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The Grand Plan

 December 2016

Hi, this is Anton. Since my last post on this blog I have had the chance to work on a plan together with my mentor, Fredrik. We talked about what I find interesting, challenges within the company and what previous trainees have done. He had a lot to say, and we talked about comfort zone and trying new things.

I also took a personality test as part of the program. It was quite similar to the one found over at 16personalities.com. I won’t talk about my specific result here, but it was super interesting to read an in-depth analysis of myself. I could not agree more on some of the points, but at the same time there were a few things that almost frightened me. Is this how people see me? went through my head a few times. Not only was it funny and a bit scary, it is was also an awesome way of understanding how my colleagues see me. I have actually thought about it quite a lot since I took that test. I feel like my communication skills have been improved just by being aware of those results.

Both Fredrik, who by the way is one of the two founders of Accedo, and I felt that sketching out the whole year as early as possible would be a good idea. We talked a bit back and forth and came up with three more assignments for me that hopefully will be a perfect mix of challenges way outside my comfort zone and more of a safe-zone where I actually get the chance to bring value to the teams I join. This is my plan.

Assignment 2: Professional Services

I move to Professional Services, or PS, on December 28. I’ll be spending the first few days learning about our internal cross-platform framework, VDK. Explaining what VDK is could probably be a complete blog post all on its own, but in short it is a way for us to build applications for multiple platforms with fewer lines of code.

On the first working day of 2017 we start developing a solution for a newly signed customer. No reason to mention any names yet, but it sounds super exciting! I will be part of developing its video streaming solution over the coming months. I do not really know just yet when this project will launch, but at least I get the chance to be a part of the initial processes. One of my goals for this assignment is to learn more about our “external” solutions. What is it that Accedo is good at? And perhaps even more interesting, what are we not that good at? We do own a large part of the market, but what stops us from being the only partner for media companies? Why would some content producer chose to work with some of our competitors instead of us? I am sure we do not want 100% market share, but it is an interesting perspective.

Assignment 3: Pre-sales
For my third trainee rotation we decided that spending some time in pre-sales would be a huge learning experience. Not only am I eager to learn more about these types of roles within Accedo, it is also very valuable to have developers understand why we build what we build, how others might use it and what the unique selling points of our products are.

This is not really something I have tried before. A few years ago I ran my own company selling WordPress websites to local companies in my hometown. That is probably the closest thing to it. And that is probably not even remotely similar.

My goals for this part of the trainee program is to learn as much as possible about everything non-tech related at Accedo. For the last few years I have wanted to become a programmer. I really enjoy writing code, building things, spending time on details and creating smart and beautiful solutions. However, the more I hear about the “business side of things” I realise that those challenges are also super interesting. Sure, building an isomorphic React application is hard and challenging. But what about price models for a such a complex product as OTT Flow? What about planning a six month project without really knowing what the customer wants? These are different kinds of problems, but they are all challenging and fun problems to work on. I am super excited about this.

Assignment 4: AppGrid

As my fourth and final assignment I will be part of developing Accedo’s headless CMS AppGrid. I have worked with it a bit during my thesis, I demonstrated it at IBC and I have more or less integrated two different clients during my first assignment. But I still feel it is a lot to take in. Or rather, there is still a lot left to learn.

Right now, it looks like I will be spending time on improving the usability of AppGrid. What that means is not really decided yet, but we have talked about a few different solutions for making lives easier for editors. We will see what happens, I am sure we will find some exciting problems for me to work on. What I do know is that AppGrid is a very interesting product where I will get the chance to learn a lot.

This is the plan we have for me so far. I am very happy with it, but it is definitely not set in stone. We might realise that spending some time in QA would do wonders for me, or that the AppGrid assignment might not be a good fit when that time comes. Accedo is moving fast, and the only way to keep up with that is to be flexible and embrace new challenges.

I would not say plans are made to be broken. Rather you should not be afraid to change your plans. The trainee program is all about learning, growing and trying new things.

And it isn’t just hard work – last week, for example we had a Christmas Party here in Stockholm, which involved a bit of downtime, nice food, and a chance to chat to colleagues I wouldn’t normally interact with on a daily basis.

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