12 octobre 2016 Culture

If you love somebody, set them free

Par Antonio Bonuccelli

“If you love somebody, set them free”. This is what it feels like working at Elastic, to be loved, to be free.

At previous work tenures I have always somewhat suffered the requirement of having to be in the office to do my work and always dreamed I could just work anywhere I wanted. Once you prove yourself to your manager, team and company, trust is established, everyone is on the same page on what are the objectives to achieve and expectations are set, there shouldn’t be a substantial reason for being denied to do so. End of the day it’s “quid pro quo” and if everyone is happy, people can only give their best to their work peers, to their managers, to their company  and last but not least to their customers.

These were the days before joining Elastic, right now I think of these as a previous life.

Elastic Support is a family: this means we share joys and pains, trust is established and each of us will step in and help out when any one is in need, whatever the reason.

Since we’re all distributed, I honestly believe it couldn’t be otherwise, the toy would just break apart. No one is expected to be baby-sat, micro-managed, or be told how to achieve objectives (common sense applies); we are all experts, each in his or her own domain of knowledge.

As we are pretty much all distributed across the globe, great tools like Zoom help us being more connected and bring us closer to each other. This does make a huge difference over using just cold plain-text chat or emails: we are human beings and we have a need for being social. As any other office based worker, we do have coffee together and talk about whatever over work breaks. Once we also had a little “hat party” :-)

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Of course, every now and then we feel the need to gather and discuss in person all the things that can help us be a better team, provide better support to our customers, review and innovate our practices and remind ourselves to keep having fun.

This is more or less what our support gathering within the broader engineering all hands looked like about a year ago in Barcelona:

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Since then our team has almost doubled in size, this picture below was taken a couple of weeks ago in our latest engineering all hands in Prague:

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Looking back at when I’ve joined our support team in September 2014 our team has grown fast, from 6 engineers to 34 (+566%) and this is a tremendous testament to the growth of our user base and to the success of our products, of which we’re all incredibly proud.

As the Elastic Stack scales smoothly the need to handle your data, from collection to consumption, so do we with our culture and values as the company grows.

We all know “all work and no play makes Tony™ a dull boy,” so it is imperative to keep having fun and we’re certainly enabled to do so, with the right tools ;-)

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Given all the above, I have had the chance to work very independently and explore planet earth, like I could never do before: so on my first year anniversary at Elastic I did ask my manager “Can I go and work from Asia for a few months?” The answer was a big capital letters “YES!”

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After seeing his dancefloor performance at the last Elastic{ON} party

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I am not that much surprised he allowed me to do so, but taking incredible things for granted is the last of the mistakes one wants to make.

So I did have the chance to achieve one of my dreams, visit the other side of the world, spend a few months discovering the unknown, see friends there that I hadn’t seen in ages, explore different cultures and all the amazing things that travel can bring to our life, making it richer.

Asia always fascinated me for the very different cultures you can find there, also I have several all-time friends who live there, so this was a great chance to go and see them.

And I did fabulous things like:

meeting my colleagues for dinner in wonderful Tokyo

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exploring stunning floating markets and temples in Bangkok

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snake tasting in massive Shanghai

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making monkeys jealous by drinking delicious coconut in Malaysia

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enjoying the most amazing beaches in Bali

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And the list goes on...

I could do this while working, only thanks to the amazing culture we have at Elastic. A culture that entails supporting each other and be true team players, a culture which is enforced every day by all of us. As I was away from EMEA timezones (where I am normally based), I had the chance to work with my Asia-Pacific based peers and get to know our customers in that part of the world; during this time, my European colleagues stepped in and covered me without hesitation, like true friends: this is just amazing.

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Though, as we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. Being a totally distributed team (we do have offices but there is no true geographical center), we are all required to be effective communicators, to self-manage ourselves, to reach out with no hesitation when in need and what have you.

If all the above sounds interesting, if you have passion for the open source world, our products and would like to join an all-star team, check out our openings, your dream job might be waiting for you just around the corner.