Meet our team making things happen at CodeControl and our new freelancer platform 9am!
This time we’ve talked to Blago. As a Product Owner, he focuses on bringing our internal products to life.
Where are you from and where are you living now?
I’m from Bulgaria. Varna on the seaside and I moved to Sofia to study accounting in university and then stayed in Sofia.
What did you do before working at CodeControl and how long have you been here?
While in university, I realized that accounting was not for me. I was learning graphic design and photoshop on the side and then started to develop as a freelance designer. Freelancing was not popular then, especially in Bulgaria. None of the professors had had their own business before, so they taught mostly theory. I started a foundation called StartUP with friends to inspire more people to start their own thing and progress as freelancers and business owners. We did hackathons, entrepreneurship events and got speakers. We did this for five years and also invited people from outside Bulgaria to exchange knowledge.
This is how I ended up at CodeControl too. Someone recommended me to Marc (the Founder) for graphic design but my portfolio was not very good. Marc already had two developers in Bulgaria and was thinking of having a hub there. I really wanted to be involved in the company and Marc said that I could do the project management as I had experience in that. That was 2015 when it was all just beginning and CodeControl was not at all what it is today.
What do you do here now?
I’m now a Product Owner for 9am and CC. I always find it interesting and ever-changing with new focuses and things to do. It’s still challenging and exciting after all these years and I like seeing how it has evolved. At the beginning, there was no internal product and we were focused on getting projects, had a couple of internal developers, but then realized that working with freelancers and having that community was the better approach. It gradually pivoted into the community concept and what CC is now.
One of these projects that started in early 2016 is still going and I’m still managing it as it has evolved - it’s an iOS app and it’s been rebuilt a couple of times from scratch and started as an MVP. I slowly worked more on the internal infrastructure here and less on external projects. Then 9am evolved so I’m now the mediator between Marc (his vision) and the development team. I build UX and UI concepts for how things should work. It’s a group effort as everyone’s ideas are always welcomed and implemented if it works.
How do you describe working at CodeControl?
Interesting as I’ve done so many things and evolved here. I initiated the changes myself and it was amazing to have that flexibility to change my role every couple of years, do and learn more things, and work with new people. The culture is open, inclusive, and flat. Everyone’s ideas are listened to and implemented if they will work well, there is no hierarchy, and yet there is structure with people having roles so everyone knows who focuses on what.
What do you like best about remote work?
Freedom, flexibility, and being able to decide for yourself where to work from. If I’m tired one day, I’ll work less and then work more the next day as it’s results oriented. I can take my laptop anywhere and work, but it’s also important to detach from work.
What is a day in your life like?
I’m more of a night person, not a morning person. I bought an apartment recently and I have an office in it now so I can have that separate place to work. Then I go to the gym at night, have a big meal and then sleep, which is a favorite thing of mine to do. I travel on the weekends if possible. I’m doing construction on the apartment and learning to do those things myself through youtube videos, so I bought a bunch of tools and this has taken a lot of time the last couple of months. I used to scuba dive a lot and hopefully will again soon.
Book or podcast you recommend?
I prefer videos and podcasts as I can listen to or watch them at the same time as doing something else. A podcast I liked with Bill Gates and Rashida Jones was ‘Ask Big Questions’, but it only lasted 5 episodes. I also like Youtube videos by creators who make a lot of effort to research serious topics and convert them to short, bit sized videos.
Favorite productivity app?
Discipline is all I need, not a magic silver bullet app - they are only tools and many of them will do the same tasks, so often you just need to pick one and stick with it. Clever tools can help solve your problems, but sometimes you just need to sit and do your work.
Favorite place you’ve traveled?
I like traveling a lot and have missed that in the last couple of years. I’ve liked every place I’ve been and found something good to explore there. South Africa was my first big trip, to Kruger National Park - it is ⅕ the size of Bulgaria just in the park. We went on a safari with a small group and saw a lot of animals. It was two weeks in South Africa and a couple of days in the park.
Where do you want to travel or live for a while that you haven’t been to yet?
Japan. A trip was planned but canceled in early 2020 when I had planned to go. Otherwise I’d like to explore Namibia, in a 4X4 truck with a tent on top and stay in camping sites.
Feel free to connect with Blago on LinkedIn or message him to ask about working with CodeControl!
Are you also interested in helping to shape the future of work? Check out opportunities to join our team!