In this episode I talk with Daniel Marbach, software engineer, architect, evangelist, family man, father, public speaker and so much more. We touched on how his first failure shaped his career and made him much stronger. We discussed the remote-ness of his current company and how this makes them a very "particular" (pun intended) company. We talked about mentoring and how it helps Daniel become a bit better everyday. Finally we talked about hiring for culture, and how it is done at the company Daniel is working for: Particular Software.
- Daniel is @danielmarbach on Twitter
- Daniel blogs at www.planetgeek.ch and www.particular.net/blog
- Daniel's upcoming appearance in Warsaw http://net.developerdays.pl/speaker/daniel-marbach/
- The "Advanced Distributed Systems Design" training Daniel mentioned https://particular.net/adsd
United States


00:00:10hello everyone you were listening to developers Journey the podcast shining lights on the life of software developers from all over the world thank you for joining wear today life from the d w x conference in Northern Germany and today I have Daniel Mahaba with me did I almost just made a few months ago. Nicole this is for the first time we held them a very interesting talk about the remote work at you the company you currently working for it will always be about that during the training tickets
00:01:00the first let's let's backtrack a bit I would love to start the program come from what the Mayan stones in your life and you develop is there anywhere so that you ended up being here today and then spoke at the conference where we're at okay so well first of all a little bit about my my life about myself I live in Lucerne in central Switzerland I have a little son he's 4 and 1/2 years old and have a wife and well from from another private life perspective if I do a Fitness training I used to play Yellow of handball but I stopped at Future University reasons and stuff like that yeah what can you say I'm a software engineer I would say so but also sometimes a solution architect during my professional life of wear different hats depending on whatever is required I I tend to go from worry deep into like technological Stacks like a
00:02:00Kuwait want to stay one of the topics I'm pretty well known for up to like design and architecture components and also speaking activities whatever whatever is required since I love speaking activities and stuff like that unless backtrack a little bit the wire how did I end up being a software engineer well it was I remember my my father was working for a Swiss military basically Mt you found a licensed copy of Borland Delphi Enterprise and the point is no longer being used because the project got decommissioned so he he brought it back to me and I think it was was fourth grade primary school at that point in time
00:02:49and I also bought on this way home you bought that basically a book that explains I'll check it Pascal and all that stuff and while I started feeling around give me some introduction and I started doing this these lights in quotes because I don't remember the name Wings winforms applications so calculator some stuff and yeah that's got me really hooked into the whole programming stuff and I always had this dream of becoming programmer and I also I thought at that point in time one of the best way to basically become a software engineer is that I would like to attend teeth in syrac well it's a well-known University ethc there is one in Zurich so
00:03:41it was always my dream to go to go there and then started studying software engineering a t t h c Rick and well interesting ly I think that that's really shaped my life my current profession life because I actually failed so in my dream my every time someone told me what are you going to do that during gymnasium I said well I'm going to be studying at University Missouri ktth and I I was doing the first year I traveled from Lucerne to Zurich and Solitaire went back and I at one point I decide to actually I don't like it it's not my my my type of thing because it was too much theory for my standpoint that more practical learner
00:04:28so and but my friends convinced me to basically do the exams and everything and during the exams I Was preparing already has like 2 weeks and so it shouldn't really work out that well 3 exams I was studying at home I was still living at home on my my mom can came into my room and she said like I have to I have to talk to you I have to give you some things back in the I think you completely changed in the recent months and I feel that you're no longer really a happy and that you're not doing yourself a favor basically sticking to this pre-made dream because I feel it's not something that makes you happy and it's not something that you should be it's worth pursuing for before you life and
00:05:16it's interesting that I actually knew it for the whole time but it didn't really jump into my mind right because I was thinking I have to do it it was always my dream but my mom basically brought it up to 2 today license and I realized I have to do something and I actually quit a dth basically said well I'm just going to sit into the exams but I don't care about the actual Mark so that will get me so I quit there and I went to another University in Switzerland which gave me a table still software engineering but it gives me a much better practical entry points into software engineering which I think made me much more successful in one of the biggest learning I took away from there it's that he never came to my mind that I could actually feel because everything went so good in my life until that point and then I realized well there are moments in your life where apparently
00:06:16it's not the right moment you're you don't have the right skills or whatever that you have to realize that you were on the wrong path and then basically say okay I came to this point
00:06:29I'm going to stop it and there will be other opportunities where I can shine so yeah that's what was for me one of the most humbling but those are still one of the best moments in my life which I think really shave my professional being that's really strong with your mom was able to really grateful for absolutely so this was your start until after engineering and he graduated from from this singing University yes yeah went on with your carrier yes so I started working for a company called B results of services in Switzerland as a junior software engineer I was doing primarily compact-framework stuff and mobile development but then I stumbled basically by accident into banking systems and stuff
00:07:22and well I grew there in the in the company there I had the opportunity for 7 years to Bay City Grew From a junior engineer to senior engineer they gave me opportunities to become an architect and what it was all the coolest they realize they they need some kind of Faith K tional programs for the 7th to 19th of May continues we had at the time and they gave me the opportunity to become how do you how do you call that maybe you some I was a thought leader for Junior and senior engineers in terms of technology and programming paradigms and stuff like that together with someone else before me doing some coaching snow chains training send purring training material stuff like that and put another way how did you go from being in your soil to a senior
00:08:22you know it's probably as well I mean the parts of it if you're doing Contracting work for customer part of this is just what is written on your business card right that's totally not the same that you're actually are from the skills and experience perspective so I would say for me I want to stay at least for my own personal experience want to stay key learning Source. I got more and more into designs components so I basically started was doing some little stuff for little changes in the codes too much more like oh we have this challenge here with this framework that's the time to be application could you look into that I started doing analysis and expanding the know which food from components into component communication so. That was basically the Tipping Point where I would say I became the senior engineer I look up on the business card but also yeah exactly what you are
00:09:22going from a from the single responsibility to multi responsibility you sign your system make yeah and one of them at some point I I stumbled over grants distributed systems design course from who did the Han and I convince my my boss at the time that that would be a nice thing to do because because I felt it's a nice addition to basically stumbling two more architecture but especially distributed systems architecture paradigms and then went there with one of my workmates London and it was 5 days course and it changed a lot of my thinking around systems fantasies of distributed computing some stuff like that and that was the first time when I met with the haunted person went out what I got into and service bus
00:10:18and that was the basically one of the door openers that allow me to work now for the company for you down particular software because at that point in time I started seeing the benefits of queuing for distributed systems I started using nservicebus in my free time and building open source lab recent top of it and yeah I started come to getting back in my free time to open source and discount me somehow known
00:10:52or away this was just this guy I met at the course to there is someone regularly contributing from Switzerland and adding value to the products and giving feedback to until I quit that be be softer services and started working for working for NFL there now for 2 years for particular software
00:11:19yeah that's basically my my career path until now cool and then now you're doing would you describe the beginnings of software engineering solution architect cult leader evangelist kind of phone manifold train yeah I like having multiple challenges it's well there's always this this kind of fine balance between doing too many things at the same time and being too thinly sliced versus being extremely focused and I try to basically off. Swear I'm really focused on something and sometimes I'm in this transition. Where are you three or four things at the same time I had to basically expanding to different areas and to see what is the next thing I would like to focus on helping his company while we're currently 42-inch people around the globe working in potentially 10 to
00:12:19time zones. School at the same time I think that's one of the the key success factors self the company I mean a lot of companies essentially say we are we are remote friendly company right but that means usually they have some kind of hat quarter or let's say forty 50% or whatever percent percentage of people actually work there and there Thursday is the other people rights to Oscar's them and in particular the hole in space between two genes if the company that everyone is remote so when I want to talk to to to booty
00:13:06well I have to set up a call I have to get a invited me to his calendar and we share a Tsum Tsum session which is too we use for remote communication yeah I think that's that's a big success because there is no US versus them kind of philosophy but you could have this with on with a fully remote we located on one place a company in which regard is this for you or you're not your key success factor she said okay well well I think I have 2 highlights here that's two approaches want to stay sorry not there to aspects there when is the company aspect why doesn't make sense to have remote workers government company perspective we are building a service bus messaging infrastructure. E's in Mission critical systems around
00:14:06Globe for over a thousand customers and mission-critical means whenever when something comes to the halls and even if it's not our fault people want to be able to pick up the phone and call someone half half support right even if it turns out there was a mouthful. Hopefully so witty realize when he founded the company you cannot do that the traditional concept it's nice to have people in different time zones because of money if I would be doing all the support in my time zone I would need to stay up late or I want to receive calls in the middle of the night 7. Perspective it makes sense for my own personal perspective I must say that I really like
00:14:52what I call being able to keep up with my work life life balance because I mean I can arrange my life around yeah my life and my work together in a meaningful way so that I can still give a lot of value back to the company but I also can give a lot of money back to my family and I mean this is expression in English room when sometime sometimes fit sheets that it's the hits the fan and stuff like that can happen and happened to to my family is as well mine my wife has had two serious back problems and had to do a huge surgery that was lost year and then got time I was physically able to reduce a little bit my work or two for example take care of my son during the day work a little bit in the night or shifts then I'm actually my working hours since I think that would be much
00:15:52more difficult of the traditional organize company and then it's good that you don't have a way to work and then going when I wear to go to your workout can you take can you take me to yeah exactly is there is there a mandatory profile for software Engineers that can work remotely in an effective effective way what can anybody do that that's a really good question I think
00:16:24I can only speak for my personal experience I can on the Weather Channel ice. Nothing from when I reflect on myself I can see that I have a natural tendency of if I'm stuck somewhere in some kind of problem I reach out for help always because I know where my limits are like I like I explained in the beginning I failed in my life and this was not the only time I feel and I know. Sometimes when you fail it's it's not always your fault but and sometimes you need someone that helps you to get out of whatever happened and that the same applies for a software engineering and that I try to not basically
00:17:06being stuck too long and something as soon as I then I reach out to that too independent for me for being collocated or being a remote work but I think 4 remotes working is Marshall amp or we could see it's because it's so easy to just be in your office be at your home on a problem and then time just flies by and no nobody ever walks by your desk and says hey
00:17:28Tim what's up are you going to stock you look like you're really deep in something and you cannot get out of it right that bill not really happen and I think that's a crucial skill that you reach out for help you're being I like humble about your yourself and your skills and
00:17:51probably. That's the most important part how can one learn that question
00:18:00wow I think
00:18:07I think you have to it goes a little bit into the topic of mentoring right I think you went out
00:18:16in my company would we have we have to come Serena company take a selfie we have to have the concept of mentoring so what we do is we we gave the gift behavior-based feedback and I have my own Mentor we meet once a week and they are we basically talked about these things where where my limits are and in those discussions we basically explore different ideas how I could get better and I think from that perspective piece short answer would be
00:18:51try to get the mentor
00:18:55which could to help you guide into that direction if you want to get into remote working and you think you don't have the skills that we just described that would be my answer I know it's a video
00:19:15I think I think everybody can be a mentor I don't think it requires
00:19:21rain a lot of skills one of the things might require is that we talked about that yesterday but then I'm going to repeat it right for the sake of the podcast is that I think you have to be able when you pick busy you pick someone your trust
00:19:37we have a tendency to trust because MN a mentor-mentee kind of relationship is all about trust because you tell that person things that are that are sometimes really really personal item. Should never leave this trust relationship therefore that's that's the thing you have to trust the person the other thing is that that person has to have a skill too busy can listen to you take a step back and not falling to the solution.
00:20:10I would say that's that's the most important thing trust and trusting person and leave the person who have listening abilities that that's a good point
00:20:27one thing I've served is people who work remotely having a very acute skills and listening and communicating that able to on to communicate in the in a different way than others have you seen this as well yes and no well I think
00:20:50when you get remote work there is a lot of written communication happening in slack in Gmail whatever mailing system you're going to use on get up issues of whatever issue tracker you will be using and when you do remote working like we do you also work with a lot of different people with different nationalities and cultural background so from that perspective people try to be aware of their communication and their expressions they're using but of course there is always a business entering the receiver right and I thinking remote working especially there sometimes there is a problem you don't know what kind of mood the receiver is because that person is somewhere sitting on the other side of the planets in whatever mood that person currently isn't receiving your communication.
00:21:49basically interpreting it in a different way so I think specially written communication there is a lot of things that can go wrong especially with Native Native American American speaker speakers for the language and if you're if you have it as a person a natural tendency to be like open transparent and direct to someone else that in combination with let's a limited vocabulary in English and the person on the receiving side being much for a wire of the language can sometimes turn into difficult situations how do you get how do you get out of this
00:22:49process where we we as early as possible we approach each other for example or slack and I can give you a concrete example I mean I've been
00:23:04I was reading a guitar pin shoe and have been
00:23:10emotional when I was reading it and there was a try try to reflect about my own emotional stayed in this today okay how can you formulate it that it's it's as neutral as possible I formulated it I send it in and someone approached me over so I can sit hey Daniel I would like to give you some feedback I was reading this what you wrote and I think it has a tendency to take to be a slightly passive-aggressive and I was I was sitting there was like oh wow okay and then I jumped which I'm going to assume call face-to-face conversations always feather from that point in time to be if you have a face face to face conversation well he gave me back and we talked about it and I was able to basically tell him the background I was in I said look looking back at my emotional state I can see that you could see that's passive aggressive but this is what I went
00:24:10from an emotional perspective and what I was thinking about and it was driving me that was reading it multiple times and that feedback fostering is really really important you for example told me you know what I see your point are you okay if I also show it to someone else and get some all the feedback I said yes and I said are you okay if I approach the person directly that I was supposed to be sending a message to on the kids Hub issue and talk to that how he was perceived by that person so we initially initiated the feedback fostering initiative just based on that comments right that's one of my co-workers that's cool this is the usual way of doing things like I said I wouldn't say usual because that would sound like we're already there I think we are
00:25:08we are we are on Kurt encouraging it we are trying to have things like cheat sheets or we trying to point out good examples or slide slide lesson examples of conversations and interactions without being too personal but still it's I think it's a long way to get there where I could say yes it's usual someone say to you that's really cool that's something that that's that's right mean everything you say you've been reflecting on your life a whole lot
00:25:45I mean their sister there's this whole thing called mindfulness ride I wouldn't say I'm a I'm a mindful person would I try to reflect about is that I try to be aware of myself and I know that I'm for example is really emotional I am sometimes emotional in the moment and that means sometimes I explode but I also cool down pretty quickly and based on those observations about myself I learned over the past and I'm still learning to basically see the moment when it's before it's happening and see the tendency of me getting more more emotional and in the right point in time is it to say you know take a step back step back get outside have a walk come back or don't write an email just now I just write it don't put the sender and just leave it there I first saw this to send them to you as well
00:26:45very emotional. When it goes to to my work I don't do my work because it's a work and do it because if my patient working in there and if somebody sucks criticizing in it sometimes just well enough and I have to do the same thing I'm doing well with me tation to just learn to control myself and just go down and this is really important this was my mindfulness is you say this well that would like like I said I wouldn't say I want to be honest I mean I I I come say that died I'm at least I wouldn't see myself as being mindful why I'm trying to get there at some point I also tried meditation several times and for me it's constant on off sometimes I can regularly do it and sometimes yeah I'm lazy
00:27:45including you is that your company how how you are and one thing that struck me is everything is really a collaborative even the the feedback process but also when you working on a document that has nothing to do with software is also open for everyone in the building group sand and helping each other out when you leaving this and it's definitely one of the one of the most important parts of the culture is that everybody has to be basically contribute to the whole
00:28:35company interaction and helping out each other unless I think yes I'm contributing by being aware of or trying to be aware of other people's needs potential problems that they they're facing and also basically listening and providing help for a simple as someone writing to slack hey I'm on primary call schedule this week and I would like to go out with my wife on Sunday I know it was not planned but is anyone willing to jump in right and then sometimes say okay you know now it doesn't fit but next time I will order that or say well actually it kind of fits nice on Sunday and then I say yeah of course and just just assigned me to support I will do it right and by basically leading by these small examples
00:29:33other people doing as well
00:29:36and what's that you can nurturing a culture that a thing
00:29:42seems to be just codes how do you guys manage to hire people did you have such such a special quite some quite extensive and skilled you looking for I think it's while we go through a multi-step process it's a it's multiple interviews for interviews right now and it's the first introduction about we presented by the company and the company structure and are the pros and the cons that we seem to have the company structure has to be to be able to give the person that is applying a chance to think about what that Sydney right do I want to be challenged like that do I want to be constantly
00:30:37pushing myself as it's not everybody's type and that's totally okay that's nothing negative right maybe you just something else is better for you and that's okay and then we go through technical interviews team interviews and videos of coding but we realize while we also focus on is coding skills and Technology skills and set the whole the whole sentence if it is not enough to be like a monster minding that say I'll code leaving over there ever we didn't eat at the time he also need to be
00:31:14open about receiving feedback open about giving feedback or improve yourself and that's something we try to to sends a little bit too and I think we are also lucky because it would be the harm has a lot of backgrounds also and give me a list of books about mindfulness see he has some background in Psychology and another thing so I think
00:31:38he is basically the Lost sensor in the company does would spot sing stats have been falling through the crack in the previous into you I think so far
00:31:53we have found it out pretty early it's hard to describe because it got them if I would say it's got feeling and it might be it has a negative notations well because Scott feeling is there some biases exactly
00:32:11I'm not sure if I can give you a good answer that's okay that's okay that sounds pretty similar ready it's it's kind of amazing how this all works out what's what's what is a picture look like for you have a plan and you did a lot of retrospective are you doing some some kind of phone no choice but to work computer fixed active or forward sinking of the classical hiring question rights do you see yourself in 5 years how do you see yourself in the next 5 years I must say
00:32:46and that struck me several times in the past accident no
00:32:51and sometimes it scares me because I feel I mean right now I feel challenged I feel I feel home comfortable but not like in a good way right now it's comfortable so I don't have to move for somebody that's that's why I said I said challenged first
00:33:15I don't know really it's like it whatever whatever whatever happens and I think I could do this the card the code of the choke on doing right now I could do that for the next five years I can totally see myself doing that but softer. It's so hard to say because that's what I know for myself and I think that's maybe something for your listeners as well as
00:33:37by doing different things actually found out that I want to stay in touch with technology in programming I don't want to be calm like at a solution architect it only draws boxes that sounds like a negative thing sorry I didn't want to say that that way but I don't want to be the guy that only does architectural high-level architecture stuff and city meetings that sounds important I'm not I don't want to diminish that or anything but I want to stay in touch with codeine self and as long as I can yeah so that means 60 70% of my daily work even if I'm doing conferences like this one will still be engineering and I love it and I want to do what I lost one of them one of my goals from alive always said I want to
00:34:36can I come in the morning
00:34:39and I want to say I'm really looking forward to work
00:34:43and I want to do that almost every day of course sometimes
00:34:49for whatever reason you had to walk Hard the weekend or whatever but I mean know the cool thing with my remote working flexibility whenever whenever there is one of these rare moments where I think I better be staying home I can actually do it
00:35:07because I know I won't be I won't have a good impact at that moment in time when I'm working so I can just take off and come back to us with the word you said before it's all about trust me trust you to do the best thing for the company or for you and the Soul yes that's all it's the way that is cool sounding board in company when I when I was basically start showing your behavior off showing up even though I'm actually not in the moods and that is recognized a lot by my co-workers I'm pretty sure that was pointed out
00:35:48don't feel like it where you found a nice sweet but I think I think so smiley yeah yeah that's cool that's cool give me something no no that's one thing I wanted to say thanks for having me on this phone it's an honor I'm just something I mean coming up and I'll go talk well now I'm actually I'm actually I had to look talks and in May and June and now I'm I'm looking for words for a. Off
00:36:27psych home so I'm I'm not giving talks on Till May Be mid September and in October I will be in the Warsaw so if people want to catch up with me after you talk to blow up for Days Inn Warsaw to talks on about microservices so stopping the other one about the async await quotes of the type stuff and I will be in Cologne again in Germany at the end of November thank you but that's so far pretty much it for this year and yeah if you want to reach me they can reach me on Twitter on there at Daniel Marbach if they can write it down or they can follow me on the Titanic planet t h my ride some articles about a sink and messaging service Fabric and yeah random stuff that is out of my mind
00:37:27and I always look on the particular. Net / block sometime soon I think that's pretty much it okay then thank you very much for the player and we'll hit the on the rest of the conference. Thanks thank you much bye bye bye

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