Meet the MewsDevs - Jarda

Over the years working closely with our development team I’ve realized that I am surrounded by people with such random and extraordinary natures that it would be a shame if we didn’t tell the world about them.

You are reading the first piece of what we envision as a series of Meet the MewsDevs interviews. Once in a while we’ll publish one, and today we start with Jarda Šusta, backend developer in Mews. From his life story you’d probably guess he’s much older than 24. This interview was recorded over about 2 hours from four different locations - our rooftop, car, restaurant and Jarda’s elementary school gymnasium.

Jarda is not a fan of the camera but went to the barber before our interview...💅

Tell us something about your start in Mews?

I joined about a year ago and my onboarding training was different from the big ones we have today(about 30 people start every month). It was just me and three other people starting back then. We were in a small office and you were our trainer for the day, explaining all about Mews, security, software etc.

I remember that… So how did you even get to Mews?

Jirka (our current CPO) just wrote me an email. I don’t even know where he found it but he started the e-mail “Hello Jirka” so I’m not sure if it was meant for me. Plus it ended up in spam. Anyway, I was looking for a job and had two other offers on the table but I wasn’t in a rush to make a decision. I was pretty happy at my job, but there wasn’t much potential for growth. We were all full-stack developers doing frontend, backend, databases, deployments…

Dota FTW

About full-stack -> whenever someone says that, there is always some stack that they don’t know.. E.g. do you know Dart?

No no.. I don’t and I don’t waste time with things like that. In my free time I play Dota. 🎮

Right, Dota. You even created Slack custom emoji for this game and at our first lunch you told me that there were times when you were able to play for 36 hours straight. Are you able to code this long non-stop?

No chance, I need breaks there. And it’s getting more and more difficult to enjoy playing Dota as in addition to working for Mews, I also have side projects. So my day starts at 7am, at 8am I am in Mews, I come back home, play some Dota, workout and then work on side projects until like 1am.

That doesn’t sound too sustainable, not just health wise but also knowing that you have a girlfriend.

Yeah, actually, I had some health issues the last couple of days and it seems that my body is telling me to slow down a little bit. 🤕

Back to those side projects, what is it that you do?

I am basically creating apps and extensions to Czech accounting system Pohoda and my dream is to have own Marketplace where I could offer these to businesses and restaurants.

Classic story of a guy starting his career washing dishes and working in McDonalds

That is a rather random side-job. How did you get into it?

Well, right after high school (and actually during as well) I was working as a waiter. I studied at computer science high school where I enrolled just to play Dota all the time. To be able to graduate, I had to promise my teacher that I would never be a software developer because he just couldn’t let “this” into the world under his name.

And in the restaurant where I was working they used this accounting system and my mom told the manager that I would work on the system free of charge as she was worried I’d end up being a lost cause just playing Dota all the time. Since I was already working as a designer of marketing stuff for this restaurant, I said why not.

But I started working when I was 12, washing dishes and distributing leaflets in the metro. At 15 I was at McDonalds but I didn’t stay there for too long as I had some disagreements with the manager.

“I had to promise my teacher that I would never be a software developer” says Jarda.
First ever interview for either of us.

So how does a guy who was fired from McDonalds, who plays Dota all the time, who was bad at computer science and who worked as a waiter become a backend developer in a company like Mews?

Well, I started working for free for this guy I mentioned and even though the first project was a big fail, he gave me another chance and we did around 30 other small projects together. That's when I realized I would like to be a developer.

As I had to make money somehow, I joined a company as IT support and later as a Project manager, but kept working on Pohoda. When I told them I want to leave as I want to be a developer, they said: “OK, be a developer here”. And the rest is history...

So what do you do in Mews?

I am in the B2B admin team which is responsible for making hotel administrators’ lives easier through reporting, fiscalizations, exports, etc…

Yeah, you are the loud corner in the office…

Sorry 😇 but our CTO Honza assigned me the role of the mediator so I have to make sure we are not so loud. We’ll see...

When I say profiles what does it evoke in you?

Oh, I knew you would bring it up. Yes, profiles is my biggest project so far in Mews but I don’t want to talk about it. 😄 You know when you have so many new people coming to the company (in January 2019 we had 20 developers, now we have 60 developers) it’s hard to focus and things may take longer than expected. However, thanks to this I spent a lot of time with the guys from the platform team and I learned a lot from them.

Profiles - what are we talking about?
Initially we built the system in a way that when a change happened, only human users were tracked. However over time, we figured that there are areas where API clients, other applications or even the system itself perform the changes. And we would like to track those as well, so that the users of our system have full visibility into it within audit logs. So we decided to generalize the concept and introduce "profile" which is basically any possible actor doing stuff in Mews. As a side-effect, this will have many other use-cases and enable us to easily introduce other types of profiles like chain-level profile or profile for employees of our integration partners.

You mention learning. Mews is heavily code-review & code-quality based company. Is it something you struggled with or is it something that suits you well?

I really like the code-review process. I think you can learn a lot from not only having others commenting on your code but also you commenting on others’ code. Unfortunately, lately I don’t have enough time for the code-reviews.

Weekends (some of them) are reserved for road trips... 🚗

My teeth got stuck in a guy’s scull

Mews is trying to be a company which you don’t join because of some cool benefits but rather for the quality of work, people and work ethics. However, we do have a ping pong table and I know you are pretty good. Who do you like playing against the most?

I love beating Binh, my colleague from the team, our barber to be. But my worst enemy is Pavel from onboarding team… I just don’t like his style and I lose to him a lot. Although, he broke his collarbone recently so I think I’d beat him now. 🏓

BTW, you are one of the rare species of being born and raised in Prague (Žižkov), right?

Yes, I grew up in a one room apartment close to Viktoria Žižkov football stadium. Then, for some time, I betrayed Žižkov for Vinohrady but now I’m happily back. And I spent most of my formative years around this neighbourhood as I was playing floorball for the local team.

Did you play competitively?

As a junior I played in the highest Prague league but eventually I had to stop because our physiotherapist told me I was too heavy for the sport and my legs weren’t really able to support me. 🤷‍♂️ And of course, as I mentioned, Dota and work came into play.

For the sake of the photoshoot Jarda even found his old jersey. Still fits! 👌

And I know that you had one quite unusual injury that forces you to think twice before you eat an apple…

In one training session when I was about 15 we had an exercise where we were crossing each other. And somehow, I collided with another guy knocking out my two front teeth that got stuck in his head. I was OK but the guy was shaking on the floor. But yeah, when I eat an apple now, I have to use my bottom teeth. 🍎

Now we stepped into your car, it looks quite sporty, what is it?

It’s a Peugeot 308 GTI. I don’t use it much but it’s my toy that I enjoy during weekends but one day it would be cool to race like one of our other backend developers Marek.

You have a wallet with Ferrari logo. Is that your dream car?

Not really. I just bought it because it looked cool and I have a lot of loyalty cards that I need to fit there. My dream car would probably be the SUV from Lamborghini - Urus but it’s probably not too practical so I’m happy with my Peugeot. 🦁

The interview was concluded at Jarda’s elementary school where they let us use their gymnasium for a photo shoot.

We might have to get one of these to the office now...

So we are finishing the interview where it all began, in your elementary school… How do you feel?

It didn’t change one bit. They even still have the vending machine for milk!!! 🥛 The gymnasium looks bigger than I remember and it’s so cool I can shoot and play some floorball after so long. Do you guys mind if I stay a while?

Happy Jarda!

To find out more about Mews and the dev team, check out our Github and Twitter.

Author image

Jan Meissner

Sport, history and geography geek helping the tech geeks of Mews be seen and heard around the world.
5 min read

CI as continuous improvement

5 min read

Mews Challenge