Ring, ring, ring…
We called Fabian Jäger, Co-Founder & CTO of Mailbutler, on his banana phone and asked him to tell us more about his company. The result: Insights into an absolutely sympathetic place to work.
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The name “Mailbutler” already gives something away, but please tell us a little bit more: What do you do? What is your mission?
We at Mailbutler want to provide a digital email assistant for the self-employed, freelancers, and small companies to structure, enrich and boost their everyday business email communication and relationship management — all right from their inbox.
To achieve this, we built an extension to existing email applications, so that our users do not need to leave their known environment, but get additional tools by installing Mailbutler.
While other similar products target mass email campaigning, we focus on 1-on-1 business email communication and optimize our users’ daily workflow. We aim to make business emailing easy and helpful again, instead of a chore!
Let’s take a look behind the scenes. What are your company’s values? What is it like working at Mailbutler?
Mailbutler has been profitable from the day of the founding of the company. As we don’t rely on investors and are in full control over the company and its future, we provide a very stable work environment for our employees.
At Mailbutler we have six core values: Focus!, Grow beyond your limits, Celebrate success, Think and act like owners, Deliver results in an uncertain world, and See through the customers’ eyes. For me personally, the most important of these six core values are Grow beyond your limits and Think and act like owners. I want to enable each and everybody in our company to contribute to our success. To this end, we try to provide everybody with enough room to work independently and grow. We provide personal development plans for each employee, and we never micromanage.
As CTO, I’m sure you can tell us a bit more specifically about the Tech Team. How big is the team? What do the team spirit and culture look like?
We at Mailbutler believe in the power of lean teams with very talented developers. Our tech team consists of 10 software engineers. Each of the developers is an expert in their area, but we regularly hold presentations about technical topics so everyone can grow. This is related to the key characteristic of our tech team: Open communication. We spend time during code reviews to squeeze the optimal solution out of a proposed code change. In this and the retrospective meeting, everyone is both contributing and learning.
That brings us to the next question: What technologies does the tech team work with? What does the tech stack look like?
Our backend’s core is a Ruby-on-Rails server, accompanied by various micro-services written in Node.js, Ruby or Python. We leave the decision of which one to use to the tech team. The whole backend infrastructure is hosted in AWS with automatically scaling container-based instances.
What projects is the tech team working on? What interesting challenges can you share?
Mailbutler is a software product company and therefore the product and development team is the core of everything we do. Our software engineers work in close collaboration with product owners, UX/UI designers, quality assurance, and also with our customer success team.
The most interesting challenge for our tech team is the diversity of both our users and the email clients they use. Mailbutler is an extension, not a standalone app; therefore, it requires fine-tuned solutions adapted to the frontend (Apple Mail, Gmail or Outlook). Moreover, our backend engineers need to ensure that our system works flawlessly with any kind of email server configuration, and there are some wild server configurations out there.
How has Mailbutler adapted to the challenges of the Covid pandemic?
Until March 2020 we worked together in a beautiful office in Berlin Schöneberg. It was a former family apartment which made it feel a bit like working in a second home. When the pandemic came to Germany, we switched to fully remote work to protect our colleagues.
After a couple of months, we asked the team how they envisioned their future working situation. It became clear quite quickly that we will never go back to office-only again. Instead, we have a co-working space in Berlin: Whoever wants to work from an office space can go there and enjoy all the amenities, while those who prefer to work from home are welcome to do this.
This gives us the answer to the frequently asked remote work question. What are other perks of working at Mailbutler?
As mentioned, the flexible, hybrid working environment is a big benefit that not every company offers. We try to define expectations based on the outcome of your work and not based on the number of hours spent working. Especially the tech team works in an agile environment, i.e. in sprints. When all the work is done that was planned for a sprint, developers are free to decide what they do with the rest of their time.
We do personal development planning with every employee, including external technical and soft skill training. Moreover, the decision about technologies is left to the developer team. We also have an internal hackathon every year to explore new technologies and topics.
For all those whose interest you have just sparked: What are your hiring goals over the next 12 months?
Thank you for sharing all these insights!
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