We’re located in Bangkok for several reasons, a main one being work/life balance.
At 30SecondsToFly, we are constantly searching for new solutions and experimenting with new approaches. Being at the forefront of technological innovation provides us with a steep and exciting learning curve, and we work hard in the face of those challenges. However, we also strongly believe in having a healthy work/life balance. Our founders relocated our headquarters to Bangkok where we are just a short trip away from being in nature, some beautiful beach, or in the mountains to recharge over the weekend.
We all adhere to an 8-hour work day, and a 5-day workweek. Of course, we tend to spend more time at the office together when we have a release coming up because everyone is highly motivated to push out the best possible product to our customers. People can also work remotely for a day or two, as long they communicate their plans with the team. In general, we do encourage everyone to work from the office because it fosters cooperation and learning from each other. We try to all be at the office during roughly the same time period during the day, as we tend to have quick impromptu meetings over coffee in the mornings every week.
We love Bangkok because it has an emerging startup scene and a growing developer talent pool. Today, we attract talent from all over the world and our team members are from more than 8 different cultures across 3 continents. It’s a very enriching experience to work so closely in such a highly diverse team.
Bonded by Love for Product
We are all working for one mission: to build the world’s first artificially intelligent travel manager.
After realizing that there was a huge untapped market for travel management solutions for SMBs, the founders teamed up to start a revolution in corporate travel. With our technology Claire, we are spearheading a technological development that will shape the future of an entire industry: corporate travel.
Working on this cutting edge technology also means that we are constantly facing new and sometimes unexpected challenges. One of the problems we are solving, for example, is how to guide our users through the learning curve of talking to an A.I. We are experimenting with different features that help our users become early adopters. Another challenging aspect is how to program Claire to learn faster about the preferences of our users. We constantly run experiments and let the market drive our roadmap and decisions.
Since our product is an A.I. travel manager for businesses, we have integrated Claire with our Slack team and let her manage travel from there. If our team has any business trips coming up, they use Claire to book and manage them.
Rapidly Growing Team
We are looking to bring in a lot of new talent in the coming months!
In the coming months, the development team is set to add a Senior Backend (Node.js) Developer, a Lead Backend GDS Developer, and an AI Developer. Apart from the Node.js Developer, the two positions will be part of their own new teams. Six- to twelve- month goals depend on fundraising and will scale with our fundraising successes. These will include more backend developers, data scientists, NLP specialists, front-end React developers, and hiring folks dedicated to security and devops.
The new hires will join relevant teams. We have a front-end React.js, back-end Node.js and back-end Python teams. Some, like the Node.js API developers, have large existing infrastructures and they will start by working on minor changes or bug fixing before being thrown into more delicate or complex features. Other hires, like the AI Developer position, will be given more latitude for making changes from the beginning as long as they approach it with a research-first methodology. The reality is that the best way to place someone is based on their experience, domain knowledge, and the overall complexity of the domain, which needs to be tailored on a case-by-case basis.
The Node.js API developers will face challenges with various messaging platforms related to scalability and performance. They’ll also have to aggregate various travel suppliers in a seamless manner. The Python developers will face data related problems and come up with new and innovative ways to inject AI into our system. They’ll also need to come up with innovative architectures to improve the NLP conversations. We’d eventually like users to be able to do anything with the chat app and not even need a front-end dashboard. Any front-end developers will face the unique challenge of conversational dashboards (a new species of dashboards) and then the ultimate challenge of our Travel Agent Dashboard; nobody has done this well in the entire history of the travel industry.
The AI developers / data scientists have an additional challenge to create datasets for supervised learning algorithms. In general, if you want your AI to behave like a travel agent, you need data on how a travel agent behaves that you can use for training. Collecting this data is a huge challenge especially in the Travel Industry where the data just doesn’t exist because nobody saves it.
Our product roadmap relies on user feedback, and we depend on feedback from our teammates.
Except for a few remote employees in the US, our entire team is based in Bangkok. The general company culture involves a lot of feedback between the executives and the employees. The engineers receive constant updates and feedback from customers that are delivered by the PMs, who constantly run experiments with users, and conduct surveys and user feedback interviews. Our feedback culture is very flexible. Whenever the engineering team feels necessary ad hoc meetings are organized.
Also, our product roadmap is extremely market-driven and we try to keep the engineering team as agile as possible. We constantly run experiments with users, test our hypotheses, and adjust our strategy according to the results. This is essential because we are developing an entirely new product, which means there is no blueprint we can follow, and we must create our own.
Heavily Team Oriented
We believe that communication is key.
While the market drives our roadmap, every team member’s opinion is considered valuable in the decision making process. Especially when we need to make decisions about certain parts of the product, the engineers that are working on that specific component are always encouraged to weigh in. We also have an open door policy at all times in which everyone can approach other team members or executives ad hoc to discuss concerns or ideas in person. We also use Slack to ping ideas and constantly exchange opinions. Whenever important issues arise, we gather over lunch to discuss them.
Every engineer on our team is 100% dedicated to building this difficult but innovative product. This level of commitment is part of how we build a healthy team dynamic and maintain constant communication. As a result, we do not contract external contributors on our engineering team because we feel that contractors just don’t share the same team spirit with us. This isn’t just a job, this is what we love.
Committed to Personal Growth
Our culture is built on the unique skill sets of each individual and the collective desire for continued learning.
Generally speaking, we have given priority to recruits that are more specialized than generalized. Full-stack typically means someone needs a job and wants to be hired for doing anything. Instead of this, we look for people who actually like specific parts of the industry. For example, we have 2 complementary front-end developers. Sarn loves the CSS / Styling aspect and is significantly better than the rest of us with this. Win loves the JS aspects and is passionate about well structured code. Their strengths complement their weaknesses giving us a well rounded team.
Our python developer, Rook, also brought Docker / Kubernetes to the team. He mostly does Python work, but loves it when we can give him some DevOps work as he can learn something new. For a developer, to do something new is always fun. So we find out what people like and try to make sure they can spend time doing something new that they like.
We keep an eye on the community for events, classes, or seminars that are happening. Just recently, we had Rook attend a 2 day seminar about some advanced Docker / Kubernetes topics paid for by the company.
Team is Diverse
We are an international team based in Bangkok!
For a small team of about 18 people, our company is diverse comprising of over 8 nationalities, Italian, American, Thai, Bhutanese, German, among others. Our CTO Rob is American, for example. He has lived in Thailand for more than 9 years and speaks fluent Thai. He has a great feeling for the Thai culture and brings in a lot of the leading management techniques from the US. Our founders Riccardo and Felicia are Italian and German, respectively. Riccardo regularly cooks original Italian pasta for the entire team, which is why we call him “Italian Mama”, and Felicia knows everything about beer and German efficiency.
If you are interested in joining our international team but do not live in Bangkok, no worries. We will take care of your Thai visas and help you find accommodation here in Bangkok!
Our founders believe that the way a company treats communication has great impact on their employees.
We send out a weekly newsletter to the team in which the executives share details about what is going on in their respective fields. If internal decisions need to be made that affect the working environment of the team, the founders ask opinions first and try to find the best compromise that accommodates everyone’s feelings. Executives consciously make an effort to be approachable for any type of feedback and critique that can improve the working environment of the team.
Our office layout also promotes open communication. Our office desks are distributed across two rooms, and the desks are next to one another to inspire a cozy and communal feeling. We keep the physical distance between team members short so that we can easily and quickly communicate with each other. We also have a large common area in the office with desks and a large couch where the team usually chills to take a break or gathers during lunch.