Here at Slash, it’s important for us to give a voice to our staff. They are the ones on the ground, getting things done and we feel it’s important to give them the opportunity to tell their stories. Stories from inside Slash will be a new series of articles in which we plan to feature various interviews with Slash staff members. To begin the series, Maria from Slash People Operations sat down with the Senior Agile Delivery Manager to talk about his passions, life and remote working culture.
A little background before we begin. Today’s interviewee, Amin, launched his own startup in 2018 filling the CTO role. The startup was a school information system which enabled him to learn much about building a venture company in response to market research. The startup obtained government funding, plus partnered with a major Islamic education organization in addition to receiving an angel investor within its first two years.
After leaving his startup, Amin proceeded to work as an Agile coach and product manager. However, after some time he experienced burnout due to a number of reasons, many connected to the company’s remote work policies. At that time, Amin came across Slash’s job advert for a Delivery Manager in early 2022 ultimately leading to him joining our team. Slash is delighted to have Amin on the team. Without further ado, let’s get into the interview!
Maria: How did you first learn about Slash, and what drew you to Slash originally?
Amin: I was searching for a suitable job, one that fit that which I’m passionate about. I found the Slash job advertisement on LinkedIn. I saw the website and my first impression was that it was written from the heart, not only copying and pasting from other generic content to draw peoples’ attention and eyes. When I checked Slash’s website, the UI design is quite different from others; it’s well designed and displays the company culture. I felt even the text, word for word, was carefully crafted. I think the way Slash put everything together attracted me and I thought there is a chance that this company would implement the values and culture they promote on their website.
Then I met Alex, the meeting gave me more assurance that this was the company I would like to join. I didn’t even think of applying for another company at that time, Slash was my only goal.
When I talked to the executives, we discussed how the leaders do business, the strategy of venture building or investment, and the benefits of doing custom development for clients. I saw the potential for Slash to achieve tremendous success, and I want to be part of it, I want to learn.
Maria: When you spoke with the leaders at Slash, what was your impression?
Amin: The executive team is great. They are the type of leaders you want to work with: defined by intelligence, humbleness, with a growth mindset, highly technically capable and they have prepared a better way to run a business. I feel like there are a lot of great plans that they haven’t shared yet, but my gut feeling tells me they’re coming. In all honesty, these are extremely rare feelings and impressions people have when meeting with entrepreneurs. I have never felt this way in my previous experience.
This excited me as to the prospect of all that I can learn from them. I had goosebumps when talking to them. These are the people that I’ve been looking for, like a journey that I’ve been trying to start for a long time.
Maria: Amin, I see you as a family man. Since we are working remotely, how do you balance your career at Slash and family?
Amin: It’s great so far. As I mentioned, I worked with remote companies that required time tracking, logs, etc. Here, there’s no such thing because they trust you. Day to day, I can be with my wife, and my baby. My baby can join me when I work. Slash understands the challenge of working from home, remotely, and balancing this with your private life. That gave me a sense of relief. Like it’s okay to sometimes be interrupted by your baby because you’re working next to them.
And remote work is in general amazing, I don’t have to commute so I can use the time for my family. I’m lucky to be given the chance to make my life more wholesome.
Maria: But remote work has its own challenges too, right? Especially during the pandemic, office hours became blurry, sometimes it’s difficult to separate your life with your work. There is an argument that work-life balance does not exist but work-life integration does. Or work-life integration is better than work-life balance. What do you think?
Amin: I tend to agree with this argument. Work-life balance is too idealistic, and not easy to achieve. It’s not as simple as giving more annual leave to employees, or giving less working hours for example. Work-life balance is a terminology that is still rooted in idealism. But I tend to agree with work-life integration. When we hire someone, we hire the person with the family; alongside the challenges therein. One can go to work with their personal challenges that might affect their performance.
Maria: That’s a very interesting thought. I guess it is kind of true. I personally feel that it shouldn’t be contradictory or the opposite. Work-life balance is as if the things are opposite to each other. Like in competition with each other. Whereas, work-life integration is more about synergies between the two. It includes your life, your work, your family, your home, your community, your health, and so on. Companies need to shift their mindset towards this direction.
Amin: Yes. There are also some cons with this mindset. Work-life integration can only be achieved by having trust and flexibility, essentially freedom. Companies need to make sure they hire someone whose culture and values fit the company’s. Otherwise, it would be chaotic.
Maria: If you could pick one theme for Slash to turn into a book about the company, what would it be?
Amin: The company you dream of working for!
Maria: What do you find the most challenging at Slash right now?
Amin: The language barrier, because we are working with very technical terms, and our team is very diverse. We come from different countries. There are times we have to reconfirm and repeat, but I think this is a general challenge that remote teams have. The second challenge is that it is hard to meet people, naturally so given everyone is working remotely. Slack is useful for communication, but often face to face is still best even though it’s not an option. You know, working in an office and being able to talk to someone at the desk next to you, or just walk up to your manager and get an answer immediately are a thing of the past for remote working companies. So working around that is a challenge, especially considering everyone’s busy schedules.
Maria: I understand. I’d like to acknowledge that. Those are challenges that are raised by a lot of remote teams, especially the ones that have non-English native speakers like we do. But even without this diversity, in many other cases, remote work requires people to repeat things over and over again. We are not able to see people’s direct reaction, and we don’t get immediate responses, unfortunately the downside of remote work. A more asynchronous strategy is needed.
Okay, let me get back on track here. I’d like to ask what your favorite part about working at Slash is?
Amin: It’s very hard to say because I have plenty.
Maria: Glad to hear that! How about the best 3?
Amin: Ok, the first one is the growth mindset. We don’t focus on the mistake we made, rather we focus on what we can learn from that experience, and then take some action in order to become better. Second, there is a specific value that isn’t written in our company culture. That is, everyone is humble. We are not competing with each other, instead we are supporting each other to achieve better results. Third, there is no judgement of where people would like to grow. You are expected to give your best but at the same time, your continued learning and growth is strongly supported.
Maria: Amin, we’ve come to the end of this conversation; it has been a nice one. I have one final question. What is on your wish list for the next 5 years with Slash?
Amin: I have plenty, but personally I see two figures within the company: Alex and Andries. I wish to be a leader like Alex and Andries as they inspire me to become better. I wish to combine their good traits and learn from their experience & work ethic to create my own leadership style in the future.
From the executives and everyone here at Slash, welcome to the team Amin! We are fortunate to have you join us here and look forward to achieving great things together in the future.
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