Jorge’s story

on how to change job by passion

The power of decision

My history begins, as majority, by a decision. The purpose of this decision was fulfill a dream, transform a hobby into a profession. I know it was difficult to introduce myself in this tech world but nothing is impossible and less with desire, dedication and effort. I think nowadays I can say that I have fulfilled it.

How I became a software developer

It all started after finishing high school and deciding about my professional future through the university. I hesitated between choosing to study my hobby, computer engineering, or a career that had a lot of work at the time, geomatics engineering. Finally I chose geomatics for the extensive labour market and because I was interested in working outdoors. The decision was not unfortunate but the economic crisis came, I endured five years working in different parts of the world.

At the beginning of 2016 my girlfriend found a good job in Barcelona and I did not want to bear the interminable working days, the low value as a professional and the lower monthly salary. So I left my job and we both came to Barcelona. At first I started looking for a job as a geomatics engineer but after two months with no answers, I started to consider dedicating myself to another profession. And why not something related to my hobby? 
Could I become web developer?

Turning my hobby into my profession

The decision was very difficult, basically because of the uncertainty caused me to invest time and money in a learning that I did not know if it would give me an option to a job. And, moreover, leave a profession that I love and all the experience already gained. 
Finally, I considered everything and decided to risk.

I started looking for masters and specialized courses to learn fast, intensive and with the idea of starting work as fast as possible. A month later I was starting a bootcamp with Ironhack, it was exactly what I was looking for. It was eight weeks of hard work learning contents that I had not heard in my life, starting by setting up Ubuntu 14.04 in my machine and continuing with Bootstrap, SASS, API, Git, Ruby, Sinatra, Rails…

Starting in the real world

One month after finishing the bootcamp, I started working at Quipu. Albert Bellonch, the CTO, had been my mentor for my Ironhack project and had told me that they might need a entry junior profile soon, and that was me!

I started on September 6, 2016, the first weeks were difficult, I had a very basic base and I had entered the real world. I weighed that GIT was pull, add, status, commit and push, right away I had to understand that it was rebase, checkout, branch, cherry-pick, push -f…

In my first week I devoted myself to learning about an example rails project that I had created, creating models, controllers, views, basically the rails knowledge base.

On September 12 I got a great accomplishment, my first commit and PR, the exact text of the commit was “fix french copies from tour” and there were four lines changed.

Today after more than 500 commits I see it as silly but at that time it was a great satisfaction to be able to contribute to the product in production.

Never stop learning


Step by step I continued to play the simplest parts of the application, making small fixes, small translations and some small complete task for the backoffice. I also started to learn some wordpress stuff to be able to manage the maintenance of the blog. 
Learn, learn and learn was and is my day to day, nowadays this is the dynamics and I’m delighted and more when it is my hobby.

The weeks passed and every time I saw myself with more confidence and ability to explore more complex parts and I started the integration with Salesforce. Again the same, learn what is salesforce, know what we need it and start the implementation, use a gem to ease the communication with the API, create a service to get and fetch the data what we want to sync. After many tests and errors, in the end we obtained a moderately stable system that worked autonomously.

From here came a moment that, without stopping learning, I felt very comfortable with Rails and whatever they asked me I understood and, at least, I could think about how to implement it.

But learning never stopped.

At the beginning of being in Quipu I did not understand anything and with a lot of patience they explained to me the most difficult parts for me. Later on and to this day, I’m still learning a lot from my colleagues especially by looking at their code. We use a system in which we can all check the code of all before deploying, and we also need at least two mates to approve the pull request for production, so I devote a great part of the day to review/learn code of my colleagues.

This only works if you have a good planning and communication (through the use of many online tools that facilitate the daily tasks, such as JIRA, Trello, Slack, Github, Rollbar ).

An efficient modus operandi

Here we use an Agile methodology, with which we take responsibility for each of our tasks and encourages compliance to be effective. For this we manage some objective times taking into account that part of our working hours is intended for meetings, to solve bugs and small tasks difficult to plan.


At the same time I have learned to do good searches on internet about concrete problems that I encounter every day, the theoretical basis is very important in this aspect since it facilitates you to know what things are called and to be able to search more efficiently for problems that surely has happened to another person.

Mates, along with Internet searches, along with a tutorial that I do from time to time becomes a good system of continuous learning.

For example after a few months I set out to learn Ember to collaborate in the development of the Quipu App, I started with a basic tutorial but at the end we decided to change language and do it in react native. Thanks to another tutorial, I learned to do basic things and currently I dedicate about 25% of my time to the development of the app with react native. Right now I am at a moment that I think I understand what it is and how Redux works but in reality I still have a lot to learn to feel comfortable programming in this language.

The other 75% of my time I keep using it for rails features and fixes. Today I play many parts of the application, both front and back and both internal functionalities, new projects, marketing.

What I like the most is to make projects from zero, and do it all, create the logic, the tables of the DB, the models, controllers, the views.

And finally my last big breakthrough was deploy production, some months ago Albert proposed me to start doing some deploy and with tremors I said yes, I knew that it is something that carries a lot of responsibility but we have to move forward and continue learning always, so I go there, doing deploys from time to time.

A successful career transition

Almost two years ago I could not imagine deploying code, refactoring and understanding the code very well, commenting on PR from colleagues and considering me a real junior. All this I have to thank my colleagues and especially Albert and Roger for trusting me and hiring me when I really had nothing more to offer than wanting to learn.
 When I arrived we were around 10 people and right now we will be about 30, young and very professional people who create a great work environment, learning and enjoying every day.

Going back to decisions, a dream come true, good decision.

My recommendation is: If you’re passionate about programming, do it, do not be afraid, at the beginning it’s all very unknown and scary but, in my point of view, the only requirement to be able to get started is the passion for programming. It will be easy for you to learn, all you have to do is dedicate hours to your hobby.

At first you think that you will never get to understand a certain code but from one day to the next you realize that you have already understood and new challenges arrive, that is always, you will never know everything, it is part of the work.

Glovo’s hypergrowth — Podcast #41 with Sacha Michaud

On itnig’s Podcast #41 Sacha Michaud, one of the cofounders of Glovo shares his take and experience on the hypergrowth of the Barcelona based delivery startup with us, talks about market about delivery and on-demand user experience.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial speak with Sacha Michaud about his own personal story, how he grew as an entrepreneur and last but not least his perspective on Glovo in this podcast. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.

Sacha, we know each other as partners in Playfulbet from a few years ago but tell us about you, please. What’s your story?

I am English by family, Canadian father but born in London. As a kid I travelled a lot to different countries and I ended up in United Kingdom. When I was16 years old I stated to run as a jockey and through the sport I went on to live in the US. But my mother lived in Barcelona at that time: I went to visit, loved it and stayed.

At the end of the 90s I learned to program, it was the time Internet was taking off. At that time I create Latinred, which went very well, I was able to sell it to a US Nasdaq listed corporate. We sold to a competitor, with less users and traffic but much more capital.

You were able to sell before the crisis.

Yes you could say it like that but there are also other examples. After three years I left to create what is now known as Betfair, first here in Spain and then Portugal and Latin America.

That’s where the circle closes. I come from the horse racing world, filled with bets, I knew the world and I was a big fan of Betfair.

At that time Betfair was very strong in London and Ireland — I really liked their model of betting against other users. The more traditional way is betting against the house, which is earning a margin. Betting exchanges on the other hand are against other users and the house gains a commission. Betfair invented this model and I was already a big fan when they called me up to launch Spain.


Their way of launching was “Create a business plan”, I had a very entrepreneur role, very open. You have the platform and capital and you can run and create. I learned a lot, before I had been focused more on technological side but here I learned a lot about Sales. It was a more strategic role where I spent 9 years.

How did you leave Betfair?

After 9 years many things had changed, we went public, the way of managing the business turned to become much more centralized. I would have had to go to London or Dublin to continue to have an impact but I decided to leave.

At that time I was already really interested in Peer to Peer and On Demand and the sector Glovo is in now.

I joined forces with Oscar, a kid who just came back from the US and had the same idea. To get started we became part of Connector, an accelerator, a group of mentors with Carlos Blanco.

How was this experience with you?

When you start out it’s a good place. A secure place to start. In the beginning Glovo was a text field — you introduced what you wanted delivered and to which address.

“Bring me a pizza from this restaurant to this address.”

We grew organically in Barcelona and Madrid, launching within an interval of 6 months. We grew without marketing by giving excellent services. This allowed us in the first phase to grow — even though it was not scalable.

Then in the summer of the next year we launched Glovo Marketplace ,— with the restaurants and catalogues of products you see now.

The text box is still there, right?

Yes, it’s magic! And it’s very important that you have it. Its the WOW — it’s these the orders that you comment to your friends. You won’t talk about having received a pizza delivery but something custom, yes.

User Experience is everything. It’s not the App but everything : the service to the customer, the speed of delivery.

More than weird things that are bought and delivered, I am surprised by the quantity of things like keys. Kids get home from school and forget their keys so their parents send a Glovo or Real Estate agents and Airbnb renters who use Glovo to send keys.


Here at Camaloon we’ve tried different providers. Now we are at a 2% of cases in which packages do not arrive. Lost packages, accidents…You really don’t have ?

Yes but you don’t control the transportation chain. There are different delivery providers involved and the user might not be at home when the package arrives. But at Glovo it’s the opposite. We have control and it’s in demand.

Glovo is sharing economy. Were you sure from teh beginning that you wnated to have an external fleet of riders?

For me sharing economy is a project between individuals. Sharing living space or a garage between two peers. We are economy on-demand. This is very different – here is a peer and a professional involved. We are a marketplace with professional sellers and the delivery is done by a professional, freelancer.

There are two arguments in the discussions: Flexibility and liquitidy to everybody and on the other side, precarity and worsening of the job conditions, giving control to one industry over a lot of workers.

I don’t think so. The big majority is not looking for a fixed, full time position so we combine it. Glovo is not the work of your life. It can be something nice to do but it’s not the main aspiration.

Somebody who has been working many years in a restaurant kitchen, small space, no air, as a Glover possible to make the same.

How much does a Glover make?

It depends on the city and the volume of orders — 5 /6 € per order and in high times the average is serving two orders per hour.


What do you earn then?

Commission and fee that the user pays, minimum 1,90 Euro.

Would it make sense to have Glovo with own riders like DHL?

This would mean changing the dynamics. Flexibility would not exist anymore — it’s something we would have to look into. It’s an option but at the moment we are compliant with the current model.

What’s the trade-off by dealing with big funds?

Dilution. But I think it’s about choosing the right partners.

What about Rakuten? Why did they join Glovo?

Because it’s a company which has a vision about the sector Glovo is operating in. Rakuten is the Amazon of Japan — they are very interested in on-Demand, they entered the taxi market with an investment in Cabity. I see them as a very good partner, I hope in the future they will continue.

Next steps: Latin America, reaching more cities and becoming leader where we operate and we are looking for other cities like Istanbul, Cairo, Bucharest…Each one very different but we see a big opportunity.

Jump to the podcast to hear the end of the conversation with Sacha:


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Sacha Michaud’s journey and his perspective on entrepreneurship and startups. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.

Albert Domingo between Services & Investment on our Podcast #40

On itnig’s Podcast #40 Albert Domingo, CEO at NexTReT and partner at itnig takes us on a journey through his experiences as business creator but also investor and shares his point of view on project evaluation with us.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon speak with Albert Domingo about his experiences and learnings and his advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.


I would like to start telling the story about how we met Albert, our first investor at itnig. This story is closely linked to my own story as Bernat. While I was studying computer science at university I did a three months internship at NexTReT, a software company from Barcelona, Albert’s company.

I realized this was not for me and later set out to create itnig. When at itnig we decided to start our own business, I knew we needed funding but I had no idea where to go so I thought about my internship and went to see the founder and director, Albert Domingo. During my time as intern I had never met him but with this idea, very far from reality we eventually got to know each other. Albert Domingo told me very nicely that NO, he was not interested in investing but however we improved and improved the business plan and idea and eventually got to partner up.

This company was Camaloon, Albert invested and told people in his network about it and we were able to close a funding round with 12 partners.

One thing that Albert told me will always stay with me. It grounded me:

When I invest, I am sure about one thing: If I loose my capital, the entrepreneur looses his health.

He told me this very seriously, I got scared but more than anything this sentences has marked me. 7 years later his words are still in my mind — His message was very clear. Commitment and dedication are very important for Albert.

Albert, what is your story? What did you study and how did you create NexTReT?

I studied engineering and then worked in two companies, the last one in network solutions. When at this time, I made propositions of improvements I did not get very far. I decided to set out on my own, reached an agreement of 5 years with my university and this helped me get to met really good professionals. In 1993 there was a huge crisis in Spain and I was still able to reach new clients so I thought to myself: ”If I can do this now in this time, imagine what this could mean in a good economic time in Spain.”

This was the beginning of NexTReT. Our first client was Esade, then an ex-professor of mine moved to La Caixa, later we reached an agreement with TV3, and so step by step we reached a good client base offering our services in informatic systems and infrastructure. Our promise to the CEO is that their information technology will work, no matter the time of day.

Progressively the company grew, now we are 12 partners.

When I met people interested in creating their own business, I was always ready to help. Share my own experience. I like to share and to add value. That’s how I started to get involved with entrepreneurs, because I think there can be many things to start businesses. In 1999 I got involved in a project doing my first investment.

I have invested in many occasions but for me the investment is consequence of sharing. The order is: Getting to know somebody, and only when I feel good about somebody and trust this person, and I see that the person is committed (it’s not about leading an unhealthy life) we can take a step further into investing. Commitment is fundamental.

Commitment is fundamental, in all things in life.

If a person is not committed, no problem, but there won’t be an investment from my side. For me the first thing I look for is mutual trust, then I need to believe that I can add value and lastly the entrepreneur has to see me as adding value. However, investment is my hobby. my life and work is NexTReT and investment is my hobby.

You say you look for entrepreneurs who are committed to their businesses and don’t just leave their projects. Do you believe that there are some occasions when you see that it goes no further?

Yes, of course. There are times when it does not make sense to pursue. You need to know how to loose and when to stop. Right now for example I am in a similar situation with a great entrepreneur from Valladolid. I told the kid you need to stop. You gave it your all. You did the possible, we have lost the project and the investment but you need to stop and dedicate your talent to other projects.

There are two Albert Domingo — Albert Domingo from NexTReT and Albert Domingo outside of NexTReT. You say investment is a hobby to you but you dedicate a lot of your time. How do you organize your daily life?

My daily life evolves around NexTReT but of course I always manage my calendar myself. I have my family, my hobbies and organize my life around it.

AT NexTReT we have a General Director, we have a clear organizational structure and the business already works very smoothly. I maintain contact with our clients — that’s where I see my contribution.

What companies are you involved with now?

I don’t need to mention itnig’s startups right? To come back to the beginning of our conversation actually: I don’t remember having told you No but I do remember how we met.

Bernat was a kid who told me he wanted to create a business to sell buttons online. I had never bought buttons but he seemed to be a good kid.

Yes of course I am involved in other companies.The last project for example is a company that automizes vending machines, the decision was very quick, I liked the entrepreneur, it’s an innovative idea and a partner of mine is involved.

What is your advice to an entrepreneur who is looking to talk to you? What are you looking for in a project and in a entrepreneur?

I might not be in line with other business angels but for me, personally, I have a kind of order of what I look for.

First, there needs to be trust, I need to see brilliance in the person, I want to share in the project with other people and lastly I look at the project where I look for potential, a clear market and past accomplishments.

If somebody has a clear idea and wants to share it with me, I am happy to listen. If you look for it you will always find time.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Albert Domingo’s journey and his perspective on investment and entrepreneurship. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.

Podcast #39 Jesús Monleón’s 1001 stories

In itnig’s Podcast #39 you’ll hear from Jesús Monleón and his story of entrepreneurship: Cofounder of eMagister, Seedrocket, Offerum, Glamourum, early team member of Trovit and active investor with invested entreprises like Captio, Tiendeo, Redbooth and Mailtrack.

Bernat Farrero, CEO at itnig, Jordi Romero, CEO at Factorial and Juan Rodríguez, CEO at Camaloon speak with Jesús Monleón about his experiences and learnings and his advice for fellow entrepreneurs. Listen to our podcast on Youtube, iTunes or iVoox.


Jesús Monleón, how did you start?

I studied Business Administration and when I was at university I was curious about starting my own business. At that time, around 1996, at university we got an Internet connection and as I had started to think about creating a job portal I found out about Infojobs. I saw they were close by so I went and met Iván Martínez and Nacho González-Barros at the university campus in Cerdanyola.

Later I started working in the financial sector, but I quickly realized that this was not for me so I left and decided to create a business with my cousins.

This is when emagister.com — a search site for classes — was born in 1999.

Why emagister?

I thought to myself “If Infojobs went well, what I can do that is related?” At that time there were a lot of educational offers in the newspaper and everybody was already talking about how Internet was going to change education.

The first thing I thought was that to start out we need a team and so I gathered my cousins: I was the oldest with 22 years and then there were my cousin Juán Ramón, who was an engineer, another cousin Jordi Castellò had studied economics and Monica joined us in administration / finance.

We already knew each other, we even had created an ice cream kiosk at High School together.

We found our first investor and now really had to think about how to get this started. That’s when I remembered Grupo Intercom and called them up. And we set out to work. Our expectations were far from reality: In the first year we made 600 Euro in revenue, our prevision was of 6 Million Euro.

We had traffic, we knew that people were confirming classes through emagister but we hadn’t yet figured out how to monetize it.

Thousand of tests later, we still had no business model and we had given ourselves a year to get this working. Through an outside input to change our contact forms and ways to connect schools & students, we switched to a model based on leads. That’s when emagister takes off. We had traffic, a working business model and very few competitors. This was the beginning in 2001.

What did you do after emagister?

From my experience at emagister I saw that being part of a startup was tough and my impression at that time was that Internet was a bluff, entrepreneurship was shit, and only investors are winning.

So I went into the financial sector to make some money. I moved on to La Caixa’s Venture Capital department. With a team of four people we were searching for Catalan operations for the bank. I got tired after a while and needed some more action. I was part of the start of the bank’s Venture Capital department for entrepreneurs — a very interesting experience with very good investments — and decided to start again. That’s when I met the Trovit team and joined them.

At Trovit everybody was very techy, we were making money with adsense, my role lay in business development. First we sold Banners and then set up a pay per click system. I built up our commercial team.

Trovit went very well. It’s a good business. A company generating EBITDA.

*laughing*

As an entrepreneur but also from the other side as investor I have learned that investors are not my friends. As an entrepreneur I want to drive the company, drive the bus and want the investor to join the journey, to hop on the bus but not to interfere with me driving.

I don’t like to depend on investors. Investors are not your friends.

Years later I founded Seedrocket, as something I would have like to have when I started out with emagister. Seedrocket is an association without profit focus, we are a group of friends who have known each other for a long time and work together.

I was looking for people who could help me with their experience and place . a minority investment.

In 2007 I met Vicente Arias from Softonic, Grupo Intercom, and we talked about creating an incubator or investment fund. We were looking at YCombinator and Seedcamp models, just when YCombinator was starting out in the US. So we invested small amounts of money, 20.000 Euro, in three projects, offered offices and mentorship. I was looking for people who have had experiences creating companies, sharing what they have learned not in technical terms but more about relationships with cofunders, investors…somebody who has gone through the same as the entrepreneur.

The accelerator business model is really hard and I saw it would lead me to do things i was not fond of like selling to big corporates. So we are just a club of friends.

Follow the rest of his story and reflections in the podcast:

And today, what is your day to day life like?

I am spending my day on the phone. Basically spending my time on Seedrocket for founders fund, talking to entrepreneurs all day and to my own small investments. Spending my time talking to the different business.

Today I live off my own investments. It started out as ahobby and evolved into investments who have brought high returns.

As an entrepreneur, what do you recommend? How to start a technological project?

First thing, find a team. And then, launch.

Find the best team. This does not have to be a guru, nor the most experienced person but good people.

How do you define good people?

There are people with a certain talent and attitude.

I don’t mean technological capacities — Especially if the founding team are able to gather smart people around them and give less experienced people the chance to learn. This was amazing at Offerum, the team was growing with the company. When you are 23 years old, you don’t have any experience, everything you do is for the first time, but some people have a certain talent, a capacity that can be build out.

The hardest is finding good people. And there is no manual. And what is ‘good’ is hard to define.

Even talking to professional investors, the topic of good people has no answer. I think it boils down to ‘perception’, the perception you have of the person.

What is the last investment that you are crazy about?

Tuvalum — a bike marketplace.I like it because it combines SEO and a marketplace, of demand and offer, which gives room to arbitrage. It’s a very interesting project now and I believe it’s replicable internationally. In 3 years I have no idea how I will see it, this is pretty random but at the moment I really like it.


Listen to our podcast to learn more about Jesús Monleón and emagister’s journey. Learn more in this Podcast in Spanish on our Youtube channel, listen to it on iTunes or enjoy it through iVoox and subscribe to our newsletter to stay always up to date.

Composing the ‘n!’ sound

 

There is always a moment in my daily life at itnig when a startup asks for a video. Sometimes it’s an ad, sometimes an event, sometimes it’s just a tutorial, but no matter what it is, it comes with the need of creating a sound that represents the company and can be played at the start of the video along with the appearance of their corporate logo.

This short sound must represent their essence, it has to have their DNA reflected somehow: a representation of their values, their culture or maybe even something related to their name or logo. It is mainly an artistic process that requires inspiration but in some cases the startup name and culture is geeky enough to allow some rational thinking into the music composition process. Last week I crafted the sound for our startup Factorial, inspired by the mathematical operation their name represents.

Assigning values to notes and choosing the first note

Putting a mathematical operation into sound requires a bit of imagination as well as a set of rules to get started. The first step was assigning values to notes. I decided to assign C4 the value 1. It is the middle key in a piano and also the middle C according to the International Pitch Notation so it seamed and appropriate value for that key.
Piano keys, notes and assigned values
Now we had to decide which factorial operation to represent. That is, choosing an x to which we would perform x! and represent it. Being the startup name Factorial and given that it starts with an F, it made sense to perform the operation on F4, the first F we would find after C4.

Performing the n! operation

Now that we had chosen to start at F4 we just had to assign notes to the operands in the operation and put them in the score.

4! = 4*3*2*1 = F4 E4 D4 C4

Now we had a simple downwards scale without much musical interest but how could we enrich the melody and still make it part of the factorial operation?

Making the middle operations sound too

As we manually start to calculate the factorial operation of a number and before we get the result, we obtain partial operands that are part of the process. How would the melody sound if we added those partcial numbers to the score?

The size of the partial operands makes the need to place them on a staff above obvius. Also because of the sequentiality of the operation we put the partial operands once we have been able to obtain the result, that is after the first note and while the second note is playing.

The first partial operand is obtained after multiplying F4 and E4 wich is the same as 4*3 which equals 12 that represents a G5 if we check the keyboard note to number assignation.

F4 * E4 * D4 = G5 * D4 = 12 * 2 = 24 = E7

If we keep calculating we obtain the note E7, which is the result of multiplying F4 * E4 * D4.

Finally, we obtain the same E7 after multiplying the previous result by C4, which has the value 1.

Final result

If you are curious to listen to how this mathematical representation of the factorial operation sounds like, play the video below.