their thoughts on different issues. Additionally, we ask them to rather finish their tasks instead of focusing on nitty-gritty details. Following the 80/20 rule, we want to work efficiently in order to make a difference as a team and motivate one another. Done is better than perfect.
That, however, requires a little training. “As someone who comes from university, you often want to find the perfect state-of-the-art solution. But that’s not always possible, often you just have to make sure that something works and approach problems pragmatically”, says Nico Albers who is a working student at ABOUT YOU. Dealing with data science in the Business Intelligence team, he is mainly in charge of analyzing and maintaining the BI systems and infrastructure. “Although I’m still studying business mathematics at the University of Hamburg, ABOUT YOU gives me the chance to contribute in meaningful ways and work on my projects in an independent matter”, explains Nico.
T means transformation
Business Intelligence is only one of several tech units at ABOUT YOU. You can find out which other tech units we have here at AY Tech by reading our next articles that will come around in the next few weeks :-)
Another aspect that has been changing a lot over the past years is our tech stack. It is our claim to stay on state of the art of what is new in the tech & developer scene, following that thought we are using react.js, react native & vue.js in the Frontend. As some of the few companies worth millions of dollars, we rely on php-frameworks like laravel and lumen. For more special uses cases as data science, backend rendering & others we go with node.js & python. All of our infrastructure has been moved into the AWS Cloud — we are pushing more & more to optimize our set up according to the principle of infrastructure as code. You can find a full list of our tech stack here.
We don’t work behind closed doors
In the future, companies will have to be more and more open to external experts. At ABOUT YOU, we have already started to open our doors. Our Meetup sessions happening regularly twice a month bringing together people from inside and outside the company. Join our meetup group to stay up to date on what meetup is taking place when!
Additionally, we are starting to push contributions to our Github, enabling the developer community to learn from what we are doing internally at AY and benefit everyone who is working with the same technologies as we do. Obviously we do split our projects on Github between what is ready to go public and what is only for our internal use, but at the moment we are putting more and more effort into refactoring and streamlining our private projects, taking them to a higher level of abstraction in order for it to benefit more people, when migrating them to our public Github.
Check it out & let us know in the comments if there are certain topics that are of special interest!
As you can see, our company constantly adapts to new technologies, social developments or changing customer habits. In order to achieve these goals, we bring together the best people with different professional and cultural backgrounds and offer them flat hierarchies, an innovative organizational model and many ways to grow within the company. Learn more about our staff and projects in the next article that will come around in the following weeks.
If we left any questions open on how work is done here at AY Tech shoot us a question in the comment section and of course if this sounded like an environment you would like to work in: Check out our open position — maybe you are the perfect addition to our growing family!