An insider’s look into the product team

Hello, hello! 👋

Let’s start with proper greetings. First of all, welcome everyone who has joined within the last 2 years, to this wild crypto ride and particularly to the first row seats in the Utrust rocket! To those of you who I haven’t reached out to in over a year, long time no see! I’m back, not with a product update this time, though we will be boosting our communication in that regard too, but with an announcement.

This is the start of our Product Blog! And we have a few goals with it:

  • Allow you to learn about what goes on inside our service;
  • Help you understand some of our thought processes in achieving solutions to identified problems;
  • Let you get to know the stars that make up our awesome team;
  • Keep you more up to speed about what we are working on.

You might wonder why this is happening now, since we have been around since 2017! Well, you do have a point. We actually used to do more technical posts before but our team has evolved significantly and, last year, we had a massive internal organisation shift, with Sanja replacing Nuno as CEO, and a very substantial growth in volume. This meant we needed to divert our attention elsewhere.

Now, however, we have amazing individuals that have been putting all of their effort and experience into building Utrust, and, to be frank, their experiences are worth sharing with the world 😃

With the introductions out of the way, let’s move on to the contents of the first post shall we?

I mentioned previously that we have changed in the past few years. And so I’d like for you to get to know us. Not us — Utrust as a whole — but the individuals that make up the Product Department.

As I write, we are currently 16 people:

Me — CPO, starting out as an intern in 2018

Antonin — Head of Engineering, also from 2018

Rita — Delivery Manager, started as a support agent in 2018. She also manages all our QA

João Gonçalves — Designer, joined in 2019

AK — Designer, joined a bit over a month ago!

Team Monopoly

Hugo — Dev & Team Lead, started as an apprentice in 2018

Money Flow branch

Zdenko — Dev, joined 2018

Mário — Dev, joined late 2019

Devops branch

Nuno Fernandes — Dev, Q1’20 batch

Tamara — Devops, joined a bit over a month ago

Team Snow

Tó — Dev & Team Lead, Q1’20 batch

João Rodrigues — Dev, Q1’20 batch

Daniel — Product Manager, early 2018 , started as a developer

Team Proton

Rui — Dev & Team Lead, Q1’20 batch

Wolfgang — Dev, joined mid this year

Pierre — Product Manager, joined early this year

Interesting names for the teams, right? Well, each of them has its own micro-culture. The team members picked each name themselves. Each team has a specific scope of work and also creates and defines when rituals happen (not blood related, just agile ones, I think 🤔)

Fun fact: I suggested letting the teams name themselves a few years ago and there was an attempt to have that backfire by creating chaos. One of the teams named themselves Irish Wristwatch. Try to say that several times properly. You might notice it is a bit of a tongue-twister. That name stuck for well over a year, until every member of the team changed 😅

So what do they actually do?

Snow

Well, Team Snow is the team focused on serving both our Merchants and our Buyers. It’s a tall order, and there’s always a lot on their plate. In the future, this team is likely to be split into different areas. But for now these are some of their areas of work:

  • Merchant Dashboard
  • Integrations
  • Buyer Payment Widget
  • Buyer Refunds

Basically if you have ever seen or used our product, you certainly have interacted with their baby. 🔨

The “Snow” name was inspired by GoT, back it when it was cool 😬

The Team Lead was actually the Lord Commander.

Proton

Now, protons, they are invisible to our eye. They work behind the scenes to make everything seamless in our internal processes and with other departments. KYB? Accounting? Growth Analysis? They are in all of that. They breathe data and store all needed views and information for our Finance, Compliance and Support teams. But they also support Marketing and Sales. Though their work is invisible to you, it is what allows all manual operations that we do feel as if they were automatic.

Monopoly

Previously, they were the Irish Wristwatch team. I’m sort of the Product Manager (that’s why we are currently hiring a Financial/Technical Product Manager). As the name implies, this team handles all financial transactions, from blockchain development, including nodes, exchange integrations, server maintenance, to even some security related operations. Any time you send funds to our platform, they are the ones who ensure it arrives safely and is processed quickly and efficiently. This means that a lot falls on their shoulders. Blockchain isn’t exactly a stable industry yet, and evolving compliance regulations affect how we can do things over time. Furthermore, this team is already divided into two main areas of work: devops and money flow. So stay tuned as we are very likely to be opening some positions for this team in the next few months

We have very ambitious plans.

It was important for me that you got to know our team better, as it’s their faces or, rather, their writing, that you will be seeing more of in this blog.

So what else can I share about this team?

  • Developers have weekly tech discussions where they discuss technical implementations and share technical improvements;
  • Every time we have an issue we build postmortems and act upon them to ensure it doesn’t happen again;
  • We have monthly power-up days. As a tech company, we are deeply aware that there’s a lot of new, shining, cutting edge, super performant, awesome technologies/processes/methodologies/you_name_it popping up every day, and as imperfect human beings, we don’t want to miss the hype train. This is why we periodically evaluate what’s new, in order to understand if it can add value to our toolset or not. All journeys are easier if we don’t do them alone, right? So, in order to speed up our discovery process, and spend some time with teammates that we don’t usually work with, we came up with the idea of having a dedicated day, from time to time, to exploration. This way, we can power up our skills and knowledge about what’s out there. (I may or may not have stolen this text from our internal Wiki)
  • We also have Scare the Shit — we needed a moment dedicated to sharing what teams were doing, as we had gotten feedback that they were were too isolated. Furthermore, we needed a space to do full product retros and updates. As such I… proposed a placeholder name of “Share the Shit”. Alas, I was afflicted by slight dyslexia and it came out as “Scare the Shit”. Since no one submitted a suggestion for another name, Scare the Shit stuck. And that’s how it still is 😅

Ah… It seems I am running a little long. I hope this all was interesting to you. And I know there’s far more content you’d like me to get to. So let me address what I imagine will be the main FAQ.

What’s in Utrust’s roadmap?

Well, three main things:

  • Increasing adoption through more currencies, more integrations, better ways to pay efficiently, and extended APIs;
  • Adding more key benefits to our clients such as the ones we mentioned in a previous blog post;
  • Improving our money flow to make all transactions smoother, quicker and cheaper.

This is broad, I know, but we are preparing the new year with a lot of fresh content, and we will have more opportunities to make our road clearer. In the meantime, do reach out with ideas/suggestions for anything that could feature in our blog.

Finally, a quick shoutout: -> We are looking to increase our team to achieve far more during the next year. If you know someone that would fit into our culture and with our ambition do let them know about our career page.

And stay tuned!

Martinho

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