I have been building full-stack products myself for 15 years, leading teams/units with responsibility for product and technology.
In my projects, I mostly build and am responsible for the Engineering organization, have a strong involvement in product development, and am part of the management team.
Who do I work for?
In the end, most requests come down to one of the following constructs:
For agencies and SMEs: As a consultant and tech lead.
An agency usually books me for 3-6 months – either as a one-man-show for prototyping or as a tech lead in the context of a larger team. I’m happy to do both. The only important thing for me is to be part of the project team from the beginning and to have a say in staffing the engineers.
For startups: As interim CTO
I develop a technical vision and pitch it to investors and stakeholders. I then propose the technical architecture to the developers and develop it further in moderated discussions – until implementation and constant improvement.
But the execution is only one part – good developers want to work autonomously anyway. The workflow is at least as important, so I always own the process that optimizes the (technical) processes. I see my mission in the transition from the “Hyperactive Hive Mind” to Deep Work.
For this, I am sometimes Scrum Master in case of need. Mostly, however, always a good, socially acceptable bridge to the non-technical part of the company.
Such a commitment makes sense, especially for larger time blocks, i.e. 6-24 months.
Now: what am I currently doing?
2019 – Now Ray Sono AG: Technology Principal and Tech Lead to develop IIot products.
Ray Sono is a digital product development agency. Working with Ray Sono, I especially like strategic understanding and user-centric thinking. What exactly do I do there? As a Technology Principal, I am involved in projects from the initial conceptual brainstorming to the eventual implementation (with internal or external resources). In larger projects, I lead the development team as Tech Lead. I do this on-site with the Berlin team or remotely with an international team of developers.
Past: What have I already done?
2010 – 2015 buddybrand GmbH: Founder and technical director – digital agency.
Right out of university, I started building Facebook apps as a freelancer with my co-founders – just at the right time. Even before I could hand in my bachelor thesis, we had earned enough money to start a GmbH. In the next 3 years alone, we built several hundred Facebook apps and grew from cash flow to 30+ employees. Nowadays, buddybrand is a full-service digital creative agency these days.
(bootstrapped, 40 FTE)
2016 – 2018 BuzzBird GmbH: Founder and Chief Technology & Product Officer – Software as a Service.
We started with the goal of making social media influencers bookable programmatically – like Google Ads. However, we underestimated how many sensitivities and non-deterministic requirements are imposed by both Supply and Demand. Now the developed software is mainly used internally to map the influencer process smoothly and fully digitized – an “Influencer Agency on Steroids.”
(venture-backed, 25 FTE)
2018 – 2019 Fotando GmbH: Founder and Chief Prototyping Officer – E-commerce.
We had noticed that most photo printing vendors always send their customers to ugly, bloated, slow native apps, which in turn also always had ugly ad conversions as they sent users to the AppStore. So the challenge was clear: we need a customer journey where the user can upload, crop, and edit their photo in the mobile browser and then (after delivery) hang it on the wall (claim: from hand to the wall!). Technically, it worked great that way, too. However, at that time, the company slid into the first Corona wave shortly before it was financed. In retrospect: Pretty stupid – for all parties.
2016 – 2019 Native Studios UG: Technical Evangelist – SaaS
I built several iterations of a prototype for the founders in 2016 and 2017 until they could convince backers and first customers with it.
Afterward, I was Tech Lead for product development and Technical Evangelist to convince customers of the startup’s technology and capabilities.