Almost three years ago, in February 2017, I joined CINTEO as Frontend Engineer.
Never heard of it? Don't worry.
It was bought up and renamed the same year. Now it is called Mercedes-Benz.io. You likely have heard about the new owner (Daimler AG).
Now, it is time for me to move on.
I want to take the chance to reflect on what happened.
2017 - From CINTEO to Mercedes-Benz.io
How did I end up with CINTEO in the first place?
In hindsight, this story is a bit funny.
So there was that one father of my daughter's kindergarten convincing me to apply at „dmc, dmc, dmc”. That is, the commerce department at diconium. So I did.
At the same time, I was contacted by a headhunter via Xing and had an interview with her. She was so motivated and wanted to get me in touch with that small company called CINTEO. They have an awesome culture and working with some of the latest technology in the market. So I told her to negotiate there for me.
By the time I received a confirmation, that my job application was under consideration at diconium / dmc, I already had an job interview with CINTEO.
It felt so right there, I hadn't have second thought but signed the contract shortly after. Like, it ticked all the boxes which were important to me.
Who was CINTEO?
CINTEO was founded as a cooperation between Daimler AG and a local agency called diconium. The agency owned the company and the only client was Daimler AG.
I can't go into details due to my working contract. So I summarise what you could learn from the press.
What did we work on?
We were building digital products for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars. If you want to take a look, visit Mercedes-Benz.de or other country-code top-level-domains. Next to it is eCommerce. I was involved in that area most of my time.
Obviously we did a great job, because a couple of months later we got bought up. Shortly before, the company got renamed. But let me focus on a different aspect first.
How was CINTEO organised?
CINTEO is different. You might have heard of „New Work“. CINTEO was organised in a form called Holacracy®. We were not organised in the classical hierarchy, but in so called circles. You didn't fill positions, but roles. You didn't wait for your manager to tell you what to do, but were selforganised.
I could subscribe CINTEO's values almost wholeheartedly:
- Being self-organised and professional
- Being purpose- and outcome-driven
- Being reliable, trustworthy and respectful
- Being courageous and initiatively
- Being team-oriented and collaborative
- Being transparent and communicative
At the time I joined, we were about 70 people. Next to me there were three other Frontend Engineers. As mentioned before, I was working in the eCommerce section. The only one of our company. The rest in that area were with diconium. My colleagues worked on our websites.
To be honest, the situation was a bit messy at CINTEO, but I'm okay with finding my way through stuff.
The transformation begins
Then, in fall of 2017, our MD called us to a townhall where he announced, that the company got the permission to be renamed. As of then, we would be called Mercedes-Benz.io.
A couple of weeks later Daimler bought Mercedes-Benz.io.
With this move, both of our Managing Directors were exchanged. One of the new one stopped by during the end-of-the-year-party and started together with a second new one in early 2018.
2018 - Everything stays different
In beginning of 2018 I tried to get out of my main role as Frontend Engineer.
I was working on a part of our shop before I was assigned to a greenfield project which eventually became a backoffice application for sellers.
Since we were eager to try out new frameworks, but I lacked experience in any of them, we relied on the freelancer and went with Angular 4. In the next weeks I learnt the framework, TypeScript and RxJS. It took me quite a while to wrap my head around it.
I learnt, that this is not the way I want to do web development.
Especially Angular feels like overkill. It forces you to do things in a certain way no matter whether you agree with it or not. TypeScript is considered a saviour by so many in our industries. To me, it raises the barriere to introduction. I rather would like to have it as a linting step instead of a compiler. RxJS is popular, because people want to be able to reuse promises (ever heard of callbacks?). I still haven't grokked it. But I can adapt it from working implementations of other parts of the code base.
So I tried to change something. At our company we had mentors called Advocates. Those are colleagues whom you trust. They were meant to help you if you are struggling with relationships or similiar.
So she did.
We agreed upon taking some of my assigned time to try test automation and quality assurance. Look, I'm a pity guy, so I can spot issues quite fast. Plus, we lost our tester (hi Issac *waves) in January and had no replacement.
Long story short: The tool our QA circle was using had a CLI, but the whole documentation relied on screenshots of the GUI at that time. So instead I hacked around my way with Gherkin / Cucumber and Selenium. It worked. Kind of. By now, I can see other engineers picking up my work.
In mid October, we started insourcing web analytics. Formerly, an agency was responsible for it and the leadership decided to move the knowledge inhouse. There were two roles planned in the beginning: Digital Analyst and Analytics Engineer.
The former would talk to product owners and stake holders to evaluate what kind of data was needed and would take care of reporting. The latter was responsible for the implementation and would talk to Frontend Engineers about providing the data in a structured format.
Since I had quite some experience with front-end technology and lacked business knowledge on the other hand, I agreed upon starting as Analytics Engineer with the prospect of transitioning into an Analyst role later. My hope was into applying some statistics knowledge from university to real-world problems. Plus, technical people were harder to find that people with business knowledge (go figure :-)).
Since I only was responsible for implementing analytics as part of my former job, I spent the first week with reading into the matter and set up organisational stuff. There is so much you can learn about the topic, that I scratched the surface of some of them. Hopefully I would find the time later on to dig deeper into it.
2019 - Love it, change it or leave it
In 2019 new colleagues joined our workforce. That meant I could receive some feedback on the quality of my documentation. Since we also learned the setup from employees of bespoken agency, it meant hitting the ground running for them.
Our salary talk didn't met my expectation (can't go more into details), but perhaps the next one would be better. Basically, my transition turned out to be a roadblock for me here. The written confirmation I received a couple of weeks later was a standard one, but felt cynically.
Then several internal things happened. I don't want to talk about them in public. They made me open to contact requests on Xing at least. Normally I decline, because I use to be happy in my job. In the end, I had several job applications running in parallel. They didn't went as well as with the one which landed me at CINTEO, but that's also lessons to learn. That month was really hard for me. It felt somehow like betraying my colleagues because I didn't tell anybody but tried to act as usual. Only few asked what's up with me. I guess, some more at least noticed.
For handing in my termination I prepared well to make the paper safe. Then I asked two colleagues to act as witnesses. Those were the first to learn about it.
Next were my closest colleagues, i.e. those in the same circle. Then I told my colleagues at Daimler. Everytime people were literally shocked. Look, I normally don't complain and make up things with myself. My planning takes quite some time, but its execution happens rapidly.
During my vacation our Managing Directors informed the whole staff. Later on I've learned that not everybody took notice, so I wrote a resignation letter. People thanked me for the honest words in it.
Not even a month left in this company. I will miss them.
Nevertheless I am confident that my decision was the right thing to do.