OPP – Other People’s Problem

I really liked “OPP (Other People’s Problems)” article which talks about handling of responsibility for things that other people should be responsible for.

If you’re reading this looking for advice, you’re probably a go-getter. You consider yourself a responsible person, who cares deeply about doing things right. Your care may be focused on software and systems, or on people and organizations, or on processes and policies, or all of the above.


This attitude has probably served you well in your career, especially those of you who have been working for a number of years. You’ve been described as having a “strong sense of ownership,” and people admire your ability to think broadly about problems. You try to think about the whole system around a problem, and that helps you come up with robust solutions that address the real challenges and not just the symptoms.


And yet, despite these strengths, you’re often frustrated. You see so many problems, and when you identify those problems, people sometimes get mad. They don’t take your feedback well. They don’t want to let you help fix the situation. Your peers rebuff you, your manager doesn’t listen to you, your manager’s manager nods sympathetically and then proceeds to do nothing about it.


That kind of grinding frustration can wear you down over time. I know, because I’ve been there. 

Not only the article describes the problem, but it provides a practical approach to dealing with it.

In the last few years, I was going through a very similar thinking process in my head, but I’m nowhere near the well-defined suggested approach. I wish I read this much earlier in my career. Much much earlier.

996.ICU

There has been some noise in the mass media about the 996.ICU (official website) recently. That’s good, but I think we can do better. So, spread the word!

Here are a few bits to get you started:

The name 996.ICU refers to “Work by ‘996’, sick in ICU”, an ironic saying among Chinese developers, which means that by following the “996” work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).

What is 996?
A “996” work schedule refers to an unofficial work schedule (9 a.m.–9 p.m., 6 days per week) that has been gaining popularity. Serving a company that encourages the “996” work schedule usually means working for at least 60 hours per week. Visit 996 working hour system on Wikipedia for more details.

GitHub and Microsoft works support the 996.ICU initiative, as well as many other companies and teams.

Cyprus Tax Calculator

Cyprus Tax Calculator is probably the best implementation of the tax calculator that I’ve seen around. It’s dead simple to use, and allows all kinds of calculations – monthly or annually, with or without 13th salary, and reporting overalls, income tax, social insurance deductions, as well as providing tax breakdowns.

Very handy tool for anyone in the job market. ;)

Time for a new adventure

This week I’ve handed in my resignation letter, marking my last working day as February 28, 2019. After 4.5 years as a Chief Technology Officer at Qobo, I feel it’s time for a new adventure.

Looking back at the last 4.5 years, it feels like there is enough to fill several lifetimes – so much has been done, so much has changed, so many people met, so many ideas tried, and so many things accomplished!

Have a look at my annual posts summarizing just the most noticeable changes:

Or, if you feel like it, take a deeper dive into more blog posts, varying from Instagram pictures to some deep technical brainstorming and solutions.

Obviously, I can go on and on for hours, but here are a few high-level points just to keep things in context:

  • Offices. We’ve opened a new office, or moved to a new office, pretty much every year. First, Nicosia office was moved and expanded. Then Limassol office opened. Then London office opened. Then Limassol office moved and expanded.
  • People. From a small team of 7 when I joined, we’ve expanded to over 20 now. But it wasn’t only about the headcount. We’ve grown the number of roles in the company as well – sales, support, QA, etc.
  • Clients. We’ve built an impressive portfolio, with many large, medium, and small clients, across a variety of industries from a several countries.
  • Technology. We’ve built an impressive set of technology, both internally and externally. Our Amazon AWS cloud infrastructure nearly doubles every year. We have integrated a number of excellent tools to help with project management, quality assurance, development cycle and continuous delivery. And we’ve made Qobrix from scratch into a recognizable brand and force to be reckoned with.
  • Open Source. True to our Open Source believes, we have made significant contributions to Open Source, both via our own repositories, and through the tools and libraries that we use and build on top.

I have met and worked with some really amazing people and teams, true professionals, and inspiring individuals. I have learned a great deal over the years, and have grown both personally and professionally.

So, why am I leaving then? I feel it’s time. It’s time for a change both the company and for myself.

When I joined Qobo, it was a tiny startup, like many others, trying to find its identity, develop, and grasp some luck. It was also still trying to survive the catastrophic consequences of the “Cyprus haircut“, which killed many stronger, more mature businesses. Gladly, we managed to pull through all of that. It wasn’t easy by any means, but we’ve done that. The company has survived, grown, and matured.

It is now well on the way to success, with a clear vision, great products, strong client portfolio, good reputation, and an amazing team.

I think I have done enough to help Qobo to get here. There are now many new people, ideas, and approaches, which will take it forward in a smoother, faster, and more efficient way.

As for myself, it’s also been quite a ride. There has been countless nights and weekends of tight deadlines, non-stop work, lack of sleep, nervous breakdowns, alcohol abuse, emotional highs and lows, and so on. (All kind of expected in a startup.) But I need to step back and recover a bit. On top of that, over the last few month, my focus was mostly needed in non-technical areas. I want to get back to my routes for a bit, and dive into the hands-on technology – things that I like the most: writing code and administrating infrastructure.

Where am I going then? To tell you the truth, right this moment – I don’t know yet. The decision to step down as a CTO and to leave Qobo took quite a bit of thinking, consideration, and preparation. I haven’t looked at my new options or opportunities yet. But given the state of the IT industry in Cyprus and a growing deficit of developers, devops and system administrators, I’m sure I’ll find my next adventure soon enough. (If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please do ping me either here or via LinkedIn).

I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank to you to everyone I’ve met and worked with while my years in Qobo. I am truly humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to work with you and to learn from you! I’m sure our paths will cross again.