We’re a fully remote team of about 20 people spread across 3 countries, all working together to build Cake and improve the financial well-being of every consumer. Meet the people behind Cake in this blog series. Today, it’s up to Andy.
Name: Andy Verbunt Age: 48 Role: Cloud Software Architect Making Cake since: March 2019 Location: Werchter, Belgium
Tell us about your workspace
When we built the house, the attic was always meant to be my office. In my previous job I never got the opportunity to work from home as much as I do now though. So about a year ago I started improving the place. I bought myself a good office chair, some nice furniture and now I also have a lounge area where I can ponder about a problem, read a book or watch the news during lunch.
Last year during summer it was hot as hell, so I topped it off with air conditioning.
My life has changed completely now: no more traffic jams!
The office is littered with paraphernalia. My love for computers started in the eighties when I was a teenager. I was heavily invested in the demoscene and part of a group of dedicated friends (coders, graphics designers and musicians) that got together and just built stuff for fun!
It dawned on me that this isn’t much different from what I’m doing now! 😜 Anyway, I like to keep these things close. It makes me happy!
The picture below is my old Amiga on display in the office. Sadly, it does not work anymore.
Shout-out to Thomas, our youngest team member: that box with floppy discs is where the save icon comes from.😜
Some days, when I’m trying to fix a problem I jump out of bed and I go straight to my computer (don’t worry, I’m fully dressed when the first meeting starts). Other days, when everything is sunshine and flowers, I take the time to drink a coffee and browse the news.
In general, my workday starts when my wife leaves home for her job and I’m already at cruise speed when our daily standup video meeting begins at 9 in the morning.
The rest of the day is usually filled with a lot of development work, and a bunch of video calls to discuss features, architecture, etc.
I try to end the day without too many open issues, so I can enjoy the rest of the evening. I must say I have a hard time stopping. Most of my evenings, there’s stuff popping up in my mind, and I reach for my computer. I don’t mind and my wife doesn’t mind either so that’s fine.😁
What do you do at Cake?
Together with Laurent, I’m responsible for what we internally call “the customer domain”. This is a set of microservices that are consumed by the mobile apps to basically show all data that the Cake user is interested in. We’re talking about bank account information, insights, Rewards, onboarding, etc.
I’m particularly proud of the Rewards feature of which I built a big part. Together with the work of the data team and the integration with Revolut from Dirk’s hand, we were able to build a real-time Reward system that is quite unique and miles ahead of the competition.
Apart from that, we also manage a lot of stuff that is invisible to the user: security, performance, release management, etc. If you want to know more about what we are doing you check out this blogpost.
By start-up standards we’re quite big, but in essence, all teams are very small because there is so much ground to cover. Therefore, it is of paramount importance that everybody is on the same page, and that there is mutual trust and appreciation.
I’m happy to work in such an environment!
Why Cake and not another company?
It was october 2018 when Peter, Head of Product and co-founder, talked to me about Cake for the first time. I already knew Peter from a (long) stint at my previous company, and he was very enthusiastic about this new project which was still called “Dino” at the time. A few weeks later, we had dinner at L’Aperi Vino in Hasselt where Davy and Pieter also joined. I knew Pieter already too, so that was a nice reunion. Davy couldn’t stay for very long, but we had a nice chat. That was the first time I met him.
After that, I let it sit for a while. Who in his right mind was going to set up a financial institution anyway? I didn’t realise yet how serious they were about it, or how the cards were already stacked in our favour.
It was much later when I talked to Pieter again, and he explained to me the whole business case in more detail. I was very impressed. Every question that I had was answered in detail.
That was the turning point for me, although I realised we needed more people to pull off the job. I was able to lure in Laurent and the rest is history.😁
I still wanted to make a clean break with my previous job though. So it still took a while before I could join the team.
Looking back, I’m glad I made the right decision. I’m indebted to Davy, Peter and Pieter for being so patient. Thanks guys, I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!!
What’s your most memorable Cake moment?
Davy organized the first team event in the week that I started at Cake. I just came back from holiday and I catched a serious cold on the plane.
We had dinner at La Botte. They serve great Italian food, but I had a fever, I couldn’t taste anything and I felt bad in general.
The picture shows me in an impaired state with Yves in the background reading out loud from the deed of incorporation. So funny. 😜
The evening went from funny to hilarious. Everybody had to make impromptu speeches, and at some point there were even food fights. I still did not go back to La Botte after that. I guess they will still remember it too. 😜
Although I wasn’t feeling 100%, I will always remember this evening!
What’s your favorite cake?
I’m not a person who’s very keen on starters, so I will make up for it on desserts!
This picture is taken at a brunch in Thailand, one of my favourite holiday destinations.
Rest assured I had my fair share of that cake. There was a lot more too. 😜
Any topping on the Cake?
I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!
The corona crisis has introduced some obstacles on our roadmap, but I’m convinced that we will overcome all of them.
Also, I think we have already proven at this point that a wild plan can be successfully implemented with the right people and the right mindset. Even setting up a financial institution!
Some of the things we’ve done in a few days literally take months in other companies.
And we’ve only just started! 🚀