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“There’s the mentality that breaking something is a great way to learn”

“There’s the mentality that breaking something is a great way to learn”

Development Manager Ákos Oláh shares his story with Viafree & Viaplay. He explains what it’s like to be a developer in a true team-environment where we share both success and failure.

Ákos Oláh, Development Manager (Viafree)

 Tell us about your journey with Viafree.

I started about 1.5 year ago, which was a month after the launch of Viafree.

I first started as a developer in the Viafree team. About six months later I got the responsibility of the Viafree website, and then became Tech Lead in the fullstack development team. I am now Development Manager of the Viafree team, but my role also includes product ownership and tech lead responsibilities.

A lot of changes for a quite short period of time! Do you think you still have the possibility to stay connected to the technical sides?

The good thing about Viaplay is that everything depends on you! I love the challenge of taking on my new role as Development Manager, but I don’t want move too far away from the actual development since that’s what I love the most. Since we have a scrum master who can handle some of the managerial things, I feel like I can be a manager and still keep close to the development.

If you go back to the beginning, why did you decide to start at Viaplay?

I’m from Hungary so I didn’t know anything about Viaplay! When I got the job offer, I accepted it because I got a good vibe from Viaplay and Stockholm. And honestly, I really wanted Viaplay’s signature on my CV because I thought it would look good. Of course, it would turn out to be so much more than just a signature, because I absolutely love working here. And I love the whole ecosystem here in Stockholm and how friendly everyone is, so it’s really the perfect match for me!

What exactly makes it special to work here?

For developers, one of the most important aspects is getting to use “sexy new technologies”, and we have a great balance for that. Basically, we only use “sexy new technologies” if we have the knowledge to write a sustainable microservice system with it. If we can’t do that, we will experiment with it during Hack Days. We always like trying out new things, test them and assess the suitability. Hack Days is the perfect opportunity to test out your proof of concept: if you can deliver something and sell it the management, we will be able invest more energy into that to make it sustainable within our culture.

How different is Viaplay & Viafree from the companies you previously worked?

When I just started to work here there was a personal failure - someone made a mistake and we had a breakdown. I still don’t know who made the mistake. There’s the mentality here that breaking something isn’t always a bad thing - because it’s a great way to learn. With some of my previous employers, there has always been a ‘blame game’, in which the first priority was not to fix a problem but to find the person who caused it and make them fix it. There is none of that here at all! Instead, you find out what happened and you learn from it. How can we fix this issue and make sure it doesn’t happen again? We take the responsibility as a team, both in failure and success, and there are no pointing fingers. I love that.  

What do you think is important to be successful at Viaplay & Viafree?

I think it’s important to be open towards other people and try to help them even if it’s not in your job description. To go that extra mile and create moments that matter for your colleagues. And most people at Viaplay and Viafree are like that. We really care about the product, so we can always rely on each other to help out if someone’s struggling.

In my team for example, we don’t have on call, we just have good effort. And we haven’t had a major breakdown in ages. But one Sunday, we had a breakdown and I was the only one near a computer. I worked on it for 9 hours and everyone in my team was on their phones trying to help me out. We really care about the product, so we can always rely on each other to help out if someone’s struggling - even if it is outside of work hours.

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