Linus Haferkemper, Customer Success Lead in DACH and one of our creative energy experiment winners on how Hack Week, provides opportunities to transform
At the end of 2017, we unveiled a new mission: to unleash the world’s creative energy by designing a more enlightened way of working. We believe the world can work better, and we realized in order to make things better for the world and our our users, we need to start here at Dropbox. So back in February, we launched a creative energy experiment competition amongst employees to submit ideas on how we can work in a more enlightened way here at Dropbox.
The grand prize winners were 14 lucky Dropboxers, flown in from various offices around the globe. The winners attended a Warriors game and had a chance to meet the team behind the team, avid Dropboxers users! (Click on the link to learn more about how they use Dropbox)
One of those lucky winners was Linus!
Q: What is your name, what office do you work out of, and how long have you been at Dropbox?
A: I’m Linus. I work at our Hamburg office in Germany. I joined Dropbox in September 2016.
Q: What is your current role at Dropbox?
A: Here at Dropbox, we have an amazing team called “Outbound.” They talk to our fans (our users) and try to make them closer friends (closing deals). My role is to ensure that these friendships are good and fair and that both sides (the customer and Dropbox) find more and more ways to have fun with each other.
Q: Anything that you have done/accomplished at Dropbox that you’re proud of?
A: I’m currently leveraging our megaphone platform to have a positive influence on our customers’ end-user behaviour. Specifically, I’m using prompts to encourage end users to make use of the desktop client, which, at large organisations, is not that easy.
The rate of users leveraging the desktop client is increasing, but it is hard to quantify due to the small scale I’m operating at. But, my clients love it. When customers are delighted because you’ve aimed higher, that is probably the best recognition you can get.
Q: Have you had transformational or inspirational moments at Dropbox?
A: For a seven-person remote office, career opportunities are different here than at our headquarters. For me, two things have been special so far:
- Hack Week has given us time to think differently and work creatively. For example, we made laptop cases at a Dropboxer’s home (Larissa Haida) using her sewing machine.
- We hosted an event for personal assistants who work at more traditional local companies. It was mind-blowing for them to see how collaborative and open we work (e.g., with the speed of Paper, without any boundaries in collaboration) and the freedom we have in our jobs: choose your laptop, work from a different desk, couch, etc. It sparked their creative energy, and it made me realise what a cool company we work for.
Q: What does “creative energy” mean to you?
A: For me, creative energy means to go wild, ignore boundaries for a moment, and really think big. It means that the ideas you have and the goals you want to achieve don‘t have limits. And it‘s also a collaborative process where someone’s first response will not be, “this doesn‘t work/is not possible/cannot be done,” but “woohoo, crazy, we‘re onto something really great!”
Q: Why did you decide to enter the creative energy experiment competition?
A: Haha, I had two ideas in mind:
- Share crazy and wild ideas that could improve someone’s situation.
- Inspire people that we do have an impact and can change the way we think about creative energy. And it was so good to see how happy it made a whole office to be able to send one of their colleagues to this event.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your idea or the area it covers? And what’s next?
A: I wanted to make sure that people pick the right room when scheduling meetings with colleagues. Creative energy flows so much better when people are in the right environment and feel comfortable. So I thought about this in two ways.
- When scheduling calls with people in other offices, you might not be aware of the setup of the office. And for me, scheduling a call with a colleague in San Francisco is difficult. I want to make sure I pick a room that is close to their desk/next meeting but also one that they hopefully like. If I had to schedule a meeting with someone and could see on their internal profile that their favourite room is XYZ, I could instantly set a better scene for both of us by picking this meeting room.
- The second aspect of the idea is to categorise meeting rooms by a suitable purpose. For example, knowing which meeting room is good for brainstorming sessions, 1:1s, team meetings, training, etc. Again, creative energy flows way better if the environment fits the purpose.
Q: Tell us about the day of the event?! What office did you come from, how did you travel, and how long was your travel time?
A: I probably had the longest journey. I left home on Thursday, 15 March, at 5 am CET and took a taxi to Hamburg airport. Then I had a one-hour flight from Hamburg to Frankfurt and then a flight to SFO, departing Frankfurt at 10:40 am. I left the SFO airport at 2:20 pm PST and entered the office 70 minutes later. Including the taxi to Hamburg airport and the Uber to the office in San Francisco, it took me 18 hours.
Q: How did you spend your time in San Francisco?
A: I don‘t get to go to San Francisco that often. So, for me, this was special already. But attending All Hands in person meant a lot to me. That was just about the first thing I did after greeting my colleagues. On the same day, we had a get-together. It was amazing to meet so many new colleagues and such talented people with smart ideas. I was humbled by it, but also proud to share my ideas. We left to go to the Oracle arena and had a great experience at the Warriors.
Q: Did you know any of the other Dropboxers who won?
A: I knew one solutions architect from the Dublin office. It was great to see the international participation!
Q: What was the best part about the day?
A: Can I share two?
- Meeting Dropboxers that I only knew from VC or All Hands or some that I didn‘t know before. I get inspired by meeting new people, and I‘m thrilled to learn new perspectives.
- Learning first hand how our customer (the Warriors) leverages Dropbox to improve their business/game. Being able to tell these stories back home in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to our customers is invaluable.
Q: Anything else you want to share about the day?
A: I had been thinking about seeing a professional basketball game for a while. It’s not really that big in Germany; we’re more into soccer. But when I saw my name in our office’s WhatsApp group and again in the email about winning tickets to a basketball game, I had to double check that “NBA” is actually basketball. (Seriously, I Googled this to be 1,000% sure.) I hope people don‘t freak out like, “Oh, no, seriously? This guy has NO clue about basketball and the NBA and were paying him to come all that way?“ Well, now I do. And I love it!
The other crazy part was after I heard that I had won the tickets, I had to tell my wife and friends that I wouldn‘t be able to join them for dinner on that Friday. When I told my wife I‘d be going to SF for this, she was silent. But you should have seen her face. She said, “WHAAAAT??? How cool is that!”
Q: What are your hobbies? Or what can we find you doing outside of work?
A: I love anything with water, like sailing, canoeing, swimming. I also love to cook tasty food. Anything with tech (tools or new solutions that simplify stuff) gets me going.
Q: Any accomplishments you’re proud of outside of work?
A: I helped change the way a large group of volunteers organise a youth handball tournament in my hometown. It‘s not so much that we leverage Dropbox and Paper, but more about how people are sparked by the idea of transparency and collaboration, which is great.
Q: What is something interesting about you that not a lot of people know?
A: I have this “rule“ that I should not travel to the same place twice (for vacation). I have a scratch-off map of the world to visualise the other goals. Planning trips is so much fun when looking at this map.
Q: Anything else you’d like to share?
A: Whatever you do, it always comes down to the people you do it for and with. This is what really matters.
Check back soon to meet more Dropboxers. In the meantime visit us at dropbox.com/jobs. Dropbox is growing, grow with us!