In this week’s Meet the Developer we are meeting with Giga Chokheli, one of our great Clojure Engineers from Georgia.
How long have you been working at Flexiana?
It has been 22 months already.
What do you like the most about your job?
Well, there’re plenty of pros to talk about, but I’d highlight the freedom, trust, and respect that I feel from colleagues. I’d have also included the word management here, but since we have no vertical hierarchy in the company, I consider everyone to be a colleague.
What does your day normally look like?
I assume everyone starts with waking up. 😀 And then what happens is walking out my white fluffy fellow outside around 7 AM and having a lunch type of breakfast. I got used to eating a respectable size of meal as breakfast during my school years. Since we didn’t have a buffet with proper meals at school I was eating a lot in the morning.
Those have been times covered by dark clouds of the 90s, formed by the wars with Russia, civil war, and unrest after the demolition of the Soviet Union. Actually, I was born in 1992 in Tbilisi, during the war.
All right, enough, I drifted far, far away from the original question. During the day, it’s a mixture of writing code, documentation, interacting with teammates, and quite often joining a pair-programming session to solve my or my mate’s problems.
On the other hand, I do also help the HR team by conducting interviews with candidates who are eager to join Flexiana. The latter has been the way out of my comfort zone. In the beginning, 30 mins of the interview were taking perhaps 3-4 hours of coding energy. But eventually, I got used to the process and gained experience and now it feels like just another friendly chat. I’d like to mention one more thing – Flexiana isn’t a place where a developer does the task and just moves to another. We developers have direct communication with clients and always have the freedom to speak our minds and bring our own ideas aboard.
What was your thought the first time you heard about Flexiana?
Well, I thought it was a weird flex but OK 😀 The promise of a flat company without micromanagement sounded nice but I haven’t worked in one before. Eventually, it turned out to be quite true, and hence, I can say Flexiana is one of the few companies where reason comes first and status last, thus we don’t have status games that poison the cultures of many many companies.
What have you learned from life that you apply to your job?
That no one survives alone. Teams and communication are crucial tools for successful projects, completed and un-completes tasks. You don’t understand the task? – Ask questions. Do you doubt the importance of the task you’re assigned to? – Ask good questions. You’re stuck with the problem you’re facing? – Ask for help.
What current project are you involved in?
Currently, I’m working on 2 projects: Cicada and Versobiosense. The former is supposed to fill the gap in making crypto accessible to the daily lives of companies. Features will include batch payments to employees with one click (with Monero or Bitcoin), accounting software that will support digits beyond 2 decimals, transfer and exchange money between crypto and fiat currencies, and many more. Versobiosense is a different kind of project. The origin of it is multi-year research – looking for ways to understand female reproductive health better and make (more) empirical decisions in treatments. Eventually, the research has led to a tiny device that requires no batteries to function and transmit data from the human body. The Flexiana team is building a monitoring platform and a mobile app for the product.
What are your learnings from the project?
Every project is different in its own way, quite often it’s a matter of a new domain. Right now, on the ride, I’m learning about cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies, also female reproductive health. Tech-wise it’s not really rare that I’m introduced to new Clojure libraries. Meeting new developers from client teams has also been rewarding in many different ways. A couple of times our professional interaction has also turned into a long-term friendship that continues off the project.
What are your goals for the upcoming three months in the project?
Cicada – deliver MVP, we planned to present the product at the next MoneroKon in late November, but things changed a bit and the date shifted to 2023, we’d like to keep up the pace anyway. Regarding Versobiosense, we’re just starting and things are up in the air – lots of reading to be done and backlog to be filled, and so on.
What have you learned in Flexiana that you did not know before?
Clojure, professional Clojure. Flexiana trusted me, I had no prior professional experience in Clojure, thus I thoroughly appreciate it. I came across this parentheses-driven language in 2014 and it ticked so many different boxes at once – interactive REPL-driven development, immutable data structures, functional paradigm, and the simple tiny but powerful core of the language that is extensible beyond imagination.
What excites you the most about working at Flexiana?
People, our community of 115 developers. Everyone is respectful and supportive all the time, people who understand the value of teamwork and enjoy working that way.
What are your favorite memories from Flexiana?
Project-wise – implementation of the Elliptic-Curve Recovery algorithm which was intellectually challenging enough to glue me to a keyboard and gave me the energy to work through the night. I remember after the nap around 5-7 PM I sat for a short overview of the day. Ideas just kept flowing and flowing, I finished the next day at 2 PM.
I don’t cherish over-work, but sometimes one might have this stroke of creativity in programming. It might feel like writing a hypnotizing solo of Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd or 4th movement Sehr Langsam (Adagietto) from 5th Symphony by Gustav Mahler. Another memory is the product of this summer – meeting our folks in Berlin at ClojureD; and in Lisbon at MoneroKon. Finally organizing and meeting people that I have worked with for more than a year and sharing a laugh, a pint of beer and some parentheses has been a pleasure.
How would you describe working at Flexiana in a word?
Well, that’s an inFlexible task. So, since Clojure loves succinct names I’d choose the function and the word – comp[ositional].
Would you recommend people working at Flexiana?
Professionals, who enjoy the creative process of building products, love to communicate with colleagues and customers, and don’t take orders but argue against questionable tasks – will thrive there.
Any last words?