5 Questions for Sandra

Sandra Kade

Another new team member joined us last year! It is long overdue to introduce her to you. We want to do that right now. We’re happy to announce that Sandra Jurema Kade has been our Content Marketing Manager since September 1, filling in for Lea Schilling during her parental leave. She herself is also just coming out of parental leave. Before that, she worked in a completely different field. For the past 14 years, she has worked as a freelance final editor and translator. She used her parental leave after the birth of her twin girls to reorient herself and is now looking forward to combining what she has learned in years of experience with her newly acquired knowledge. Sounds exciting! What role Brazil and rhubarb spritzer play in her life and how long she has known Picalike, you can find out in the following 5 questions we asked her.

Sandra Kade

Tell us something about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

I’ll have to elaborate a bit: I was born in Germany, but grew up in Brazil in the Amazon region. When I was 17, I came back to Germany to finish high school at a boarding school in Lower Saxony before going to Rostock to study. Since graduating, I now live back in Hamburg, my birthplace.

I love DIY, yoga and baking/cooking. Unfortunately my hobbies are a bit short right now since the twins are born, but as soon as I have some more time I’ll bring over some cupcakes, I promise!

What about your new responsibilities are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to showing Picalike, its great products and how work is done here to others on a regular basis, to inform others about it and also about so much more. I have known the company since its inception and am very excited to be a part of it now.

When you look back in six months, what do you hope to see?

That I could reach and pick up the recipients with the choice of topics for newsletters, blog posts, etc. and with the elaboration of the topics. And maybe even got a few returns.

Are you more of a home office or office type?

Kind of both, although a bit more of a home office guy than an office guy. I like working from home, because I can sort laundry or clean out the dishwasher at the Writer’s Block, where I’m guaranteed to come up with another idea that I can then sit down to, fortified with a fresh cup of coffee. But I also like to work in the office with other people, because the exchange can also be very inspiring, and I then also feel closer to the action. (Yes, I know that through Slack etc. you are always fully involved, even from home, but I still find the personal presence at the scene of the action a tad closer 🙂 )

What would be your favorite drink when meeting with work colleagues after work and why?

Since the twins are still so small, definitely a rhubarb spritzer, which is very refreshing after all, or a decaffeinated latte macchiato with oat milk. But if I didn’t have little babies now, it would definitely be a wine spritzer, my absolute after-work drink: fresh, sparkling and very delicious taste. Then white or rosé, depending on the mood.

Then we’ll soon be down here at the Betahaus café for a quick decaffeinated latte macchiato with oat milk and hope you have some muffins with you, too.

A conversation about adSoul, automations and marketing in 2021

Adsoul

Today we would like to introduce you to Thomas Ziegler and adSoul, the automation solution for paid search marketing. It enables online stores, for example, to place more detailed ads more quickly. Because it’s time to take a look beyond Picalike and see what’s exciting around us. And what our partner company has to offer is definitely exciting!

Adsoul

Dear Thomas, thank you for letting me ask you these questions! Let's start right away with the first question about marketing: How do you think marketing in general has changed in the last year due to the special circumstances?

Like many other industries and disciplines, marketing has not been made any easier by the global pandemic. However, I believe that we in digital marketing are in a very privileged position because most of us can work from home, most jobs have been preserved (except for certain industries like travel, of course), and even though 2020 brought many challenges, we as marketeers have drawn a very bearable lot. Nevertheless, marketing also had to adapt in many places. Last year, for example, we wanted to visit 18 trade fairs and conferences in order to make adSoul even better known there and to give interested parties an insight into our solution. On-site events were cancelled by the dozen, and the digital counterparts, as well thought of as they were, unfortunately couldn’t even begin to compensate. We had to make up for that, and the channel of choice was, of course, digital. So the pressure on online marketing was once again increased significantly and the increased competition on Google, LinkedIn and Co. naturally caused prices to skyrocket.

But it wasn’t just direct contact with customers through events that was eliminated; the all-important training opportunities for our own employees also fell away for the time being. The very dynamic environment in the digital industry means that there is a lot of pressure to learn and adapt. Fancy events required a significant effort to not completely neglect the know-how update, but also the almost even more important networking.

Working itself has changed a lot in marketing, as it has in many other professional fields. Due to home offices, we had to internalize a new way of working. Increased need for coordination and more time in the organization of information flow are just two of the points that were added to the normal and the above-mentioned efforts. Nevertheless, we experienced a very good year economically and were able to grow strongly, especially through marketing.

After initial uncertainty, our potential customers also discovered the need for digitization and automation even more strongly for themselves, and in the second half of the year in particular we held very, very many digital appointments. That was hardly the case before. But I think it will remain an integral part of marketing in the future, and here especially also of CRM. Not only does this reduce costs, but the frequency of exchange can also be intensified and even smaller topics and issues can be clarified quickly and easily.

Before you came to marketing automation, you worked for many years in marketing for various large online stores (Witt Weiden, Peter Hahn). What is the most important lesson you learned there?

Adsoul

In my years working in digital marketing for large multichannel retailers, I’ve come to realize one thing: There’s always enough to do and never enough time to get everything done that you’d like to tackle. Planning, prioritization and fast, agile adaptation are among the most important soft skills needed.
The environment is highly dynamic and progresses extremely quickly. If you want to be in the game, you have to keep developing. And that in many different areas. Creativity, organizational and communication skills, data analytics and tech-savyness, and a high level of empathy for the target group are areas that don’t usually go hand in hand, but are nevertheless almost a basic requirement for good online marketing.

How did you actually get into marketing?

In 2008, I had dealt with the topic of e-commerce in the context of self-employment alongside my studies. Especially with the need to bring traffic to the site of an own online store. I taught myself the most important marketing channels. Search engine marketing excited me right away, because it generates direct measurability very quickly. Especially when you’re just starting out, this is incredibly helpful for learning quickly and developing yourself further. It’s also incredibly motivating to see what happens because you do this or that.

Adsoul

I also think that the mechanisms behind SEA show a very good general understanding of the respective business model in total. Due to the direct measurability, you are always quite quickly one step further in the metrics. The topic of customer lifetime value was in our minds from the very beginning when it came to management. Due to the enormous transparency, we also had to deal with tracking and the functioning of store systems early on and were able to put the knowledge on an even broader basis here as well.

13 years later: What do you think will change now in 2021 after the very special 2020?

As I mentioned earlier, it is not only in marketing that there has been a significant shift toward digitization. This has also made online marketing even more important, and in a market that is already characterized by a shortage of experts and talent, this increases the pressure on the efficiency of the working time used. Automation, and I am firmly convinced of this, helps us to achieve more. Because by automating time-consuming tasks, I have more time to take care of other things. Whether it’s defining new growth areas, optimizing existing measures, or even better coordinating measures with each other. Marketing automation will therefore continue to grow significantly in importance over the next few years and will continue to accelerate for the reasons mentioned (shortage of skilled workers and rapid growth in demand).
It remains exciting to see to what extent remote working will have an impact.

New Year's was a while ago, but still: What do you wish for 2021?

For adSoul, I wish that we continue to successfully follow the path we have chosen and further our mission of freeing people from tasks that add little value but are necessary. For all of us, I wish that we can overcome the pandemic as quickly as possible and minimize the tragic losses of loved ones by acting responsibly and in solidarity.

And what should every company pay special attention to in the coming year?

People First. 2020 has demanded a lot from the companies, but it’s mainly the employees who have managed it. I’m incredibly proud of what our team achieved last year, but I’m even more proud of the “how”. Our employees have taken the already high level of personal responsibility to another level. Despite the difficult circumstances for all of us, they have tirelessly given their best to the common goal, and without the people behind adSoul, we would not be where we are today.

Thank you for the detailed and interesting answers!

5 Questions for Timo

Timo Schulz

We would like to warmly welcome another new team member. Although, he is not completely new. Timo has been part of our team before, at the very beginning from 2013 to 2017. Now, at the beginning of this year, he joined us again for a few months as an external. He obviously enjoyed it: instead of accepting a new offer from a large company afterwards, he decided to rather support SMEs during this time and continue the ongoing project. Working with old acquaintances also had its appeal. So Picalike became an attractive employer for him again and he returned to the team – as a permanent member! It goes without saying that we are very happy about this.

Timo Schulz

Dear Timo, you are not a newcomer at Picalike, but a comebacker, which we are very happy about! Nevertheless, most of the team doesn’t know you from the “early days of Picalike”. Therefore we would like to ask you a few questions. Tell us something about you. Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

I was born and raised in a small town near Hamburg. I often spend my free time cycling or hiking. I also collect classic sci-fi literature and comics. If there’s still time left, I’m tinkling at the keyboard to further develop my AI recommendation system for movies, because movies are also one of my passions, and of course AI.

What has changed about your tasks at Picalike? What did you do before, what do you do now?

Even though I was hired with a focus on Machine Learning + Software Engineering back then, working in a young startup naturally means that the areas of responsibility are quite diverse. And since I was lucky enough to contribute knowledge from many different areas, I was able to help on many fronts. Almost everything probably sums it up quite well, there would be classic software development, building an AI environment, DevOps and also customer support. Today, my job is a bit more narrowly defined, but one thing I have in common is that I need knowledge from different areas, which is of benefit to me. In English, it’s probably “Jack of all Trades”, which is also what I put down as an activity in my LinkedIn profile.

When you look back in six months, what do you hope to see?

That we’ve come a long way, that the work is bearing fruit, the company is growing and thriving, and that our customers find the new products as fragrant and useful as we do.

Are you more of a home office or office type?

5 Fragen an Timo 3

At that time Timo was already part of the team: Christmas 2013

It depends. In the good old days, I already found it relaxing to pursue my work at home on Fridays in a concentrated manner and without many distractions. In general, I find home office useful when it comes to working on tasks that require little or no consultation with other colleagues. Otherwise, I appreciate the contact with the other picalingen, also because there are otherwise no “coffee kitchen synergies” and ideas in the home office can also be discussed less efficiently.

We’ve been told that you have an outstanding expertise in the art of brewing, you were even once a “beer commissioner” at Picalike. What would be your drink of choice when meeting with work colleagues after work and why?

It’s impossible to give a blanket answer here, because the appropriate drink depends on the person, the time and the place. Indeed, it is difficult to find the right beer for one person and for a group it is almost impossible, as tastes are very individual. An easy entry and best suited for a beer after work is a Helles, as it is mildly hopped, thus not very bitter and tremendously drinkable. But to be more specific, at a Christmas party, the Sweet Seduction worked well because the beer is comparable to an aperitif, so smaller glasses can be used, which lowers the barrier to tasting, and thanks to the honey, the complexity of the beer becomes a bit more manageable for the novice palate due to the sweetness.

Who knows, maybe there will be an opportunity to do a little beer tasting sometime. I, for example, would definitely like to try the Sweet Seduction. Who knows, maybe one or two of the team will find a new favorite drink there!

Great to have you back!

It´s still running? A status update after 6 months in the home office

6 Monate im Home-Office
6 Monate im Home-Office

6 month home office

Who would have thought that in March of this year? Back then, everything was still fresh, everything new (as reported here). It felt good to work from home. Finally in comfortable clothes, without long commutes, just throwing the laundry in the washing machine during my lunch break. A whole new attitude to life.

But how are we doing today? What has become of this supposed fulfillment of work-life balance? After more than 6 months in the home office, do we still feel as good as we did at the beginning of the Corona crisis? What has changed? How much do we miss the office routine and why do we suddenly no longer hoard toilet paper, but completely different things?

After half a year of “working from home”, we asked a few selected Picalike employees questions about their well-being and their work situation in the home office, and these are their answers:

Franziska is our Customer Success Manager and looks after existing customers at Picalike

Franziska Weiß
Franzi im Home Office

Franzi in the Home Office

 

If you don’t hoard toilet paper anymore, what do you have in abundance in the house now?

Phew, nothing really. We go shopping once or twice a week and get what we need. I don’t have the space at home to hoard anything.

Best book/audiobook/series/movie/video game/board game/podcast you discovered in the last months?

Series I could list many here now, but my favorites include:

The Handmaid’s Tale and Dark. Board games and community games I’m a fan of Wizard, but you need 3 people for that, which was of course difficult at the beginning of Corona. I could go on forever, but I think that’s enough.

It’s been a good 6 months now that we all don’t see each other every day in the office, but only every 2 weeks in a joint meeting. How do you feel today? Has your emotional state changed since the beginning of March?

I still feel very comfortable, as I have also gotten used to the situation and I like working in the home office.

Has anything changed in your workplace?

Yes, actually. Since working in the kitchen was not a long-term solution, I have created a small work corner in the living room. I can leave everything there at the end of the day and don’t have to put it away for dinner.

Which piece of clothing has become particularly dear to you during this time?

I’ll be honest – the sweatpants. When you sit at your desk all day it’s more comfortable than wearing jeans or something like that. 😄

Any new acquisitions in the household? (Pet, fitness equipment, balcony or garden remodel?).

We did purchase a food processor. Other than that, as I mentioned before, my new desk 😉

Have you discovered new leisure activities for you and/ or discontinued others?

Unfortunately, I do much less sports, at home I can motivate myself less well to do so. However, I still don’t like going to gyms at the moment.

What do you miss most in the home office?

Riding my bike to work every day and direct contact with colleagues, but fortunately we’ve found a pretty good solution internally so that it’s only half as bad 😉 (Editor’s note: We’ve introduced a daily chatroulette via Slack. Every day, you chat with a random team member for about 15 minutes about random topics or something completely different).

What do you not miss so much?

The time it takes to drive to work – yes, I miss riding my bike, but this way I have one hour more a day for private things.

Hand on heart: How often do you cook yourself pasta during the week or conveniently order food to eat at home?

In the beginning I ate a lot of convenience food, but now we cook a lot more thanks to our new food processor.

Hi Julius, how do you feel after 6 months in the home office? Has your emotional situation changed since the beginning of March?

I think we have made the situation as comfortable as possible for everyone. I am one of the people who spends most of my time in the home office (a team meeting in the office every 14 days). This is still more than in the early days, but not much. I realize that especially when I then see the team on site, then I notice that the contact with colleagues is already a bit lacking.

Has anything changed in your workplace?

Hardly at all, the main changes took place in the first few weeks. Although, a curtain was still important – in the mornings you are otherwise strongly blinded here.

Which piece of clothing has become particularly dear to you during this time?

Let’s be honest: shorts / sweatpants.

Any new acquisitions in the household? (Pet, fitness equipment, balcony or garden remodel?).

No.

Have you discovered any new leisure activities for yourself and/ or stopped doing others?

Too little exercise… Other than that, app development.

Hallo Julius, wie fühlst du dich nach nunmehr 6 Monaten im Home Office? Hat sich deine Gefühlslage zum Anfang März verändert?

Ich denke wir haben die Situation für alle so angenehm wie möglich gemacht. Ich gehöre zu den Leuten, die die meiste Zeit im Homeoffice verbringen (alle 14 Tage ein Team-Meeting im Büro). Das ist zwar immer noch mehr als in der Anfangszeit, aber nicht viel. Das wird mir vor allem bewusst, wenn ich dann das Team vor Ort sehe, dann bemerke ich, dass der Kontakt mit den Kollegen schon ein wenig fehlt.

Hat sich etwas an deinem Arbeitsplatz geändert?

Kaum noch, die wesentlichen Veränderungen fanden in den ersten Wochen statt. Obwohl, ein Vorhang war noch wichtig – morgens wird man hier sonst stark geblendet.

Welches Kleidungsstück ist dir in dieser Zeit besonders ans Herz gewachsen?

Seien wir doch ehrlich: kurze Hose / Jogginghose.

Irgendwelche Neu-Anschaffungen im Haushalt? (Haustier, Fitnessgerät, Balkon oder Garten umgestaltet?)

Nein.

Hast du neue Freizeitaktivitäten für dich entdeckt und/ oder andere eingestellt?

Zu wenig Sport… Abgesehen davon: App-Entwicklung.

Julius im Home Office

Julius im Home Office

Julius at home office

Julius is a machine learning engineer and programmer at Picalike

Julius Lange

What do you miss most about the home office?

Probably no one can hear this anymore: the colleagues (talking and actually sitting across from each other are very different things).

What do you not miss at all?

100 minutes of commuting per day.

Hand on heart: how many times a week do you cook yourself pasta or conveniently order food home?

On average 1x per week I think. Not living alone is very helpful there.

If you don’t hoard toilet paper anymore, what do you have in abundance in the house now?

Honestly… nothing. The fridge is still empty at least once a week.

Best book/audiobook/series/movie/video game/board game/podcast you’ve discovered in the last few months?

The Switch. Overall. At home alone or as a couple and online with friends. It just fits. Besides, there have been days when I wouldn’t have moved at all without “Just Dance”.

Maik is project manager of the Picalike dev team and leads our big team meeting every 2 weeks at Betahaus

Maik Kade

Maik im Home Office

Maik at the Home Office

 

What do you miss most about the home office?

Working together with the marketing/sales team in one office. But since we moved with the company, this is no longer possible anyway. Otherwise sports, as already mentioned, especially the way there and back by bike. And going to the movies.

What do you not miss at all?

The train rides to work.

Hand on heart: How often do you cook yourself pasta during the week or conveniently order food home?

Because of the kids, we have ready-to-eat pizza once a week or food that is generally quick to prepare – for us adults, that is. The children feast on the best we can prepare for them. You have to take a back seat, or sometimes you don’t even have time to eat properly. Delivery service is only once every 3-4 weeks.

If you no longer hoard toilet paper, what do you now have in abundance in the house?

Toilet paper! No, seriously. We didn’t really start hoarding things more than we did before. And we weren’t hoarding then either.

And what about you, Maik? How do you feel after 6 months in the home office? Have your feelings changed since the beginning of March?

Overall, I’m actually doing just as well as I was in March, although I have to say that I mostly like the many home offices quite a lot and they fit in quite well with my private everyday life – especially my two very agile twin girls. Regarding the pandemic, I’m not so much in panic mode anymore, but I’m still not completely relaxed about it and probably won’t be until the issue is finally over.

Has anything changed at your workplace?

I have moved my work desk to another place in the room and am more meticulous about keeping the space and room tidy, as I have noticed that having to work in an untidy room really affects me.

What piece of clothing have you grown particularly fond of during this time?

In the hot summer it was definitely my two new cargo shorts. With them, you can work comfortably without feeling like you’re sitting in a ski suit in the sauna. And on long walks with the stroller, they have enough pockets for everything.

Any new acquisitions in the household? (Pet, fitness equipment, balcony or garden remodel?).

We purchased a mini swimming pool for the balcony, which the kids have used plenty to splash around in, and I’ve been cooling my feet in it. Apart from that, I now have a knee stool in the study and can regularly switch between it and my Petzi bouncy ball. That does my back a lot of good in the home office. And well, my kettlebell collection is now complete, since I still like to use lunch breaks for a short sports program.

Have you discovered any new recreational activities for you and/ or discontinued others?

I don’t teach Capoeira at the moment and train this only alone. That is surely also Corona-conditioned, however it would have come there anyway by the two small children at home to restrictions. Even if that’s complaining on a high level, it’s putting a lot of pressure on me, since I’ve been practicing this sport very intensively for over 20 years and have a lot of my friends there.

On the other hand, I now have more time in the evenings to listen to audio books and to watch/listen to a series via tablet and headphones with a sleeping child in my arms. That is really something special!

Best book/audiobook/series/movie/video game/board game/podcast you’ve discovered in the last few months?

Best TV series – Cobra Kai (formerly MTV) now on Netflix. The series surprised me beyond belief, as I never thought a sequel to the Karate Kid trilogy from the 80s could be so exciting, emotional and funny.

In terms of audiobooks, I’m currently delving into the “Gray Man” tech crime series about a solo operative (assassin) from the hand of Mark Greaney, who has also co-written with Tom Clancy. And I’m looking forward to the 200 million Netflix film adaptation of these books.

Finally, I want to finally read Frank Herbert’s Dune (The Desert Planet) in the original, and thus prepare myself for the film adaptation by Denis Villeneuve (here’s the trailer).

And how do you feel after the long time in the home office? Or are you already back-to-normal and back in the office?
Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

5 Questions for Theresa

5 Questions for Theresa

We are happy to welcome another new team member. Since August 3, Theresa Schmucker has been our Quality Assurance Manager and checks for us that our products and, above all, our data are of impeccable quality. Especially her fashion know-how is of great benefit to us. She studied fashion design at HAW Hamburg, where she earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She also worked part-time as a store controller in the stores for 6 years for various brands of H&M (Weekday, &Other Stories). As if that wasn’t enough, she is also self-employed on the side and has a studio at Koppel 66 where she makes handbags from vegetable tanned leather and sells them locally and in her own online store. It all sounds super exciting, doesn’t it? No wonder we were further curious and still had to ask her our 5 questions!

5 Questions for Theresa

Tell us something about yourself. Where did you grow up? What hobbies do you have?

I was born in Erlangen, but moved to Hamburg with my family when I was two years old and grew up on the outskirts of Schnelsen in a small play street.
In my free time I like to be creative and see my friends and family. I am part-time self-employed with a small bag label, which is somehow also a hobby. When I’m in my workshop, it doesn’t feel like “working” to me. And that includes all the tasks that come up in the process. Otherwise
I go to pottery twice a month, do yoga and like to get out in the fresh air.

What are you most looking forward to about your new tasks?

It’s hard to say. Actually, I’m looking forward to getting to know the exciting technology of Picalike even better and maybe when it gets a bit more “technical” for me. Learning new things is always a lot of fun for me.

When you look back in six months, what do you hope to see?

That I will have become well integrated into the daily routine at Picalike and that I will be creating added value. That the quality of the data will be continuously improved. Maybe that I will have gained insights into other fields to understand the links even better.

Are you more of a home office or office type?

I think both are good. If the office was further away, however, I would prefer the home office. Long distances to the office are not my strong point. But seeing my colleagues a few days a week is also important to me. In the home office I can sometimes work more concentrated, but for some tasks it is also good to have the direct exchange with colleagues. It’s also nice to see each other. In other words, I think a good mix of both is ideal.

What would be your favorite drink when meeting colleagues after work and why?

I would have to think about it longer because it would probably depend on my “thirst”. Some days it would just be a Spezi and others maybe just a spritzer. Alcoholic it becomes with me more rarely and then also rather a cool Alsterwasser or a white wine spritzer.

Well then, we hereby welcome you again officially to the Picalingen and hope that we can soon take a look at your bags at a Spezi. 😊

Here’s to a good start!

5 Questions for Maren

5 Questions for Maren

With Maren Tiemerding, we have a lot of sales power in the Picalike team again since August 3 💪. Maren is a graduate of the International Studies of Global Management at the University of Applied Sciences Bremen and will start her Master’s degree in Business Development at the HSBA in October. With her expertise in consulting and executive positions as well as her positive and natural nature, she is a real asset to our Marketing & Sales team.

To get to know her a little better, we asked Maren to answer these 5 questions:

5 Questions for Maren

Tell us something about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

I grew up in a village with 500 inhabitants in the district of Vechta, which is located in Lower Saxony between Bremen and Osnabrück. Vechta is also known as a horse town and that’s how I got my first hobby. In the meantime I am no longer active in show jumping, but I still have my horse.

I came to Hamburg, or rather to Norderstedt, when I was 8 years old. To study, however, I ended up back in Bremen. Oh, and in between I was also in Thailand and Singapore studying and working.

CrossFit has meanwhile taken over the center of my free time. As crazy as it may sound, the feeling of lying on the floor after a hard workout is irreplaceable 😁 .

What about your new responsibilities are you most looking forward to?

I’m incredibly excited to see how picalike’s technology continues to develop. The team has so much energy. I think there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Of my tasks, I am probably most looking forward to the discussions with our potential customers. I look forward to getting to know many different personalities and working with them to find the right support for their online store.

When you look back in six months, what do you hope to see?

Looking at smiling faces and not faces covered by our “new must-haves.”

Are you more of a home office or office type?

I guess I’m more of a mix type. I’m really thankful for the development that working in a home office is accepted. I think it’s great the way picalike has been doing it so far. We have a constant digital exchange, but see each other live 1-2 times a week. Especially for brainstorming new ideas I find the face-to-face exchange still very important.

What would be your favorite drink when meeting with colleagues after work and why?

Spontaneously, I would say a Diet Coke. I’m not a big alcohol drinker, because it just doesn’t taste good to me. But every now and then it may be a vino.

Well then, we would like to welcome you officially to the Picalingen and we hope that we can drink a Diet Coke or a delicious Vino together as soon as possible. 😊
Here’s to a good start!

5 Questions for Johannes

Johannes Otto

Despite the Corona crisis, we are in the fortunate position to continue to grow and so we were pleased to welcome our new employee Johannes on June 2nd (June 1st was Whit Monday). Johannes will support our tech team in the areas of software development, data modeling and interface design.
Although the welcome was initially only virtual, since we still work mostly from the home office, it was no less warm.

To get to know Johannes a little better, we asked him a few questions directly.

Johannes Otto

Tell us something about yourself. Where did you grow up? What are your hobbies?

I grew up in Lehsen and Dreilützow, two small villages near Wittenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Later I learned food technology in Wittenburg and then studied mechanical engineering in Wismar.

In my spare time I love to screw on my MZ (TS 150 Bj. 1974). Another hobby is 3D printing. I also design myself. Mostly I design and build my own e-cigarettes. I also have pets: Lucky, Penny, and Rocky – three rat bucks.

Now we know a bit more about you. Now tell us, how is it for you to start a new job in this (Corona) time?

Working almost entirely in a home office is unusual at first. But good communication, new technologies, flexible structures and nice colleagues more than compensate for that.

What are you most looking forward to in your new team/office?

The range of technologies used at Picalike is diverse and interesting.

There are many challenging tasks waiting. I am looking forward to the knowledge I can acquire and the problems I will solve.

When you look back in six months, what do you hope to see?

I hope that all of us and the Picalike company have weathered the Corona crisis well.

Now an important question: do you listen to music at work and if so, what kind?

Whether I listen to music always depends entirely on my mood and the tasks at hand. For example, if I have to find a complex bug, I prefer silence. When I’m programming I like to listen to ska punk or punk rock, trip hop or even some electro. Bands I like to listen to are Rantanplan, The Rancid, Kid Loco, The Herbaliser or Northern Lite.

Welcome to the Picalingen, Johannes. We are happy that you are part of the team and hope that we can meet more often at team events.

Here’s to a good start!

How’s it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office

14 days in the Home-Office
Home Office - Kaffeepause bei Picalike

14 Days Home Office

A good 14 days ago the Picalike team decided by mutual agreement to set up their (work) tents at home and work in the home office for an indefinite period of time in order to protect everyone and to keep the infection curve flat. But how have the employees been doing in the last few days? What new routines have been created, what has remained the same, what do the team members miss most and what do they miss least? We asked a few colleagues about this and here are their honest and sometimes not so serious answers.

Franziska takes care of the existing customers at Picalike.

Franziska Weiß
Franzi's Home Office

Franzi’s Home Office

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at first?

No, not really. I closed the door and I’m not to be disturbed. It’s important to me to see the home office as a normal working day and to do tasks like washing clothes and stuff at the end of the day, which is what I would do otherwise.

What technical equipment do you have at home?

Since I “only” live in a 60 sqm apartment with my partner, I’m not lucky enough to have my own office, so as I already mentioned, my kitchen is just right. I have my work laptop and mouse with me.

What would the ideal working world look like for you? Remote or at the office?

I like talking to my colleagues and I also like going to work by bike in the morning, so I like working in the office. However, I find the possibility of doing home office very pleasant and could also imagine a mixture of remote and office.

A good 2 weeks have now passed in which we all no longer see each other every day in the office. How are you today? How’s the work from home treating you?

I’m fine, I’m sitting in my kitchen, working on my tasks. Besides, I can watch the beautiful weather out of the window.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

Since I don’t have any children to look after yet and have enough space to work, I shouldn’t complain. I have also worked in the home office before and can therefore handle it very well.

What does your working day look like now? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

Actually, it looks the same as always: I get up, get cleaned up and sit at the computer. What has changed is that I can sleep a little longer because I no longer have a driving route. What has changed is that I always take a little walk after work (of course with a lot of distance to other people). And not to forget: The clothing style. I work without shoes on my feet and most of the time I wear sweatpants. On top I dress according to my daily routine (meeting, no meeing with clients) with a hoodie or regular top (sweater).

What do you miss most in the home office?

The funny moments with my colleagues and the stories of my boss Sebastian 😉 In the home office you sit rather mute in the “office”. And of course our office dog Lilly, who always brings a smile to your face.

What do you miss the least?

Getting up earlier *laughs*

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

It’s hard to say, I get along well with the home office and can seperate private things from worktime. If so, then it’s probably my posture at the PC, again and again I find myself sitting crooked or slipping from my chair – I’m curious to see the statistics on how many people have a slipped disc after spending time in the home office.

What are the 3 things without which you would not survive a work from home?

Hot lemon (sugar-free), cuddly socks (for warm feet), dishwasher (where do all the dishes come from *laughs*)

How much toilet paper do you have left in the house/flat?

Because I am not one of those preppers (which in Germany are called Hamster), there are only: 8 rolls. Should be enough for now.

Hello Julius, you too have been in the home office for over two weeks now. How are you today? How is the “working from home” for you?

An interesting mixture of advantages and disadvantages.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

Fewer social contacts and less working together on a task.

How does your working day now look like? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

I get up much later. The common lunch is omitted and thus the day is structured more variable. The important question at 11:30 a.m. is missing (in the Picalike team this is the question of who goes where for lunch, editor’s note). Not much has changed in the actual work processes.

What do you miss most in the home office?

The direct contact with colleagues.

What do you miss least?

The commute.

How's it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office 2
Julius in the home office

Julius is a software developer at Picalike

Julius Lange

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

Large, unmanageable and complex tasks, which are best discussed and divided up first in a team and where a lot of familiarisation could be facilitated / saved by explanations from others.

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at the beginning?

It was neither easier nor harder for me at the beginning than at other times.

What technical equipment do you have at home?

Work laptop + gaming mouse/keyboard + screen + speakers + webcam + ANC headset when silence becomes too loud.

What would the ideal working world look like for you? Remote or in the office?

Probably a mixture. 3 days office, 2 days home office for example.

What are the 3 things without which you would not survive a home office?

Screen, music, video chat.

How much toilet paper do you have left in your house/flat?

All of it.

Maik is project manager of the Picalike development team

Maik Kade
How's it going? A status update after 14 days in the home office 5

Maiks home office

What do you miss most about the home office?

My almost 10 km bike ride there in the morning and back in the evening. I actually need this time to clear my head, get some fresh air and I really like the training. Somehow I always plan my work on the bike or let the day pass in review.

Apart from that I also miss the working atmosphere on site. We really have a great team at picalike and I have much less contact with everyone at the moment.
Especially as a project manager it’s important to me to know the personal feelings of my team so that I can support them when they have a less than great day. I don’t notice much of that at the moment and I’ve been thinking for days about how I can change that.

What do you miss the least?

Some days we distract each other a little too much at the office. I’m not always innocent about that either. I can tell by the fact that sometimes I can get my work done in less time than usual. But in the long run I would rather be in the office 30 minutes longer and have more of this interaction, because I think that these little interactions are like the salt in the soup for a good working atmosphere. Without them it is just too bland. And often good ideas come to you in these moments.

What is the biggest trap for you in the home office?

Since my two children don’t give me much scope to slide into traps anyway, there are none at the moment. But I know from my earlier home-office days that I definitely shouldn’t start a series during the break or even turn on the Xbox.

Did you find it difficult to discipline yourself at the beginning?

Nope. But that might also be because I’m from the individual sports performance sports area. Self-discipline is indispensable there. Just the chocolate on my table sometimes makes me weak…

What would the ideal working environment look like for you? Remote or office?

A combination of the two. I can imagine 2-3 days in the home office, but I think that for certain things real face-to-face communication is better. This is especially true for our weekly meetings and training sessions, as well as my moderation of in-house mini-workshops.

How much toilet paper do you still have in your house/flat?

At the moment still a whole pack, but I’m starting to worry, because I haven’t seen any for 10 days while shopping.

And how are you doing in the home office, Maik?

I’m doing pretty good these days. My wife, my children and I are healthy and fit, which is probably the most important thing at the moment.

My days are even more planned than before, which is more due to my living situation with little twins at home. The balancing act between project manager and dad has become much more difficult, since everything is now in the same place.

Fortunately, I am at least still in the situation to have a complete study. But of course, the door opens up here every now and then and my wife stands there with demands. And if you hear a child, crying in the backround, I won´t stay seated. This would not have happened in a normal office environment. Whether this is better or worse, I can only say after more time. But I’m definitely much more exhausted in the evening than before, because there’s no longer a commute between my two main jobs. That’s when I always slowly switched from one job to the other. Now it is immediately.

What was the biggest challenge/changeover in the home office for you?

To find a regulation with my wife that allows me to work in a concentrated manner despite having two children. This is something we are still negotiating, because for her it is really not easy to have two babies on her own.
Also some technical things. For example, I have to regulate my broadband transmission in the study differently, because otherwise I would notice my weak W-Lan transmission, especially in video conferences.

How does your working day look like now? Which things/tasks have remained the same? What has changed? Do you have new routines?

The workflow itself has not changed much. I still lead my daily meeting with the developers in the morning, even if now via video call. The funny thing is that even in the home office, the team insists that it’s a stand-up meeting, even though I didn’t insist on it. Apart from that, I still play a lot of solitaire on our Trello boards, and work hand in hand with the Marketing/Sales team I was sitting in the same room with before.

What has changed for me is that I feel I spend more time with the Trello board, since we currently don’t have a real board in the development office for the whole team. Also the amount of written communication in Slack has increased a lot. For certain things like mini-workshops I have to come up with solutions online. And I can work on a task undisturbed for longer.

But my breaks are different now. I take my lunch break a little later, because socialising with the team at lunchtime no longer exists and no one has yet asked for virtual meals together. From my 1 hour lunch break, I use 50 minutes for sports 3-4 days a week. My study also hides some fitness equipment. On the one hand I need this as compensation, on the other hand I need it to counteract the permanent sitting at the computer.

Well and I have here my Pezzi ball as an alternative sitting possibility. So I change between ball and chair every 60 minutes. And then every day there is a little bit of hopping around on the ball. I think, in the office I would get a strange look if I was fidgeting around so wildly.

What kind of equipment do you have at home?

I have a second 28 inch full HD monitor from Benq, Bose Bluetooth speakers (if the music needs to be loud), a very good Marshall Bluetooth over-ear headset (for video conferencing or if I want to block out outside noise), my company laptop, my company high end gaming mouse (I love it´s green lights), my death star table lamp that glows in the same green (nerd attack) AND the nightmare of all my office colleagues: I own a 1.5 kg high-end keyboard from the German company Klim with MECHANICAL keys. Every keystroke is as loud as on an old typewriter. I could never use it in the office. The keystroke afterglow I set to green of course.

What are the three things you couldn’t get through a home office without?

1. Loud music 2. Dark chocolate 3. Sports against eating too much dark chocolate