Talent is Showmax’ number one operating priority and we have large number of talented individuals in technical roles across the company. These are the folks that create, build and maintain our platform, tools and features - as well as write the posts for this blog. We’re featuring some of the people and personalities that make Showmax a great service as well as a great place to work.
Jiri is head of content management and delivery. His responsibilities include content encoding, CMS (content management system), content encryption (DRM, digital rights management) and our CDN (content delivery network). He is based in Czech Republic.
Ok - give us the basics, who are you, how did you end up at Showmax, and what do you actually do?
My name’s Jiří, but I go by Jirka. I’m 30 years old and married with 2 children. I’ve been at Showmax from the beginning, in fact even before the beginning when we developed a subscription video on demand platform that Showmax bought the rights to. My role? My friends would say I’m a geeky engineer and I can’t really argue with that. On a day to day basis I’m responsible for keeping Showmax’s content management system, or CMS for short, running smoothly.
Stressful job? How big is your team?
It’s definitely stressful at times. If the CMS falls over, then Showmax stops working - which is about as serious as it gets. Luckily I’ve got a team of three people working for me to help spread the load.
I’m going to put you on the spot - what’s the single biggest reason an engineer would want to work at Showmax?
Argh - that’s not really fair. I’m going with two reasons. First, engineering has a seat at the top table at Showmax. We’re part of the decision making process - as opposed to just blindly implementing what other people tell us to do. Having control of your own destiny is a major plus point. Second, I love the open culture. You’re not stuck in your own little silo - it’s encouraged to get involved on other projects, to run your own experiments, and to question what’s going on. There’s no finger pointing and no secrecy - if you need info or resources then you’ll get them. It’s honestly that simple.
You mentioned the culture - how is it on a day to day basis - are you guys like the Borg collective?
Haha - so far we’ve not hit the ‘resistance is futile’ stage of collective culture. I’d say it’s a friendly atmosphere - people do actually talk about life outside of work and care about what’s going on in other people’s lives. We try to avoid the sandwiches as your desk, earphones constantly on type of environment. In fact taking a proper sociable lunch break has become a bit of a hallmark of life in the engineering department. This is helped by being in great locations in Prague and Beroun - nearby shops, restaurants, public transport, and of course parking for the petrol heads.
Do you guys prefer specialists or generalists? How is work organised?
This is an annoying answer, but the truth is we do both. To some extent we’re all specialist ninjas at something or other who the rest of the company comes to when they need advice. At the same time, our job isn’t just sustaining the existing product but to keep creating new stuff. That means everybody is allowed to touch any part of the platform. It’s helped by us having a very flat organisation - we focus on getting things done rather than bureaucracy and big company bullshit.
You said people are expected to create new stuff. Is that just a line or do you really do that?
We’re a B2C company - what you do has a clear and immediate impact on the final product. We’re constantly making tweaks and reviewing what that does to user behaviour, sign ups, etc… Teams are given a goal but definitely not given an instruction of how to get there. People working in backend teams like the fact that we’re one of the few companies that actually does testing as opposed to just talks about it. We also do continuous deployment, controlled by the team rather than a faceless release manager elsewhere in the business.
Do you get cool toys?
If you’re asking about ping pong and pool tables, that’s not really our style. We’ve got the best guys in their fields and they are here to get things done. I’ll quickly say it’s not a machine - we’re not obsessed with working hours and people most definitely are expected to have private lives outside of work. One thing we do have when it comes to cool toys is the best of whatever we need to do the job - shared infrastructure for developers and tooling, test devices like pretty much every phone, tablet or TV you could imagine, you get to choose your everyday work weapon - whichever laptop, etc. works for you. We’ve even got motorised desks so you can work sitting, standing or however you want. On top of that, personal development is strongly encouraged whether that’s attending conferences or buying technical books or whatever else you might need.
Let’s say I’m interested. How long before you guys implode or run out of money?
Slightly awkward, but a really good question. I’ll put it this way - we need to earn the right to exist and that means having a really good product that people want to buy. If we do that, and I’m biased but I’ll say so far so good, then we’re in good hands. Our parent company, Naspers, is one of the biggest technology investors in the world. They have the financial muscle to support our growth, and they most definitely want to see us succeed.
For more information on careers at Showmax, visit our Careers Page.