Meet Cake: this is Xavier

By Davy Kestens

We’re a fully remote team of about 25 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 Xavier.

Name: Xavier Vanhoutte
Role: Market Data Analyst
Making Cake since: June 2021
Location: Mechelen, Belgium

Tell us about your workspace picture

My girlfriend and I have been working from home since March 2020 and, initially, we rotated our working spaces between the kitchen table and the spare bedroom. However, after several months, we realised we would be working from home for a while. We decided to change the spare bedroom into a full-time office and added an impromptu desk to the bedroom so we could have two separate work spaces to accommodate the seemingly endless conference calls. Luckily, I got the desk in the spare bedroom.😇

After 1,5 years of remote working, I had no issues adapting to Cake’s no-office policy, and because I enjoy playing some video games in my free evenings, my desk is probably the place where I spent most of my time. 

If I am being completely honest, I have to admit that my desk doesn’t usually look quite so neat. Over the past year, I have already developed some bad habits, like eating at my desk, so usually you will find an empty muesli bowl, my coffee thermos and several snack wrappers on there as well. 

As mentioned before,  you can sometimes find me letting off steam by playing video games. Luckily, the ultra-wide screen and gaming chair are also very useful for work, so I like to think I have the perfect work and play desk. 

Aside from my desk, you’ll notice I sit next to a bookcase containing a wide selection of books on economics, politics, psychology, philosophy and… fantasy, which I only ever get the chance to read during my holidays breaks.

Next year, we will be moving to our new house with a dedicated working from home office, so maybe this post will be revisited.

What do you do at Cake?

I was asked to describe what a typical work day at Cake looks like for me, but I feel that a “typical work day” and “Cake” are somewhat paradoxical… I will try though!

Most days start with a status meeting, sometimes accompanied by a snippet of inspirational music, where everyone gives a quick overview of what they’re working on that day. For my first week, I continued a new tradition: “tour de Cake”, where I spoke to my 24 other colleagues about their Cake story; what they do and how they got here. Now that I have a general understanding of who is who, my aim is to build on our B2B insights offering, so keep an eye on our blog to get a sneak peak of the fascinating insights Jessica and I can glean from our data.

Why Cake and not another company?

I’ve always been a little rebellious, which meant I did not really thrive in hierarchical corporate environments. Luckily, Cake is very open; everyone is encouraged to give their feedback on things, even if they’re not necessarily an expert on the field. Here, they realize that a different point of view can be valuable, regardless of title, experience or expertise. 

During my “tour de Cake”, I also noticed how welcoming everyone was; despite their busy schedules, I have had several very interesting and long chats with people I’ve only just “met”. This helped me feel at home immediately.

A second reason is Cake’s mission statement. Sure, Cake is a business and wants to earn money, but this is rather a means to an end: the real mission is to help people get a grip on their personal finances. Sometimes a mission statement can ring hollow, but here at Cake, you can feel the passion for this. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s clear that this is why we all log in in the morning.

What is your first impression after your first weeks at Cake?

Cake is my first “startup” experience and whilst I had some idea as to what to expect, I was still awestruck by the passion and enthusiasm I found. I’ve already been able to speak to many of my colleagues, it was clear how they were all brimming with ideas, constantly thinking about improvements to move forward. What also struck me was that, despite all the different voices and the enthusiasm, everyone is aligned and there is a strong sense of groundedness, which helps you believe that, just maybe… 

To quote John Lennon; you may say I am a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

What’s your favorite cake?

I’m not actually a dessert kind of guy, but I can be tempted with a chocolate lava cake.

Any topping on the Cake?

Just like the best recipes, Cake is always evolving. Keep an eye out on our blog for all the latest happenings and don’t be afraid to come back. I didn’t really like carrot cake until someone added a dash of lime to it…

You might also like to read this

10 reasons to make Cake your new banking app