Meet Cake: this is Frederik

By Davy Kestens

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 Frederik.

Name: Frederik Voordeckers
Age: 28
Role: Front-end Developer
Making Cake since: January 2019
Location: Hoeselt, Belgium

Tell us about your workspace picture

Since we always work remotely, I usually work from home and go to a co-working space or coffee bar about twice a week. At least, I did, before they all closed down due to the local corona measures. This means that working remotely now means working from home all the time. As you can see in the picture, I’m getting a little help from Neal, my 1,5-year-old son. He can be quite a distraction when it comes to getting work done. That’s why I moved my desk into a separate room quickly after he was born. Sometimes he still stops by to show me how my computer really works. 👶

Every morning at 9 am, the development team starts with a daily “stand up” meeting. Which is more of a “sit down” call in our case since it’s a Zoom call. 😄 We discuss the priorities, what we’ll do next and possible obstacles we might be facing. After that, I usually eat a chocolate waffle, grab a cup of forest fruit tea and check Monday —this is the online project management tool we use across the company— to see the latest updates on all the features we are working on. After that, I continue developing on the feature I was working on. At the end of the day, I update all my projects in Monday with the latest information so all my colleagues are up to date.

What do you do at Cake?

I’m responsible for the front-end development of the Cake-for-Business platform, the admin portal but also other things like our data visualizations and even the email templates.  

The Cake-for-Business platform is the place where partners can create and manage campaigns for customer acquisition and loyalty. It’s also via this platform that they can look up reports and detailed insights based on the anonymised and aggregated data of Cake users.

The admin portal is an interface that is used by several Cake teams. Our data team uses it to manage the categorization and enrichment of all financial transactions. Our business team needs it to make sure the Cake commercial partners create valid campaigns. And our legal team uses it to validate users and transactions. 

The only front-end development that is out of my hands, is the Cake website. That one is managed by our almighty webmaster, our CEO, Davy Kestens himself. 💪 (Although I’m sure he wants to hand it over to someone else as soon as possible.)

My job consists of a lot of different things and the fun part about all this, is to see it all come together. As a front-end developer, I am highly dependent on all the other developers that structure data and create APIs to make it accessible to the front-end. This is actually the first company where I have worked that the entire process of creating a new feature goes this smooth. There is no constant back-and-forth between people in different positions when it comes to decisionmaking. The team members involved simply huddle together whenever needed to quickly find a solution that works for everyone, allowing each team member to immediately get on the same page. As a result, more often than not, a proper long-term decision is made, often preventing future challenges that you would typically only encounter at a later stage.

Why Cake and not another company?

Before joining Cake, I was actually just promoted to the position of Front-end Development Lead and Technical Product Owner at my previous employer. I worked hard for this and I was incredibly proud to get the promotion. I had awesome colleagues and I worked in a great environment. So, why the heck did I leave? 

First of all, I feel it’s a tremendous opportunity being able to work on something as disruptive as Cake, right from the start.  To see a product like ours grow and change the rules of an age-old industry is amazing. If you can start something new, from scratch, without a legacy infrastructure to deal with and above all, if you believe in the idea, you shouldn’t doubt it. So I never did!

Another reason is that I already knew 3 of the co-founders at Cake. I knew Tom and Jessica because they also used to work at my previous employer. I also knew Peter who used to manage a project at KBC bank that our current lead Android developer and I were working on at the time. I loved working with them before, so it was great to be able to work with all of them again as one team.

Last but not least, I joined Cake because of the flexibility and trust they give me. I have the flexibility to organise my work as it works best for me. In our company values, it’s described as “craft your own cubicle”. This flexibility allows me to create the perfect life-balance to get things done, both in my work and in my private life.

To me, this freedom is also a sign of trust, which makes me even more productive.

What’s your most memorable Cake moment?

There have been many memorable moments, even from before the company was called Cake. The search for the perfect brand name was actually quite memorable. Before we became Cake we were first Dino Saurus, then Dino and then Spencer. I believe it was Davy who had set up a Slack channel where we could put our ideas and thoughts in the search for a good name. It was amazing how many brand names we came up with and how few of them were strong and not already claimed. Our search finally ended at the advertising agency LDV United. For some things in life, you simply need to consult the experts. 😅

Another memorable moment was the moment my brother, Olivier, became involved in the whole Cake story as well. It’s terrific to be able to bring someone along on the same adventure you’re on, especially if that someone is your brother.

And of course, the team on-sites, drinks, dinners… we’ve really had a lot of good times so far comparing how young Cake really is!

What’s your favourite cake?

Hot apple cake, no doubt! Fresh out of the oven! And no, this is not an American Pie reference! There is a simple reason for this. Turns out my mom is one of the best kitchen princesses out there, especially when she makes apple pie! She won’t admit it, but Olivier can confirm. 

Any topping on the Cake?

One or two nice big scoops of vanilla ice cream!