Peter Minev on scaling tech: “There is no silver bullet”

In October, Peter Minev, head of platform engineering at Careem will be speaking at Leaders in Tech | Berlin. His talk “Scaling tech: planning for uncertainty”, will draw from Peter’s experience starting Careem’s engineering office in Berlin which grew from 0 to 130 in less than two years, attracting talent and growing technical teams when no one knew the company. He’ll offer insight into how he approached this challenge, and how he developed a strategy that took uncertainty into account.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be where you are now.
I started my career long ago, probably too long ago, as an engineer. In the early days, I held different engineering positions: C++ engineer, Java engineer, later on architect. At some point, I switched to management roles. I worked in big companies and small startups in various domains. I spent six years in automotive, managing different teams in different geographies. In my work at VMware where I spent also 6 years, I was managing teams in India, in the US, and in Europe. 
Was there a point in your career when you concretely decided to go from engineering into management?
I don’t think that there was a strict point where I said, this is really what I want to do. It happened gradually, so from an engineer to an architect to a project manager, and then into engineering management. One day when I woke up, I realized I was managing teams in different continents and different geographies. 
It’s not only when you switch from engineering to management that you need new skills, but also when you broaden your responsibilities.  Bigger teams, remote teams, managing and building remote teams, several teams, different cultures, different geographies, etc. This requires new skills, building on top of your existing capabilities. Many of these are not strictly related to engineering. You need to know a little bit of finance, a little bit of business management, business strategy. All this, the learning process, I find very fascinating. 
What are the biggest challenges you faced in growing Careem?
When I convinced the founders of Careem to open an office in Berlin, it was quite an exciting journey. Careem was not a popular brand in Germany at all. Nobody knew Careem, and that was the first big challenge that I had to overcome. Whenever I and our recruitment team approached candidates, the first question was, „What is Careem?“ We had to explain what Careem is in the first place before even talking about the specific positions. Building the engineering brand of Careem here in Europe and in Berlin was a big challenge. 
The second challenge: in all my career so far, I was joining established companies and established offices, where I was building engineering teams. Here, we didn’t have a company in Germany at all. I needed to do a lot of other things before I even hired the first engineer. You need to establish the company, to find offices, to find and establish the HR team, the recruitment team, the finance team, the legal team, office management – you need to have all this before hiring the first engineer. 
You cannot hire an engineer if you don’t have a company or an office. It was exciting – you have this tension, you don’t have the patience to wait. You want to hire the teams, you want to form the projects and you want to jump into this initial phase as quickly as possible.
Then, an even bigger challenge was how to grow so fast, from 0 to 130 people in Berlin in two years while keeping healthy engineering teams at the same time. There are many books that tell you, if you grow more than 2x per year, it is suicide. Teams will be destroyed, they will not be productive or efficient, you will have high attrition. 
Is it possible to quickly build a large team of super strong engineers without lowering the bar, but at the same time make these teams extremely productive, efficient, and healthy? This was an extremely big challenge. I think in the end, it was successful, and I am very happy about this journey because I accumulated a lot of learnings along the way.
I would have also said growing a team from 0 to 130 in two years is a terrible idea. How did you develop a successful strategy to make this happen?

There is no silver bullet. This was a series of actions which I took, hoping that they would make it successful in the end. I don’t believe that you can start such activity without any strategy at all. You should, even if you have a lot of uncertainties, list your best guesses, list your most probable hypotheses, and then start with this. I needed to have an initial strategy, but also continuously, all the time, I needed to improve the strategy. 
I have a very simple rule for this. In every single moment, I need to know the top three problems for my team, for my company – the top three. Not the top 30. Not the top 300. The top three. 
You’ll be surprised that this gives you a lot of focus because there might be thousands of problems. But what are your top three problems?  As a company evolves, especially so fast, very often these top three problems will change completely. Six months from now, you will have completely different problems from your top three now. In every given moment you have to have these top three problems. When you resolve these three problems, basically what you are doing, is evolving your strategy.
These top three problems are not what you think that are problems. You have to have data, real data that shows you that these are real problems, not only problems that you think in your head. 
It’s a combination between starting with the best that you can, your best shot, and then always evolving this strategy by knowing your top three problems. 
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to include for people considering coming to the talk?
From what I saw of previous events there are many people who are quite experienced.  I don’t see this event as me only sharing my experiences. What I’d rather do is to share what I’ve learned, but I also would be very happy for people to share their experiences, more like a discussion. I can contribute what we did here with Careem in Berlin.
I don’t see it like a playbook: that this is what we did in Careem, and this is the one golden rule, go and apply it by the book in your companies. I see it as some key learnings that I applied in some specific situations. If people can take these learnings, think through them, and apply them in their context, I think this will be super useful for many people.
To learn more about scaling technology teams and planning for uncertainty from Peter, join Leaders in Tech | Berlin on Wednesday October 23rd, 2019: 
To join contact [email protected]

finleap’s CTO Tim Duckett breaks down team dynamics with humor for Leaders in Tech | Berlin

What kind of coworker are you? Do you use your power and influence in the workplace like King Joffrey (Game of Thrones) or more like the Russian president? In August, a full house of technology leaders in Berlin convened for the second time this year at MHPLab for Leaders in Tech to explore these questions and their more serious counterparts. This time, the attendees came for Tim Duckett’s talk: “Hacking Power and Politics – A Tech Leader’s Framework” and to hear how other managers, CTOs, department heads, and engineering leads grapple with the challenges of organizing teams. Tim is the CTO at finleap, a fintech company builder, and brings years of experience as an engineer and a manager working in a variety of organizations to the topic.

Austin Fraser organizes Leaders in Tech to bring together CTOs, CIOs, VPs, heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to explore important issues in business and technology, and to build connections between people facing similar challenges. Often hosted by key companies in a city’s startup and technology ecosystem, the meetups attract all kinds of technology leaders. Stephanie Persigehl, senior professional at MHPLab, cited the quality of the leadership talks and the great community as two of the reasons they like to host the Leaders in Tech talks. She also said, “At MHP, we’re delighted to be part of this network and want to foster its continuous growth.”

And network was definitely the word! As everyone entered the building, the team at the reception welcomed each attendee and gave out nametag. Then they had to brave the crowd gathered at the snacks and drinks in the main room. The whole space was buzzing with people introducing themselves to each other and reconnecting with familiar faces from previous events. There were people perched on every space, from the picnic tables in the middle, benches throughout the room, as well as office chairs along the sides for late-comers and those who didn’t want to stand.

Anjo Gaul, community manager for Austin Fraser, officially kicked off the program, introducing both the event hosts and Tim Duckett, the evening’s speaker. You can catch some of Tim’s talk “Hacking Power and Politics – A Tech Leader’s Framework” here:

The talk was both funny and insightful, starting out with a framework for the different kinds of power and the types of people who wield it. Daniil Pavliuchkov, Chief Product Officer at VAI, commented “I really enjoyed the sarcastic tone and the humour of the talk. It is great when a speaker can connect with the audience and explain complex things in a playful manner that is not childish. All the references and the quirky names really gave me a good laugh.” During the talk, Tim interspersed his slides with anecdotes from his experience working in many different companies. If you’d like to read more about Tim Duckett, check out the interview with him on the Austin Fraser blog, “Sometimes you get a team of people who seem to be all square edges and corners.”
Dmitry Galkin, a DevOps consultant currently working at HERE, decided to attend this Leaders in Tech meetup because he was intrigued by the topic and the speaker’s background. He said it was an interesting presentation, and that he could relate to a lot of the stories from his past experiences. It also didn’t hurt that the surprise of the evening was the burger truck parked right outside the building next to the Spree!

As everyone lined up to get a burger and fries, the conversations spilled out into the picturesque outdoor space. Attendees chatted about the talk, how they’d seen the personas and situations that Tim shared play out in their own professional lives. A number of people were continuing to share their experiences and connecting with other attendees out on the patio as the sun started to slip below the horizon. Well after the official program had concluded, people were happy to keep chatting and sharing — thanks to Austin Fraser and MHPLab for a great event!


Tim Duckett: “Sometimes you get a team of people who just seem to be all square edges and corners”

In August, Tim Duckett, CTO at finleap will be speaking at Leaders in Tech | Berlin. His talk “Hacking Power and Politics – A Tech Leader’s Framework” will tackle how technology leaders can frame their challenges aligning culture, habits, and teams. He’ll share ideas from social psychology and organizational behavior and how technologists used to linear structures can apply them successfully.
I interviewed Tim about his journey from electronics engineer to software consultant to MBA to CTO of a fintech company builder, and how it’s informed how he thinks about power and politics and people.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you came to be where you are now.
My background is software engineering, predominantly, although I came to it by a fairly weird route. I started life as an electronics engineer, so it was all about the hardware, and fell into software development by accident. I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time in consultancy and building and designing things for people. I’ve always had a hybrid role of sitting between the business side of things and the development side of things. At finleap, most of my time is split between recruiting teams that build ventures and working on the early MVP stages of ventures themselves. That split between that varies depending on where in the cycle we are.
Why is going from software engineering to leader or a manager so difficult?
Ultimately, when you dig down far enough, software is binary. When you pull that back up into higher levels, it’s very consistent: if you do certain things, then certain results will happen.
The problem is, as soon as you start applying that to people, it just goes horribly wrong, because people are non-linear. When you get to the stage of your career where you are managing people as a software engineer, you actually have to get people to do things. You find all your tools and models that you have from the software engineering world are useless because people are completely non-linear. 
This is where a lot of people struggle. They try to apply the same kind of linear thinking that they have in the software engineering that has got them to be very successful in that world to get people to try and do things. It goes horribly wrong and they really struggle. 
Is there a framework that helps tech leaders change from this linear thinking to a more nuanced way of understanding this human power relationships?
Let’s get away from the stereotypes of power being just shouting at people and threatening them with a big stick. What does that mean? How is it that some people or organisations manage to get shit done? 
They get shit done by understanding politics. And politics is like applied power. There’s a kind of cliché:

Physics is applied math.
Chemistry is applied physics.
Biology is applied chemistry.
And psychology is like practical applied biology.

There’s an XKCD cartoon of this, and the punchline is that the mathematician is way over on one side, “Hey guys we’re over here!” because math underpins everything.
Sometimes you get a team of people who seem to be all square edges and corners and they just bash together. If you don’t have any knowledge of what drives and motivates people, if you have no models you can use to figure out what the hell is going on, all you can do is try things at random. It’s so much more efficient and effective if you can try and figure out that maybe this person is more motivated by being seen as the expert within the team than they are with responsibility or monetary rewards.
Are there any particular experiences that you can pinpoint, that have shaped how you think about these relationships and these dynamics within software engineering organizations?
There are a few occasions I can look back on where I got comprehensively outmaneuvered by somebody. I thought I’d won, whatever winning means in that situation. You know that saying “You win the battle but you lose the war”? That’s happened a couple times.
In one particular situation, I thought I had got my way on something, and then six months later I find I completely shafted myself by taking that particular tactic. I failed to understand the political relationship. I won the technical argument: the organization ended up doing something the way I wanted it to be done. About three-four months down the line when performance review time came along, I realized the person I had beaten had a really close relationship with the person who signed off on my performance review. Instead of my performance review being about what a wonderful job I’d done on delivering this really hard project, it was all about how I’d really upset someone three months earlier.
Are there any other thoughts you’d like to include for people considering coming to the talk?
Hopefully what’s come across in the teasers and the summary: this won’t be really dull or dry psychology research. What I’m hoping for is that there are two or three things you can take away and use tomorrow, make it practical. 
It’s not a grand unified theory of everything. It’s not going to be a transform your life overnight so you’ll bounce back into the office tomorrow morning a completely different person. If you can hear one or two of the stories where I completely fucked things up, get a nice bit of schadenfreude out of it, then make your life a bit better by not fucking up in the same ways, then my task here is complete.
To learn more about the frameworks around hacking power and politics that Tim has to share, join Leaders in Tech | Berlin on Wednesday August 14th, 2019: 

Leaders in Tech | Baden-Württemberg: Clean Code

Leaders in Tech | Baden-Württemberg is back!
Wir hatten die Gelegenheit uns mit Sebastian Betzin zu unterhalten und konnten erfahren was uns beim ‘Clean Code | Wie erreichen sie Investitionssicherheit durch Softwarequalität’ Event erwartet.
Sebastian arbeitet seit 2001 als Chief Technology Officer bei der AG aus Karlsruhe, die auf die Entwicklung individueller Softwarelösungen mit Microsoft .NET spezialisiert ist. Er ist Experte für nachhaltige Softwareentwicklung und etablierte Clean Code Development als Unternehmensgrundsatz innerhalb der AG. Seit Beginn seiner beruflichen Laufbahn ist er als leidenschaftlicher Softwareentwickler mit unstillbarem technologischen Informationshunger aktiv. Aktuell beschäftigt er sich mit Azure Cloud Entwicklungen, Machine Learning und Blockchain Technologien.

Wer kann am meisten von deinem Vortrag profitieren?
Dieser Vortrag ist speziell für Entscheider entwickelt. Auf nicht technischer Ebene werden wirtschaftliche Zusammenhänge von innerer Softwarequalität und deren Auswirkungen aufgedeckt. Wer die Gründe erfahren möchte warum viele Softwareentwicklungsprojekte scheitern sollte diesen Einblick nicht verpassen.
Was sind, deiner Meinung nach, die drei interessantesten Fragen, auf die wir Antworten erwarten können?

Was ist Innere und Äußere Softwarequalität?
Was hat Bad Code für wirtschaftliche Auswirkungen auf mein Unternehmen?
Wie kann Clean Code Investitionssicherheit in Software herstellen?

Warum denkst du, dass dein Vortrag relevant für die Business Community ist?
Er hilft zu verstehen warum viele Software Projekte scheitern oder über  Zeit zu teuer werden.
Was ist deine Empfehlung für Unternehmen die darüber nachdenken in Clean Code zu investieren um langfristig eine höhere Softwarequalität zu erreichen?
Just do it!

Leaders in Tech

Leaders in Tech ist eine globale Community für CTOs, CIOs, Head of IT und andere führende Positionen in der Tech-Industrie. Gegründet in München konnten wir die Community bereits in Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Berlin und Reading etablieren. Als nächsten Schritt möchten wir die Community in den USA ausbauen.
Wenn du eine Führungskraft im Tech-Sektor bist, kannst du dich hier mit “Leaders in Tech” aus etablierten und / oder innovativen Unternehmen austauschen, um Best Practices zu besprechen, technischen und methodische Fortschritt zu diskutieren oder einfach Menschen mit den gleichen Interessen und Herausforderungen treffen.
Zu finden sind wir bei (der) software technologies AG, Zeppelinstr. 15, 76185 Karlsruhe am Donnerstag, den 29. November um 18:30 Uhr bis ca. 21 Uhr.

Is the role of CTO broken?

Are the financial benefits of becoming a tech contractor upsetting the traditional career progression and creating a shortage at the top?
This challenging question has prompted numerous conversations within our Leaders in Tech communities.
When we ask this question of engineers  –  particularly those with more experience in smaller companies  – they imagine a sort of ‘super Tech Lead’: a very senior engineer who is going to lead the technical direction of an organisation.
So what exactly does a CTO do all day?
Answers to that question from current CTOs have included:

Working with commercial stakeholders (CEO, board, investors), to identify the commercial roadmap over ‘x’ months.
Working with product owners and business analysts to develop a realistic product roadmap that supports the commercial roadmap.
Identifying a tech roadmap aligned with product and commercial roadmaps.
Negotiating when you realise the commercial or product roadmaps are unrealistic because of technical constraints. Note: negotiate, not “tell others it can’t be done”. Negotiation skills are critical.
Figuring out how to structure teams, line reporting, process and cadence within the technical team.
Getting the balance between feature development, BAU and technical debt/bug quashing right for the commercial and product culture within the business.
Keeping up to date with changes in law that have impact on technical roadmaps.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets to be spent on tech staff – salary budgets often have to be treated differently to others.
Preparation and negotiation of budgets around technical operations such as hardware, service fees (data centre, cloud, etc.), software licensing, patent licensing where appropriate, etc.
Validating all of the above with senior management and board members, mostly using the language they are most fluent in: finance. You will spend a lot of time building spreadsheets and slide decks, and you’ll ideally need to do basic interpretation of a balance sheet to keep up.
Communicating the above with shareholders and future investors whilst giving yourself enough margin to not get fired if it doesn’t pan out.
Setting cultural tone for the technical team. All of the below contribute to that, but ultimately you are going to set the example. The kind of behaviour you choose to reward is what the team will eventually value.

Notice, there isn’t much engineering going on here. Depending on what’s going on within your company, it’s unlikely you’re going to be spending too much time working on product, and it’s worth expanding on that:
In very small companies, you are going to have to work on the product directly. In larger companies you won’t have time to work on the product directly.
Leaders in Tech | Berlin
Join us on Thursday 18th October for the next instalment of Leaders in Tech | Berlin, a community for CTOs, CIOs, VPs, Heads of IT and other senior technology leaders to get together and discuss current tech trends.

Jason Franklin-Stokes – interim CTO with 30 years of successfully creating, building and growing technology start-ups in Germany, France, UK and US – will be discussing why the CTO role is dead! (or at least dying out). Are businesses demanding faster time to markets and user centricity? Is this shifting a focus from Tech to Product. Why do companies need a CTO? Or even a head of IT? If the CPO is the role that everything rotates around then surely the CTO is dead?
If you are a senior level technology leader, this is an opportunity for you to meet with fellow technology leaders from established and/or innovative businesses. To share in best practises, discuss up and coming advances in technology/methodologies & generally connect with like minded individuals with similar interests/challenges.

Austin Fraser 2018 Berlin Tech Salary Benchmark

Austin Fraser 2018 Berlin Tech Salary Benchmark
Austin Fraser, Tech recruitment leader, release its salary benchmark for Tech sector jobs in Berlin, Germany.
Do you know how much you could be making?
We recognise that salary is an important factor when choosing a new role or considering how much your talent, skill and knowledge is worth. While the market is still quite guarded about openly sharing salary information, we’re pleased to release our benchmark salaries available on the market for Junior through to Lead positions, within DevOps, Frontend, PHP and Java/Node.
Use our Berlin salary information to benchmark yourself against your peers, help compare the job market, or even use as a tool to inform pay negotiations and discover your worth.

Technology is evolving quickly and there is a big demand for skilled Tech talent to help deliver the new digital landscape. Businesses need to act fast to stay competitive and companies need the right candidates to keep growing. Technology recruitment is our specialism. We understand the market inside out and can help support your job seeking journey from start to finish.

Understanding Developer Typology

Understanding Developer Typology
Ahead of the June Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg held on 21st June 2018 we speak with 1&1’s Matthias Wittum, Head of the Source Center and Christian Rehn, Software Developer in 1&1’s Customer Selfcare Solutions about their highly developed frameworks and models which are specially designed to examine developer typology. Their frameworks and models are proven to support developer teams, strengthen communication and optimise design decisions.
Matthias Wittum explains that whilst working with Christian Rehn, they identified how different developers can be when it comes to reaching a design decision and how this has an impact on development teams. We know that developers are unique problem solvers who draw on different approaches, knowledge, cultures, experience and principles to produce software solutions. Developers naturally approach projects uniquely, and the outcome can play to a particular focus or strength. Of course within a development team this can lead to several solutions being found and so the challenge is often finding one team solution or design route.
There are enough personality tests out there, but no tests or frameworks based specifically on developers. We felt that some instruments were needed to enable better production efficiency and to help develop teams according to their orientation and typology, so we started filling the gap. That’s how the Design Types Model for instance, came to fruition. It sets out to define developers’ typology via a relatively straightforward base of questions for each developer to answer. The answers provided help classify their typology and then you can group them accordingly. Using this model makes it easier to gain an impression of whether the tasks, the way of working and the environment are a good fit.
Here are three Models which we have formulated to identify developer typology, aid better case arguments to reach design decisions more quickly and to help optimise development teams:

Design Types Model – sets out to identify why software design is individual and often leads to discussions with colleagues.
Design Cards – great interactive tool using a set of predefined cards used to aid technical discussions by using proven arguments.
Design Matrix – helps you to examine technical problems from all perspectives.

Read more about these interactive Models here.
Ever since the agile movement, technical decisions are increasingly discussed or reviewed within the team. Collective Code Ownership means that everyone is now jointly responsible for the software and as a result, it is important for developers to be able to argue precisely and comprehensively, to be able to put oneself into the motives of your colleagues. With our models, we want to support exactly this and strengthen communication in development teams.
Leaders in Tech
Thanks to those who joined us at our Leaders in Tech: Baden-Württemberg meetup held on 21st June 2018 when Matthias and Christian give a complete overview of the developer typology, as well as the Design Cards and the Design Matrix. As a start, to understand the concepts and the overall context.

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team

3 Top Tips to Building a Successful Engineering Team
We spoke with Florian Gamper, freelance CTO/CIO whose background is in Software Engineering from Enterprise Backend to Web and Mobile. Florian is a speaker at our June Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup and over the years he has built numerous startups, Engineering Teams and Ventures for Companies like Dr. Oetker, BCG Digital Ventures and Columba. Resulting in projects like Coup (Electric Scooter Sharing for Bosch), Mein-Dach (Community Platform for Brass Monier) or (Oetker Digital).
As a Leader in Tech, we asked Florian what his 3 Top Tips are for Building a Successful Engineering Team
TIP 1 – Recruiting and interviewing your dream team
It starts with finding the talent. No longer do you have to wait for them to find you, now there’s a much more bi-directional process where you apply to them directly. This helps both sides engage in a deeper partnership. Be prepared to give your ideal candidate(s) an interesting story behind your company and an explanation as to how together, the projects can help take them to the next level.
Don’t ruin their first impression of your company! Before any interview takes place make sure the right people are in the room, and that you’re set up with a proper internet connection and good video chat system for remote interviews (not kidding … falling out of interviews all the time ruins your first expression … so ditch skype).
Finding and recruiting the right people to build a successful Engineering Team takes a lot of time. Don’t rush the process and if you have the funds to use freelancers for the intermediate, do it, it helps a lot. Never hire in doubt or rush.
Now it’s time to build your team.
TIP 2 – Cultivating the perfect environment
To create the perfect environment for an engineering team to thrive, the culture, supported from the top down, has to be right. To excel, you need to create a supporting culture with a welcoming and open mindset, which each member of the team needs to be a part of. To achieve this there are three simple rules: you have to build a culture that doesn‘t blame, gives fame, has no shame (it’s ok to admit a mistake) for the team to thrive. Set guidelines within which they have the freedom to experiment and thrive.
Glitches can appear if you don’t have the right processes in place to support your successful engineering team. To help track and record workflow you need to have stable processes in place such as CI/CD, Wiki, Tasks.
Listening, can help you spot the early signs that you’ve got the culture right. People will not only talk to each other about work, but also about their lives and hobbies. Bonds form and they’ll do some stuff together after work, ensure these are never siloed in the engineering team.
Never fear to lose the wrong people.

TIP 3 – The Future for Engineering Teams
Engineering Teams have to prepare to be more and more involved in production processes. Continuous deployment is a key to fast and steady delivery. In the near future teams will get more diverse in skills and topics as ML and other Cloud Technologies are going to be part of wider projects.
Leaders in Tech: Berlin
Florian explores this topic deeper at the June instalment of our Leaders in Tech: Berlin meetup, where he shares advice on what he looks for in the ideal candidate and what good teams need in order to thrive. 

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence

Next stop, Dallas: consolidating Austin Fraser’s US presence
We’re delighted to announce our next new office opening in Dallas, Texas, scheduled for October 2018. This move will anchor Austin Fraser deeper in the US market, hot on the heels of our award-winning Austin, Texas office and Denver, at the start of the year.
We’d also like to congratulate Dallas team lead, Alina Brovko, who will relocate from Munich to build the new Dallas team and roll-out our growth plans.  Alina is a brilliant example of the career pathways available at Austin Fraser and our strong ethos of fostering talent from within.
How we evolve on the ground
As the fourth biggest technology market in the US, outside New York, LA and Chicago, and a concentration of established Austin Fraser clients located in the city, Dallas was the obvious choice for our third US office. With its flourishing start-up ecosystem of incubators, tech meet-ups and a strong Fortune 500 presence, it holds real potential for Austin Fraser. With our Austin team just three hours away too, it will allow for deeper collaboration, ensuring our networks and talent pools are harnessed for client success.
As with previous locations, it’s important to us that we are embedded in the local community. Our approach is about adapting and integrating, while staying true to our Austin Fraser DNA. We invest heavily in communities, creating longer-term relationships while developing an exceptional pool as well as new career opportunities internally.
International growth
This past 18 months has seen Austin Fraser double our global locations, with offices in Berlin, Denver and Dallas.  We scale our international teams with home-grown talent, while building a strong local talent pipeline.
As Alina explains “We’re seeing a lot of our clients with hubs across the US so for this market, it makes sense for us to support as many of those as we can, as we extend Austin Fraser’s presence.  Our business is about how we can help our clients grow. Being on hand, to build real connections and relationships really means that we can specialise as well as play an active part in the tech community here.”
Further expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US are in place and we’ll look forward to sharing these later this year.

Thames Valley Tech Awards

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer

Thames Valley Tech Awards 2018: Top Tech Employer
We’re partnering with The Business Magazine to support the launch of the first ever Thames Valley Tech Awards, a celebration of all things tech in the area. We’re taking the lead on the Top Tech Employer as we have the pleasure of working with these game changers every day. If you think you have what it takes, please take a look at our criteria and follow the instructions below to apply.
Here’s what we’re looking for in the Thames Valley’s Top Tech Employer:
An innovative and inclusive culture
Tell us about the way you work, interact and collaborate as a business. How open are your communication channels, how approachable are the leadership team and what do you do to achieve this?
A clear brand identity
Are your employees aligned with your business values and how do the leadership team embody them? Are your people engaged in the work they’re doing and how do you know?
Investing in your people
People are the backbone of any organisation, how do you invest in yours? Do you support their personal and professional development with training and progression opportunities? How achievable is a work/life balance in your organisation? Do your people feel valued what are the levels of your staff retention in 2017?
Company benefits scheme
Do you just offer the standard benefits package or have you created tailored schemes to really differentiate yourselves from the competition? Are you regularly reviewing your offering or is it stagnated?
Giving back & creating a positive impact
How do you recognise your responsibility as an organisation to give back to the community and how do you engage your employees in this? Do you support charities and if so, how? Are you conscious of your impact on the environment and what do you do to minimise this?
Innovating in your space
What are you doing to implement creative working styles, are you using the latest tech to create the most efficient solutions for your business?
Talent attraction 
How strong is your employer branding? Do you value your candidate experience and how can you demonstrate this?
If you have a strong case for each of these areas, we’d love to hear from you.
Follow this link and download the Top Tech Employer Award application form (8th one down).
We look forward to receiving your applications and celebrating with you on the night.

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director, Ashley Dunbar

Meet AF’s new German Tech Director
We’re very proud to announce that Ashley Dunbar is our new German Technology Director. He’s been with the company over nine years and was promoted in February earlier this year to UK Technology Director. His wealth of experience in the Technology sector will help us deliver a first class service to our clients and candidates, as well as driving the growth and development of our teams.
“Continually developing my skills and taking on new challenges is something I relish so when the opportunity arose to gain international experience I knew it was the right move for me”, says Ashley Dunbar, German Technology Director. “Having built up the UK Technology business I was confident I had the knowledge and track record to take German Technology to the next level. I’m a few weeks into my role and I’m really impressed with all my new colleagues and believe the opportunity here is vast and the future really excites me. The vision for our German business is what initially enticed me. Making it a reality by moving into new territories and truly delivering performances which have a global impact is why I’m here.”
“None of this would have happened without my family who have supported me every step of the way. For all of us, relocating to Germany and a great city like Munich is a once in a lifetime opportunity that we couldn’t let pass us by.”
Pete Hart, CEO comments, “Ash’s ambition has always been evident, so it is was no surprise when he put himself forward for international opportunities. Relocating his family to Munich is yet again evidence of his commitment to Austin Fraser.”
We are confident that Ashley will thrive in his new role, and we’d like you to join us in wishing him the best of luck on this adventure as he relocates to Munich with his family.

Leaders in Tech: Munich

Fünf Konsequenzen aus der DGSVO für Ihr Technologie-Unternehmen

Leaders in Tech ist eine Gruppe von Managern und Vordenkern, die sich regelmäßig zum Diskutieren aktueller Technologietrends sowie zum Wissensaustausch, zur persönlichen Weiterbildung und zum Networking trifft.
Unsere letzte Veranstaltung im Jahr 2017 findet am 6. Dezember in München in unserem neuen Büro am Lenbachplatz 1 statt. Im Mittelpunkt werden diesmal alle Aspekte der Sicherheit und des Datenschutzes stehen, einschließlich eines Überblicks über die kommende EU-Datenschutz-Grundverordnung (DSGVO), die am 25. Mai 2018 in Kraft tritt.
Diese Neuregelung dürfte umfassende Konsequenzen für Unternehmen jeder Größe haben. Torsten Rammelmann von der Solvectio GmbH wird uns am 6. Dezember genauer über die Veränderungen und ihre Auswirkungen informieren. Bis dahin haben wir schon einmal einige Punkte zusammengefasst, auf die wir bei Austin Fraser bei unseren Vorbereitungen für den 25. Mai gestoßen sind.
Fünf Konsequenzen aus der DGSVO für Ihr Technologie-Unternehmen
1. Zustimmung
Die jetzige Definition des Begriffs „eindeutig“ gilt auch bei der DGSVO weiterhin als Rechtsgrundlage für die Zustimmung zur Verarbeitung nicht sensibler Daten. Dennoch schreibt die neue Regelung vor, dass Unternehmen, die Benutzerdaten für einen bestimmten Zweck sammeln, diese Daten nicht ohne ausdrückliche Zustimmung des Benutzers übertragen oder für einen anderen Zweck mit anderen teilen dürfen. Dies könnte unternehmerische Innovationen auf Grundlage der vorhandenen Daten einschränken. Auch für die Verarbeitung sensibler Daten ist eine ausdrückliche Zustimmung erforderlich.
Eine Folge der neuen Gesetzgebung ist, dass Unternehmen die (eindeutige oder ausdrückliche) Zustimmung häufiger von Kunden einholen müssen. Eine Sorge ist, dass dies zu einer „Zustimmungsmüdigkeit“ führt, vergleichbar mit der „bedeutungslosen Einwilligung“, mit der man heutzutage Cookie-Hinweise auf Webseiten wegklickt. In der Implementierungsphase muss genau auf den praktischen Wert von Zustimmungsanforderungen für neue Technologien wie das Internet der Dinge (IoT) geachtet werden, das weder webbasiert ist noch sichtbare Benutzeroberflächen bietet.
2. Neue Verbindlichkeiten und Verpflichtungen für Datenverarbeiter
Eine wesentliche Änderung durch die neue Regelung ist, dass Datenverantwortliche und -verarbeiter bei Verstößen gegen die Verordnung gemeinsam haften.
Dieser Haftungsverbund erweitert die Verantwortung über die Unternehmen hinaus, die personenbezogene Daten sammeln und verwenden. Cloud-Anbieter, Rechenzentren und Verarbeiter werden künftig für die Daten haften, mit denen sie arbeiten. Da Datenverarbeiter kaum wissen können, ob die von Datenverantwortlichen gesammelten Daten der neuen Verordnung entsprechen, dürften die rechtlichen Implikationen dieser Anforderung den Vertragsabschluss zwischen Verantwortlichen und Verarbeitern schwierig und womöglich kostspielig gestalten. Das bedeutet, dass auf Kunden – insbesondere kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen – höhere Kosten zukommen. Verbraucher werden zudem mit einer komplexen Rechtslage konfrontiert, in der wenig Klarheit herrscht, wer bei Datenschutzverletzungen zur Rechenschaft zu ziehen ist. Nationale Datenschutzbehörden werden in enger Zusammenarbeit mit der Industrie Best-Practice-Modellverträge entwickeln müssen, damit vorgeschriebene Mithaftungsanforderungen möglichst einfach erfüllt werden können.
3. Einschränkungen beim „berechtigten Interesse“ als Rechtsgrundlage für die Datenverarbeitung
Viele Unternehmen verlassen sich derzeit auf den Rechtsbegriff des „berechtigten Interesses“ als Rechtsgrundlage für die legitime Verarbeitung von personenbezogenen Daten. Die neuen Regelungen beschränken nun aber die Fälle, in denen ein solches berechtigtes Interesse als Rechtsgrundlage für die Verarbeitung dienen kann. Unternehmen müssen sicherstellen, dass alle auf dieser Rechtsgrundlage verarbeiteten Daten die jetzt strikteren Anforderungen erfüllen und der Gesetzeslage im Mitgliedsstaat entsprechen. Das berechtigte Interesse ist eine wichtige Voraussetzung für die digitale Wirtschaft und stärkt die Unternehmensposition im Kampf gegen Cyber-Kriminalität und betrügerische Aktivitäten. Die Einschränkung dieser Begründung für die Datenverarbeitung könnte sich für viele Unternehmen als problematisch erweisen.
4. Neue Einschränkungen beim Profiling für Produkte und Dienstleistungen
Viele Unternehmen nutzen das Profiling und automatisierte, profilbasierte Entscheidungen, um kosteneffiziente, personalisierte Dienste in Echtzeit bereitzustellen, von denen Kunden profitieren. Die neue Verordnung begrenzt den Einsatz des Profiling, wenn dies zu „Rechtswirkungen“ führen könnte. Dies könnte bedeuten, dass z. B. Finanzdienstleister kein vollständig automatisiertes Profiling ohne irgendeine Form von Überprüfung durch einen Bearbeiter mehr verwenden dürfen. Das automatisierte Profiling wird unter bestimmten Umständen jedoch zulässig sein, z. B. bei der Betrugserkennung, bei öffentlichen Dienstleistungen oder wenn es das nationale Recht vorsieht.
Diese neuen Regelungen können für viele FinTech-Unternehmen problematisch sein, da das Erbringen gewisser personalisierter Finanz- und Versicherungsleistungen für Kunden hierdurch erschwert wird. Auch könnte es schwieriger für Unternehmen werden, insbesondere die betrügerischen Aktivitäten zu erkennen und zu verhindern, gegen die ein manuelles Vorgehen praktisch nicht machbar ist.
5. Innovation und weitere Verarbeitung
In einer digitalen Wirtschaft hängt Innovation von der Fähigkeit ab, vorhandene Daten zu verwenden und die Welt unterschiedlich zu betrachten. Die neue Verordnung sieht engere Grenzen für die weitere Verarbeitung vor, was Innovationen in vielen Unternehmen erschweren dürfte.
Es gibt viele unterschiedliche Interpretationen über die genaue Bedeutung dieses Artikels und wie er die Möglichkeiten von Unternehmen beeinflusst, neue, innovative Dienstleistungen basierend auf vorhandenen Daten zu entwickeln. Doch angesichts der empfindlichen Bußgelder, die Unternehmen bei einem Verstoß gegen die Verordnung drohen, ist die rechtliche Absicherung entscheidend, um nicht an Innovationskraft einzubüßen.
Sie wollen mehr über die DSGVO und die Folgen für Ihr Unternehmen erfahren? Hier können Sie sich für die letzte Veranstaltung von Leaders in Tech am 6. Dezember anmelden.
Ablauf des Abends:
19:00 Beginn
19:00 – 19:30 Networking und Glühwein
19:30 – 19:45 Security-Tests – eine Präsentation von Jürgen Unterreitmayer
19:45 – 20:00 Überblick über die DSGVO – Torsten Rammelmann
20:00 – 20:15 Live Hacker Demo
20:15 – 20:30 Fragen und Diskussion
20:30 – 21:00 Networking
21:00 Ende
Was für ein gutes Jahr für Leaders in Tech! Unsere wachsende Community in München zählt jetzt über 450 Mitglieder. Gemeinsam haben wir über Entwicklungen beim IoT, agile Strategien und die digitale Revolution gesprochen, erstklassigen Rednern gelauscht, uns einen Gin gegönnt, auf der Dachterrasse gegrillt und das Oktoberfest gefeiert. Unser Erfolg in München hat zu weiteren Leaders in Tech Events in Berlin, Stuttgart und im britischen Reading geführt – und für die Zukunft ist noch mehr geplant. Das nächste Leaders in Tech Meetup in Ihrer Nähe und unsere Community finden Sie hier.