New Joiners Series: Welcome Dominik

Jan 17, 2023

Welcome to Giant Swarm's New Joiners Series where we get to know some of the newest members of the Swarm. This week, we meet Dominik Kress. 👋

Role: Product Owner

Most used Slack emoji:

Current location: Berlin, Germany

 About me

I started my career as a developer at a huge European retail enterprise. Coming fresh from university, I thought that every company was using agile methods, product ownership, and DevOps. But, well, they didn’t. So, early on, I started getting interested not just in programming and configuring and hosting things but also in trying to enable teams to have more ownership over their products and domains, building up communities to share what we learned, and saying no to managers that wanted to just “shortly reprioritize this small feature here that won’t take much effort, promise!”.

This led to me helping a great team as a developer to build an online shop, helping another great team as a DevLead to build the CMS platform of another online shop, migrate that platform to cloud infrastructure, and at the end, transition to a role as product owner to work with yet another great team on a Platform-as-a-Service product in the enterprise's cloud provider initiative. 

But after so much time within one enterprise, the urge to check out if the grass is really greener on the other side brought me to Giant Swarm, where I now work with an awesome team on delivering Kubernetes clusters with style!

My candidate journey and why it matters

My first contact with Giant Swarm was a couple of years back at ContainerConf in Mannheim. At that conference, we didn’t just want to show our shop platform. We also wanted to share what we learned along the way, building up an enterprise startup, reforming our culture, and enabling teams to hold full ownership over their products. But what stayed in my memory was that no matter what crazy ideas we had about how we wanted to improve our culture in the future, the folks from Giant Swarm already had some opinions, if not experience with it. 

That stuck with me, so, when an old colleague joined Giant Swarm and had the chance to see the company firsthand and tell me about it, I couldn’t resist starting talking with Mirco from Team Team. And I have to say: from the initial harmless talks, over to the more in-depth classic interview to the final "interview exercise", I have always felt really welcomed and “at home”. Since there was already an opening for a PO role, it was just a normal Giant Swarm interview process that concluded with an exercise, the results of which you have to present digitally (as with nearly everything in this remote-first company). 😀 Initially, I was a bit nervous about it, but it really helped to see what’s expected of you and gave me a good confidence boost, because I knew they didn’t just like my “job interview sales pitch” but also really liked how I would work for them in the future. And that is, in the end, why I’m here. 😀

The biggest challenge I've faced so far 

I was skeptical at first, thinking this job was purely remote and there were no offices. Especially during COVID, with a lot of companies jumping into home-office mode without having the culture to support it. There are some major issues with remote work — if you do it wrong. In my previous experience, it happened pretty fast that I was isolated and couldn’t really build up a lot of connections with co-workers. But looking at my previous encounters with Giant Swarm, I thought if this absolutely people-centric company doesn't manage to resolve this issue, who the heck could? And I was totally right. Even little things, like a random Slack channel where everyone says "hi" every morning, manage to push a lot of engagement on open channels, giving me the same "community" vibes and interactions as a typical, well-functioning office. 

My greatest source of happiness when it comes to work

People first! This is not just some trendy, hot marketing buzzword but an actually lived mantra within Giant Swarm. I’m still amazed at how simple things are going around here, how easy and fast you can get help if you need to, and how skilled the people around me are (to be honest, that’s also a bit scary at times just HOW skilled people are around here!). So everybody is not just nice, but also really clever. Having the chance to be part of this great community absolutely makes me happy! 

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