Meet Cake: Thomas revisited

By Davy Kestens
Thomas Stegen

About a year ago we published an interview with Thomas. At that time he was living in Germany. With a detour via France, he now lives in Brazil. Time to catch up with him!

Name: Thomas Stegen
Age: 23
Role: Data Scientist
Making Cake since: October 2019
Location: São Paulo, Brazil

Give us a heads up! What happened since the last time we spoke?

After spending some time in the outskirts of Paris, we went to Brazil for the holidays. At first the plan was to stay only three weeks, that soon became three months, and by now it has already been over four months that we are living here. 

We will return to Europe by the end of May, however. At least, that’s the plan.😅
First we will be staying in Belgium for a bit, and afterwards we’ll move back to Germany where we have lived before.

My desk has therefore changed quite a few times already in the past months and all my work equipment (like mouse/keyboard/screen) took quite some space and weight in our luggages, but anything to be more productive!

The yoga dogs are a nice little extra.

What’s your current role at Cake?

In the year and a half I have been with Cake, my role has changed a lot. 

I initially started with the data-enrichment part of the company. Later I worked with partners to optimise our data reporting. To really explore all parts of the company, I moved to working on the features of the application itself, and am now slowly moving into the productization of our B2B product. In the meantime I keep some of the core responsibilities I picked up over time, like managing our data enrichment and testing through our application!

Generally, I just try to figure out which things can be improved with small efforts but that deliver big value. Whether it is in communication, product features or internal functioning, I want to make things better with relatively low effort changes!

How do you now, one (corona) year later, feel about Cake as an employer?

In my previous interview, I talked a lot about the flexibility that the job offers, and I think in the months following that, I really saw it in practice even more.😇

I have worked around in different segments of the company by now, trying to grasp the basic concepts of all parts of the business. For my personal development, this has proven a massive asset!

Cake allowed me to go work remotely in Brazil, without even making the slightest problem of it. Although initially I was always sceptical about companies offering ‘flexibility in the job’, I feel like Cake is a company that can really deliver on this aspect. Inside or outside the workspace. 

They allowed me to even keep my own hours, but I figured I liked to work on the same schedule as my colleagues more. As a result, I do get up really early every day!

In my first few weeks in Brazil, I woke up at 5am to work a few hours until I had Portuguese class from 9AM to 1PM, when I got back home, I continued to work the rest of my hours. It’s really a balance of giving flexibility but also getting it back.

Besides that, for me, it feels amazing working in a company that is so alive, every few months we take a new turn or a new big project comes up. From laying the foundations of our Cake consumer app, to building our B2B product to now working on the first Cake for Banks integration with Argenta Bank

Within the team we often say it’s truly a rollercoaster. Luckily, I enjoy the adrenaline! 🎢

What’s your most memorable Cake moment since our last interview?

Well sadly, there haven’t been any very memorable moments from a social perspective due to the pandemic. 

Luckily, there have been loads of smaller memorable moments from fun online team events to just joking around in a Zoom meeting.
Next to that, the work-related progress and milestones Cake has, are always memorable moments as well.

One moment that was memorable in it’s own way was when Peter, our initial Head of Product, moved on from the company at the beginning of this year. I did my first job interview with him and later on, he was a mentor to me. It was the very first time I experienced someone leaving a job who I worked closely with.

But as a team, we worked together to make sure he had a memorable farewell on his last day. And he’s still an active member of our inspiration board.

I also already learned from that experience, that sometimes it’s just part of the job, and I embraced the change to work better and harder to fill the gaps he left behind.

Any tips for a tasty Brazilian cake?

Oh yes! This thing on the picture below: Bolo de Brigadeiro. Made with a Brazilian thing they call ‘Brigadeiro’. It’s basically cocoa powder with condensed milk, completely irresponsibly unhealthy, but very tasty. My girlfriend surprised me with this one for my birthday here in Brazil and it was for sure the best cake I have ever tasted!

Any topping on the Cake?

I’m super excited about what’s ahead at Cake in the coming months. The projects I’m currently working on are incredibly exciting, and I’m sure that once our first Cake for Banks implementation is up and running, there will be more great things to come! 

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