A walk with Franziska



January 18, 2017

A lot of companies like to say that they are only as good as the people working there. Although that might be true for them, WATTx is a bit of a different story. WATTx is the people working here. Nothing more. Nothing less. We don’t have a product or service that we sell. We only work on our own ideas. Our team of 20-something weirdos and dreamers is WATTx.

This is our first story in a new series of “We are WATTx” stories that deal with the people working here.

While we all live and work in Berlin, Franziska (commonly known as “Franzi” or “Fran”) is one of the few true Berliners in WATTx. Having spent most of her life here, she knows the city like the back of her hand.

That’s why we decided to go out for a walk around Berlin for a couple of hours, in mid-december. (Also, we really needed to get out of the office).

Of course we had to pick one of the coldest days of the year for our walk. That didn’t keep us from doing it anyway - we REALLY needed to get out for some fresh air - so we packed ourselves into our warmest winter clothes and went out for a walk around Mitte, while talking about how Fran ended up at WATTx and how her role has changed over the past year.

What would your friends say about you?

They would probably say that they can count on me, that I’m rather introvert, or that I’m a clown sometimes.

What did you study?

After school I studied industrial engineering. At some point I had to specialize and so I decided to do marketing for the business side and environmental engineering for the engineering side. I was very interested in technical stuff. I always need to know how systems work.

How did you end up at WATTx?

In December 2015, a friend of mine told me to meet with Bastian (CEO of WATTx) and to listen to his idea for a company that he was building. At that time I was afraid to get stuck at Deutsche Telekom, a German telecom giant, that I was working for. I had the feeling I was working in an environment that lacked the passion that I was looking for.

I agreed to have a quick chat with Bastian. It was supposed to be very informal, with the goal of just getting to know each other. In the end, our talk lasted for more than an hour, and, I thought, was a very easy and open discussion. All in all, it was awesome. I thought that Bastian was very good at marketing WATTx, and that he really seemed to believe in his vision. I felt that he had a passion that I was missing in my workplace at that time, and that I was looking for.

That made the decision to go to WATTx very easy for me. I resigned from Deutsche Telekom a few days after the meeting, and met my new colleagues at a Christmas party a week later.

I instantly really liked the atmosphere. It was very relaxed. We shared a few beers, and sat on the floor, all together. From the very beginning, there was no fear of getting to know each other as people. It didn’t feel corporate, but rather like a group of friends in a casual environment.

Why WATTx?

I’m a dreamer. I would love to change the world. Most people only want to change the world when they’re young, but then settle into adult life. Me, I can’t let it go. And I guess it is the same for most people working here. I feel like WATTx gives me the opportunity to create real change.

Can you tell us a bit about your journey at WATTx?

I started out in marketing, helping Viessmann (The German manufacturing company that founded WATTx) with developing intelligent marketing solutions. After some time, we decided that it was not the real focus of WATTx to support Viessmann. We also figured that we didn’t really need a marketing team as we were planning to focus more on inventing and prototyping our own ideas as well as on building companies. That meant that my position had to change.

For me, that was an opportunity to reinvent myself. I’ve always had an interest in coding and developing. I thought long and hard about studying computer science in university, and spent a lot of my teenage years on developing and maintaining, among other things, a sports forum.

Bastian and Martin (CEO and CTO at WATTx) knew about that. They approached me with the idea of me becoming a developer, and convinced me to shift my career path.

I had no idea on how to become a developer, but it felt like a good opportunity for me, so I decided to make the most out of it. I knew that I could take the time I needed to learn and grow, and that I had great support from the people working at WATTx.

Do you like being a developer?

I really enjoy it. It allows me to work in a structured way. Another thing that I like is that programming is clear; more clear than most other job fields. I enjoy having the time to build things on my own, without too many dependencies. I also really like that you can see the things you are building. And, which I find to be even better, see people interacting with what I’ve built.

Fran working on Kimbie, our new ideation management tool

Are there any benefits for you coming from a different background than development?

Yes. I gives me a perspective on what I’m building that most developers don’t have. Because of my background in marketing, I probably have a better understanding of the end-user and their needs than most developers.

You mentioned the atmosphere a couple of times, why?

There are very authentic people working here. Everyone is very relaxed and natural. There are no pretensions and people don’t wear a “business mask” to work. It’s a friendly and funny atmosphere. We also have a lot of diversity here at WATTx. I think it’s really helpful for one’s own growth to be able to talk to people with different views and perspectives. That really helps me when I’m stuck or when I need inspiration.

In one year from now, how do you think you will have developed?

I hope that will have built my own robot. Other than that, it’s hard to say. I’ve already learned so much in the past year. It’s hard to predict anything because things are changing very quickly. I’d like to learn more about hardware for sure, and build at least 2 or 3 physical prototypes.