In this series of interviews, we explore some of the people behind Fortumo AKA Fortumons. This time we talked with Riina who joined Fortumo’s engineering team 6 years ago.
Riina is the Technical Lead for the Trident Bundling Platform, making sure the design and implementation of merchant-telco bundling programs launched through Fortumo meet the highest standards. If you’re looking for a new challenge, head over to our Careers Portal.
When and why did you decide to join Fortumo?
I joined Fortumo in 2015. At the time I was looking for a job where I could deal with product development, not just produce code.
I have always enjoyed working with large-scale systems, which includes dealing with large amounts of data, parallel processing, scalability and performance topics. And I want my work to have meaning and goal, I enjoy working with ambitious and smart people, who want to make a difference.
Fortumo ticked all the boxes.
How would you describe Fortumo’s work culture?
In Fortumo we manage to bring company values alive. We are open, honest and transparent, we value open communication and having a flat organization. We are one team, we have common goals towards which we work, and success and failure are team’s success and failure.
Fortumo engineers always challenge the status quo. We value engineers who have a good understanding of our business and care about their work being useful. All of this allows us to move quickly and make rapid changes when needed.
Do you feel your work is global?
Fortumo customers are merchants all over the world, including some of the biggest names in the digital industry. As our merchants are global and industry leaders, our services need to match global needs as well.
From the technical perspective this includes several aspects: our products need to be up and running 24/7 and be reliable, meet high availability requirements. We need to be able to scale up quickly, in case of traffic spikes. We need to have an understanding of the legislation of all the countries in which our merchants (and by extension, Fortumo) are operating and solve localization related issues.
Our platform is integrated with hundreds of merchants and telecom companies across the world. So, our work is truly global both in terms of the technical standards that we need to meet as well as having a global customer base.
Why have you picked fintech as the sector to work in?
What I like about fintech is that this field requires precision. People don’t appreciate mistakes when their money is involved.
This translates into having more impact in every line of code and requires more understanding of the overall business flow from every engineer. I personally find this very rewarding, having meaning and consideration behind my work, and being part of forging out the bigger system.
What are the key elements in building a successful team?
Motivated and capable people. Good two-way communication, both inside the team and between team and external parties. So that everyone understands and is engaged with achieving common goals.
Secure atmosphere inside the team, so that everyone feels free and encouraged to share their thoughts.
At the same time, a healthy attitude towards constructive criticism: don’t hide away mistakes. Try to learn from them.
How has your experience working in Fortumo differed from working in other companies?
Fortumo’s culture is quite unique. In engineering, we put lots of effort into challenging each other’s ideas and reviewing the ways that we do things today in order to be better tomorrow.
Everyone is encouraged to speak up and point out shortcomings that we should address and propose improvements.
What has been similar in all the teams where I have worked: people in the IT industry are great. The best. Honestly.
Tell us your craziest or funniest Fortumo story so far?
I always hope that the craziest, funniest and most exciting things are still ahead of me…
But one bright memory: I broke my arm basically on the same day when I was to start preparations for the first Amazon bundling integration on our Trident Platform. A broken arm is pretty bad for a software engineer – no keyboards for you…
But looking back at it now, maybe these 5 to 6 weeks in a plaster cast was the moment when I really had to pull together my leadership skills (I was not a Technical Lead at that time yet) to make others do what I couldn’t do myself.
I decided not to take sick leave, but carry on with the project, making technical designs in my head and delegating the “quick fingers” part to others. And I am quite happy with where this has taken me today.
If you want to join the team, peek at our open positions.