Starting here was like... rocket science. Building things that aim high was part of the fun.

A jester’s tale about getting your feet under the table at Motley - where unconditional love for doom metal and coding meet (amongst other things).

2018-10-25 – 4 min read

During my first month at Motley I learned that working here can be an exploration where you end up stretching beyond your comfort zone - and winning in doing so. 

When I started at Motley in September 2018, the standard WordPress project I was expecting to work on was still in planning. Wanting to be useful, I immediately landed another project. A challenging one. I spent hours studying it, trying to execute something I thought was simple and without my co-workers, it could’ve ended in frustration. 

The support I received from my colleagues was crucial. My questions were met with answers which in a way carried part of the pain brought on by the project’s complexity.

“Don’t worry, understanding this fully could take months. It’s sort of like rocket science,” were the reassuring words of relief I received.

In and out of comfort zones

I’m originally from São Paulo, Brazil. Like many others from abroad, I came here to study. My choice was the New Media program at Aalto University, a blend of design and technology like at the MIT Media Lab. Finland had taken such good care of me during my studies that I decided to stay. The intended two years became three, and then four. Now I have been here for five happy winters.

Before starting at Motley, the comforting routines of student life had taken ahold of me. 

When I arrived at the office, I quickly realised that the muscle memory of agency life had been somewhat lost. At university the focus was always on myself, which was one reason why I decided to return to working full-time on bigger projects, and as part of a team. 

After the first interview at Motley, I was asked to do an assignment to demonstrate my problem solving skills. The assignment was a React web app with calls to the GitHub API. Motley were ultimately interested in my background in design and creative coding, along my experience with WordPress. 

The on-boarding process was very well designed, and after I had signed my contract, Pete Nykänen, Motley’s director of technology, assured me I’d start with a simple, standard WordPress site (editor's note: by our standards). Hah! The reality was that as soon as I was hired, I would immediately be forced out of my comfort zone. And luckily so, because in a short time I’ve learned more than I imagined. 

A sign of things to come

I have to admit, I still can’t claim to fully understand my first project’s code base. Not yet. I’m slowly but surely getting there, all the while getting to know the people working at Motley and how we roll. I feel free to speak up if I face challenges, be they project-specific or more day-to-day. Thanks to the company culture, I feel more confident with my role and skills.

Some people — notably Finns — are surprised that I swapped the warm Brazilian summers for the harsh Finnish winters. To their shock (and my amusement), weather doesn’t play such a central role in my life. Music does. In fact, it’s thanks to Norwegian doom metal I’m living in Finland today.

Since day one I’ve loved the working environment at Motley. And yes, part of that has to do with the fact that there happens to be a lot of people here who share a love for expressive music and coding. 

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Written by

Régis Frias

Régis is a Developer at Motley

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