Read Gabriela's story about her work in Kiwi.com and experience with opening new offices in Barcelona.
What brought you to Barcelona?
It all started at the PyData conference that took place in Barcelona in 2017. With a few Kiwi.com employees attending and our CTO Jozef Képesi giving a talk, we met some new people and saw their interest in working with us. Unfortunately, the interest vanished when we told them we are located in Brno. We are good at solving various problems and so the office in Barcelona slowly started to take shape. At the very onset, I kept commuting between Brno and Barcelona. But once the office grew bigger and there were more complex things to deal with, it was time to move south.
You’ve been in Barcelona for a while, what are your favourite moments in the life of the Barcelona office?
When it comes to my Barcelona colleagues, there are new ones still popping up; when people are content, when we eat cakes together, when someone gives a speech and it is a success…Rewinding some memories from the pre-Barcelona office time, I was enjoying those very first interviews which took place directly on the street or in a bar or elsewhere when we had no office in Barcelona yet.
How would you describe the Barcelona office culture and life compared to the Czech one?
Even though I have experienced working on both sites, I will not compare. I will rather describe how it feels for me to be a part of the Barcelona crew with the headquarters being in Brno. Generally speaking, there is a certain resemblance to a long-distance relationship — with all its pros and cons you can imagine. One shall communicate more efficiently, be genuinely interested in the other side, and maintain personal contact as much as possible to keep that bond alive or, on a higher level, even flourishing.
There are numerous smaller or bigger distinctions stemming from diverse climate, culture, office and personnel size, brand awareness on the market, legal framework, distance, and others. I consider it quite essential and eye-opening to understand them more thoroughly in order not to see only text, but the whole context.
Despite all those differences, there is something that connects us all. This something, at least for me, is the tie we have with people in and across the offices and the idea behind why and how we are doing what we are doing.
Recently you’ve taken on an additional role of a Site Lead — how do you see the future of the office and what direction will you be taking it?
As a humanly warm place where talented people meet, are heard and can evolve to work on something great and purposeful. Being our first remote office, Barcelona started a bit chaotically though with lots of enthusiasm. Our modus operandi still needs a certain level of consolidation.
There’s still more to learn about how we can operate smoothly while being remote, within a different environment, and in tight cooperation with our other offices, especially Brno headquarters. One can have the best technical equipment to connect online, but this only will not be enough from a long-term perspective. I could go on about this much longer, of course, but here — apart from dealing with daily operational issues — I see my role to take its direction.
What’s one piece of advice or recommendation you’d give to someone considering working in the Barcelona office (doesn’t matter if local or relocating from elsewhere)?
If you are considering it and it feels good to you, go for it. Do not let the fear of change be the only factor why you still hesitate. Better to try now than regret later not doing so. Moreover, you can always go back, enriched with another life experience.
For more information about the Barcelona office, check out Barcelona’s office page.