Meet The Team - Zurich.
As part of our Meet The Team series, we caught up with GetYourGuide’s Zurich team. Zurich is where GetYourGuide was originally founded and today, the office is an engineering hub with a focus on DevOps and Platform engineering. Here, engineers mainly work on the backend of the GetYourGuide platform.
Please introduce yourself.
Tobias Rein, CTO & Co-Founder: The Zurich office has a long tradition. My co-founders and I were studying at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) when we had the idea of building a marketplace for tours and activities. Currently, we are still located in Technopark. This is the same building where GetYourGuide’s very first office was. In the meanwhile, Zurich has become a pure engineering office. We have people from various teams here and we mainly work on the backend of the GetYourGuide platform.
What advice would you have for someone who would like to work with your team?
Fabio Lanfranchi, Engineering Team Lead DevOps: We are all obsessed with solving problems using the best technologies. Nevertheless, we always have a strong customer focus. “What is the value for our customers?” is an omnipresent question. Furthermore, we are building systems for the future. As we have a very fast growing business, we need to make sure our solutions scale. Anybody that would like to join the Zurich team should have the same passion about bringing our system to the next level. We are also enabling other teams to perform their task in more efficient ways to provide the best experience for our customers.
What does an average day in your team look like?
Jared Niederhauser, Software Engineer Back-End: Because I work with a remote team, communication and clarity are very important. We always start our day with a standup meeting: What are you working on? Do you have any issues? How was your weekend? etc.
After our morning meeting, the team breaks up and works on individual tasks. Despite being split across two locations (Zurich and Berlin), we have frequent touch points throughout the day, and we often jump into ad-hoc discussions and/or do some pair programming if we are working on a particularly difficult problem. Because of this, it’s hard to characterize an ‘average’ day. Each day poses new challenges, and the only constant is trust and openness across the team. This makes it extremely exciting coming into the office every day!
What is your team currently working on?
Alex Eftimie, Software Engineer DevOps: My team is currently working on defining a new infrastructure based on container orchestration. This will allow us to easily scale up and down with the increasing traffic, but also keep the costs under control. Additionally, we’re making high efforts to protect our systems from malicious traffic. For that, we’re analyzing and categorizing the traffic and using machine learning for filtering out bad clients.
What, if any, are the principles that your team lives by?
Ralph Schwaninger, Software Engineer: I am not sure if I would call it a principle, however I do think there are some properties the people in my team are generally striving for. I think there is a sense of care. If something breaks, people wouldn’t simply look away, but try to fix the issue, even if it wasn’t this person's fault. I also think there is a healthy pragmatism in the team to not always go for the perfect, but rather the right solution. Oh yeah, and we always try to be positive.
What is your favourite thing about working at GetYourGuide?
Alex Ionita, Software Engineer Back-End: My favourite part about working at GetYourGuide is being part of an awesome team that feels more like a family. We have a very open culture and since our Zurich office is still small, we all know each other pretty well. It's definitely not the type of impersonal place where you will pass by people you don't know who they are or what they do.
What do you like about the city Zurich?
Mathieu Thoretton, Software Engineer: Zürich is a beautiful city, peaceful and lively at the same time! People are nice and friendly. There are plenty of places where you can enjoy your time: bars, restaurants and parks. The lake and the Limmat river are highly enjoyable during summer. The surroundings are wonderful, perfect for winter sports or hiking. It's a very nice city for those who like travelling: a lot of nice villages and towns nearby and many countries are easily reachable by train or by plane.
Is there a difference in the culture between the Berlin and the Zurich team?
Pascal von Rickenbach, Principal Engineer (Pascal has recently moved from Berlin to Zurich): There are definitively subtle differences between Zurich and Berlin when it comes to office vibes. This is understandable given the fact that we are smaller in size and a pure Engineering hub here in Zurich. Berlin is more diverse with respect to business functions that are present. This makes the exchange between people across departments easier. This different starting position is however only a minor hurdle as tools like Slack etc. bring us close together virtually and make communication efficient again. In addition, the alignment on providing exceptional experiences for our customers paired with shared principles around continuous learning, positivity and high impact helps a lot to make sure our culture is not diverging.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Tobias Rein, CTO & Co-Founder: We are very excited that we are moving to a new office later this year. It’s the first office here in Zurich where we can do the interior design ourselves. As we want to provide the best working environment for our employees, we hired Kinzo, a well-know architect company that is specialized and well-respected for cutting edge office design (e.g. they designed the Soundcloud office in Berlin). The new office will have creative areas, areas to focus, meeting rooms, an amazing all-hands area for inter-company meetings and two balconies.
Big thanks again to Tobias Rein, Pascal von Rickenbach, Mathieu Thoretton, Alex Ionita, Ralph Schwaninger, Alex Eftimie, Jared Niederhauser, Fabio Lanfranchi and the rest of the team at Zurich for giving us such great insight into the team dynamics, life in Zurich and upcoming plans! If you are interested in working with GetYourGuide’s Zurich team, you can find all vacancies here.