Working at LeaseWeb
When I was younger, I had always envisioned a career in the hospitality industry: luxury hotels, fine dining, and amazing locations where I would be the host to welcome guests. Little did I know 6 years ago that ‘hosting’ could have a completely different meaning.
After high school, I started my education with an MBO+ education in Amsterdam in hospitality management. Afterwards, I followed the ‘Fast Track’ bachelor curriculum at Hotelschool The Hague. And Just last week, I received my Master of Science in Management from the Nyenrode Business University where I was proudly 4th in my class. Over the course of my education I developed an interest in marketing. To me, marketing aim to influence consumer behavior in such a way that win-win situations are created. Ultimately, I see marketing as the department where I can help achieve goals and celebrate successes.
During the final steps of my master’s degree, I came in contact with LeaseWeb through a Facebook post where an internship with the marketing team was advertised. Even though my understanding of ‘hosting’ had been completely different, the position was interesting enough to contact a fellow Nyenrodian currently at the company. In September 2016 I was welcomed to LeaseWeb as an intern and instantly given my own responsibilities.
‘’A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’’ – Laozi
Since deciding to study Trade Management Asia at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences in 2011, it has been my dream to live and work in Asia. When I graduated in 2015 I set out to turn this dream into a reality. Luckily, my journey of a thousand miles, or in this case 6,519.41 miles from Amsterdam to Singapore, started at LeaseWeb.
In September 2015, I was hired by LeaseWeb Netherlands as an Inside Sales Representative (ISR). I hadn’t until that point thought about working in the hosting industry, but sometime fate has a funny way of putting us in exactly the right place. The hosting industry is booming, interesting, and full of opportunities. As an ISR, my main task was to call existing customers and potential new businesses to create new and expand existing relationships. This experience provided me with the basis, or the infrastructure, for a deep understanding of the industry. Working in inside sales teaches you a considerable amount about the industry, customers, and, of course, the products and company itself. It also helps you to become persistent, and to quickly learn from and keep growing after failures.
LeaseWeb kicked off its sixth quarterly Hackathon on Thursday, July 21st. The Hackathons are a chance for employees to step outside the usual routine and allow them to get creative, work together in new ways, and have fun. Participants are given two full days and nights to work on any kind of project whether it’s to solve a work problem, learn a new skill, or try out a personal project they’ve had in mind. Whatever it is, they have the complete freedom to try something new with the goal being to present a functional demo at the end of the second day.
Hackathons begin with a presentation where all of the participants gather to kick things off. Everyone receives a Hackathon t-shirt designed specifically for the event and then they hunker down to start work on their projects. Hackathon isn’t just for the engineering department and individuals from all parts of the company are encouraged to participate.
Perhaps someone in marketing has been thinking about a new tool that could help them do their job better. They might team up with an engineer to try and create that tool. New ideas and collaborations that might not have otherwise fit into the usual busy schedule are given the opportunity to be developed and tested. Several projects and tools that have been created during Hackathons have been integrated into day to day operations.
After working hard all day Thursday, participants took a break to have dinner and some fun. A barbecue spread was set out and there was plenty of chicken, burgers, salad, and beer to go around. A 45 meter inflatable obstacle course was set up in the parking lot and participants competed with each other to see who could get the best time. The winner completed the course in just over 30 seconds. After a bit more relaxation everyone was ready to get back to working on their projects. Some stayed late into the night and crashed at the office, others went home to grab some sleep before coming back in the next morning to finish up before the afternoon presentations.
Last year, we merged our existing operations and development departments into one Product Engineering department. Since then we have been focusing a lot on coaching all 13 teams and improving their effectiveness
In october last year, we attended an excellent talk by Bol.com at Velocity Amsterdam. In this talk they explained their ongoing transition towards DevOps. One of the concepts they introduced, was a maturity model to measure and incentivise continuous improvements within a team.
Inspired by the Bol.com talk, we have since developed and implemented a maturity model within our Product Engineering organization which consists of a matrix of four levels in four categories.
Three years ago, Shaina Prabhakar wrote a blog about her work at LeaseWeb. A lot has changed since then, so let’s take a look at where she is now.
It’s fascinating to see how technology is innovating in ways to help and serve people. Before LeaseWeb, I used to work at a company which manufactured servers and networking devices. During that time I never got to speak to the end users, to see how they benefit from these products. At LeaseWeb I get that opportunity.
After three years of as part of the LeaseWeb Sales team I became the team manager of our Sales Support department. I interacted directly with our customers, learning what they’re looking for and how they like to buy and manage our products. One of the easiest ways for our customers to do this is through our website and Customer Portal. As I hold a degree in Information Sciences, my experience in sales together with my IT skills meant that I was in the unique position to become the Product Owner of our website and Customer Portal.
Take 15 projects, 40 developers, 30 pizzas plus 20 NERF guns and what do you get? A whole lot of creativity and innovation, that’s what!
The LeaseWeb Cloud development team has used Scrum as a software development methodology since 2011. During these two and a half years, we produced a lot of good results. But of course, there were also some bumps on the road. We had to deal with various challenges, adapting our processes along the way. As product owner of the Cloud development team, I would like to share some of the things we have learned over the years.
Growth is something everyone who runs a business agrees on is a good thing, and over the past few years LeaseWeb has grown tremendously. This week we reached another milestone when Hans Rakers became our 300th colleague. Of course we celebrated this memorable moment by presenting everyone in the office with a large cake to enjoy. While I sat down to eat a piece of the tasty pie, I was reminded of a very inspiring Ted Talk I watched a while back by Shawn Achor, who teaches about positive psychology.