Say hello to Jean Karl, who brings a bit of fun and life to us at Cleverbit. He’s a fan of sharing a good laugh with the team and sometimes even partakes in virtual rally races.
Inspired by his work colleagues from around the world, he’s started learning Russian. It’s a desire he’s had for a while and is now making it happen. In his free time, Jean Karl loves to watch a good series or movie, with his all-time favourite film being “Saving Private Ryan”.
His choice of music speaks about his thoughtful side, as he loves to immerse himself in ambient and orchestral music. Bucking the trend of other coders, Jean Karl isn’t a coffee drinker. He enjoys a cup of tea if offered one but water or kefir is what keeps him going. Curiously, one of Jean Karl’s keen interests is military history. He enjoys uncovering the past and the lessons learned from bygone eras.
Above all, Jean Karl puts the ‘kind’ in ‘one of a kind’. His kindness, manners and empathy are a testament to his upbringing and religious beliefs. He’s someone who respects others, works hard and is kind to everyone around him. He’s a great example of what we value in people.
How long have you been working for Cleverbit?
As of the day of this interview: 4 years, 4 months and 9 days 🙂
What is your role at Cleverbit?
A software developer.
How would you describe your job to someone without a technical background?
A bit like a mechanic working on their favourite car. They tinker with it and try to make it fit their needs/wants more. Another way of explaining it that a colleague of mine told me about which I also like using, is a doctor. Sometimes stuff might not be working as expected and you have to figure out what’s wrong and come up with a remedy for it.
What’s your earliest tech-related memory?
We have an old PC at home that I used to use when I was young. It has DOS and Windows 3.1 on it. My first memory would probably be playing a video game or messing around in Paint :D.
Did you always know you wanted to work in tech?
Professionally? No. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was young and I considered other career prospects. I however, always wanted to tinker with computers and their programs since I was a young boy, so I guess it’s only natural that things turned out the way they did.
Describe your day-to-day routine, if you have one.
It’s not really set in stone, however I more-or-less do the following everyday:
- Wake up and get out of bed (shocking I know :))
- Say my morning prayers
- Prepare myself and get dressed
- Have a really light breakfast
- Catch up on my RSS feeds
- Leave home and drive to work
People who work with tech can be superstitious. Do you have a favourite computer superstition or ritual?
Not really, no.
Who is your professional hero?
I don’t really have a person as my hero, however I look up to soldiers a lot as they embody 4 crucial traits:
- Loyalty: Belief in one’s cause, where one defends it till the very end, even if the odds are stacked against them.
- Courage/Bravery: Fear and the temptation of giving in are a natural part of life. Being able to keep your emotions under control, a cool head and not giving up are important.
- Camaraderie: In life, no one works alone (for the most part). Soldiers are trained to treat and consider each other as brothers. They need to be able to depend on and count on each other. If people were to look out for and help one another, the collective whole is elevated and seemingly impossible tasks are made possible and can be accomplished.
- Self-Sacrifice: A good soldier is willing to give up his life for what he believes in, for his fellow men and to make sure that he carries out his objective. Being able to sacrifice short term enjoyment for long term gains is an important trait to practice as it allows us to make the most of our lives and to live them in a meaningful way.
How did you end up working at Cleverbit?
I just finished my Masters and a friend of mine who did the same Masters course as me, was working with the company and told me about the opening. This company wasn’t my first choice but next thing you know, two weeks later I started working at Cleverbit.
What’s the office culture like at Cleverbit?
If I had to sum it up with one word, that word would be amazing. Everyone is really friendly and you frequently have wonderful discussions about various intellectually stimulating topics such as technology, philosophy and history (together with plenty of humour). We frequently hold varying social events so that people can mingle with one another, have fun and maybe learn a thing or two. I feel close to the people at Cleverbit and because of this, I prefer to work from the office.
Is there a project that you’ve worked on at Cleverbit that really stood out to you for whatever reason?
It’s actually the product I’m currently working on. It’s called InScope-AML and it’s an application meant to help companies in their anti-money laundering process by simplifying laborious aspects of said process. It’s a small project, so you get to work on both the frontend and backend and the features you work on go a long way to improving the product. The nice thing about this project is that since it’s a small project, you watch it grow over time. It’s a nice feeling knowing that your work has helped shape it, making it what it is today. Another nice perk is that you are making other people’s lives better by offering them a better product.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
I’ve always been fascinated with the work that detectives and private eyes do. I really enjoy the idea of finding clues and having to put them together to solve a mystery, as these types of problems rely on both creativity and logic to solve. The fact that I’m also actively making the world a safer place is a nice bonus.