Aug 6, 2022

Meet Kimbo — Android Developer and Android Competence Lead at Wolt

Kimbo - cover image

Our engineers build the technologies powering Wolt. We now operate in 23 countries and our apps connect millions of customers, hundreds of thousands of courier partners and tens of thousands of shops and restaurants. This means, our product teams build for scale, need to be laser-focused on customers and spend their time solving lots of interesting, complex problems. 

Kimbo is one of our Android Developers and also our Competence Lead for Android. Let’s hear more from him about what it’s like to work in our engineering team.

Hi Kimbo 👋 What do you do at Wolt?

I’m an Android Developer by morning and an Android Competence Lead by afternoon. For the morning role I make apps for Wolt — I’m working on our consumer app, so if you’ve ordered food or other goodies on Wolt, you’ll know what I’m talking about! 

In my role as a Competence Lead, I support our Android community at Wolt. This means supporting our Android developers in learning new tech, keeping our hiring standard high and arranging and facilitating meetups and knowledge-sharing sessions. The goal is to build an Android community and share knowledge within and outside of Wolt. 

So what’s your story and why did you decide to join Wolt?

Before Wolt I was working for a big tech company with a remote HQ. A lot of the decisions came from the HQ and things were very much process-driven. This was something I wasn’t particularly fond of. Wolt back then was a small startup and it had new, shiny cutting edge tech, so I knew I had to join! Actually, a good friend of mine had been working at Wolt for a year already and referred me.

I joined in 2018 and there were less than 130 people at Wolt and maybe 30 people on the product development side. Now it seems that in just a blink of an eye we’re 6000+ people here with almost 500 people in product development — we’ve definitely moved on to scaleup mode 🚀. Now it’s been 4 years since I joined Wolt and I’m still here working with that friend of mine — we’re even working in the same team!

Wow, you’ve seen Wolt grow quite a bit since then! What has changed over the years?

Well, ironically, in the beginning we were a lot less process-driven than we are now and here I am today contributing to creating those processes myself to ensure we can scale up properly! 😉 But in all seriousness, when I joined, our approaches were very pragmatic. True startup style, there was a lack of resources so people generally just did what they thought was the best for the company even if the task at hand didn’t fall under their role. I also personally got to wear many hats (at some point I was even doing some backend!). For example, our Courier App didn’t really have anyone maintaining it, so I asked if I could be transferred there to do some React Native. Eventually this led to me becoming the founding member of our Courier team. Back then there were three of us in the team trying to make sense of things. And now that team is so big that it’s split into three teams working on various areas of the Courier App. Feels crazy looking back!

So, basically the mindset was “Do whatever you think is the best for the company.” And you know, I think that even though we’re bigger now and we have more processes in place, this mindset is still here today because our engineers are driven to do the right thing. This is still very much part of the Wolt culture today even though we’ve gone through growth and were hit with the pandemic, both of which could’ve easily changed that.Somehow we managed to pass on the baton of this pragmatism and mindset to new joiners. As an old timer it’s great to see the wonderful culture to remain. 

What’s been your biggest learning at Wolt?

Learning to scale. I learned to scale Android applications making them more extensible as well as easier for new people to join and start contributing to them. I also learned to scale the organization — the Android community used to be three people and now there’s twelve of us and we’re still growing 🚀. 

But scaling isn’t just about applications and organizations — it’s also about scaling yourself. At some point I realized that I was running around doing everything there is to do around Wolt, which then wasn't the best thing for the company anymore. I had to focus and doing this taught me to scale myself. This was crucial since the Android projects were becoming really really big, so there was absolutely no way I could’ve completed all we had in mind alone. I learned to trust others and realized the one taking ownership and fixing things doesn’t always have to be me. Because I’ve learned to trust people and let go of things, my workload has decreased a lot and it’s allowed me to focus on new things. It’s a win-win situation!

Another thing that I learned while working at Wolt was how people use applications at scale. When you have millions of users, you really get to see how adding a small button might affect their behavior. At this scale, even if you do a tiny change, the users will notice and they will send us feedback. An example might be feedback on when a feature isn’t accessible for everyone. With the feedback from our users, we’ve learnt to build products that aren’t just meant to be used by the majority, but are accessible and inclusive for everyone. 💙

Tell me about the biggest screw up or how something broke at Wolt. 

At some point I’d like to proudly say that we don’t have screw ups in the Android team, but things happen — we’re all human, we all make mistakes. I have to say that in my four years here I’ve also made quite a few of them.But Wolt is a great environment for screwing up, learning from that, growing, and moving on to do things better. We never blame anyone for mistakes, we just make sure we learn from them.

One of the things that I messed up recently had to do with daylight saving times. Believe it or not, daylight saving time is very complex — many countries have it and many don’t, while also the day can differ per country. So there’s a lot to account for. When the daylight saving time came this March we had a screw up with this and people in countries with some sort of daylight saving time couldn’t order anything for an entire hour in the evening. It was bad and there's nothing scarier than a hangry customer 🙈. Of course, this mess up also affected our merchant partners as they were displayed as closed on the app even though they were still open. And our customer support had to put the fires out and solve all the issues for these affected parties. I was the one who was the one to fix this. But I don’t think this was the biggest screw up to date, really, maybe my brain erased the others so that I would only remember the good stuff!

What are you most excited about in your work right now?

There are so many, but probably the most exciting thing for me is when someone in my competence area shares their success with me. It makes me feel really proud! And I love to see other people grow — when they expand their horizons, seek to learn and use new technologies. It’s such a magical moment to witness people overcome obstacles and grow, because they grow as people and then can contribute back to the company as well.

What do you do in your free time? Do you have any side hustles?

I’m trying to be a bit more focused as a person, but it’s still a work in progress. Unsurprisingly, I have a lot of different hobbies! I play a lot of video games, and I mean it (I spend at least 50% of my free time playing games!). I also play piano, guitar, bass, and drums — I could be a one man band! I also write some music. I don’t publish it anywhere, instead I send it to my friends who I know might enjoy it. On top of that I also enjoy learning non-programming languages. At the moment I’m learning Japanese 🇯🇵.

The most random thing you’ve ordered with Wolt?

I ordered three cans of soda from a restaurant accidentally, with the delivery fee and everything! I’d just joined Wolt and was at home just trying out the app, swiping away, and then just ordered the soda to my home. I can only imagine what the restaurant thought about it 😅. So whoever is reading this, don’t do as I did — don’t test to production!

Want to join our team to build Wolt together? We’re hiring! Check out our open roles from here 🚀

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