On that first day, I spotted a mysterious white box on the table. Did it contain shoes or clothes? Nope, it was packed with cool goodies, a pen, note and three books. First up was Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried, CEO of Basecamp. The second was It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be by Paul Arden, an excellent book and highly recommended. I’ve learned a few things from it, for example that I was asking the wrong question. But I’ll not give away any other spoilers here. The third book was Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application, also by Jason Fried. There was also a 13″ MacBook with a case.
I arrived on a Monday at the madewithlove Leuven office. On Mondays, apparently, most of the members living in Belgium come to the office and have lunch together. To my surprise, it’s also the day when the whole team heads to the gym to indulge in an exhausting power workout. They invited me to join them, but I didn’t have my sports clothing with me. From the second week until now, I haven’t skipped a beat. I think Andreas’ idea is great, because a workout is a perfect way of spending quality time with the team. Plus it keeps us in shape!
In my first week, I was introduced to Yannick, my first mentor and a product manager. He’s a very cool guy and a passionate traveller, with his heart in Belgium but his feet often in a different country. Right from the start, Yannick did all he could to help me settle in.
Sam is my second mentor and I met him during my second week. Yes, I’m a lucky guy, with two mentors! Sam’s also very nice, always happy to explain things and give me good advice. As the madewithlove front-ender, he’s my technical mentor. Like Yannick, Sam went out of his way to explain how we were going to build the new madewithlove website and the different settings with PostCSS. Indeed, my main goal during my internship is to build the brand new company site. You’re looking at the results right here in fact.
On Friday afternoon, the team is allowed to work on any project they want, instead of client projects. A team member also gives an introduction to a subject or software of their choosing. To be honest, even though some subjects are unfamiliar to me, it’s fun to discover new tools and to see what the team members are interested in.
As an intern, it’s been a very interesting experience to work remotely. So different from going to school from 8 am until 5 pm or working 9 to 5. Remote work – from what I’ve seen and experienced at madewithlove, and what I understood in Jason Fried’s book Remote: Office Not Required – is all about trust, communication and freedom. The freedom to decide when and where you want to work, while ensuring you still deliver.
You might wonder how I’m supposed to learn anything, if I’m not with my mentors all the time. I get your concern. But madewithlove is a modern company, using three key tools: Github, Slack and Zoom. Github is used for quality assurance on my technical work. My mentor and I review each other’s codes and we leave comments if any change has to be made, or if we have any other recommendations. Slack allows me to communicate with my mentors or any member of the team. Lastly, Zoom is for video conferences, standups and more complex conversations.
Once again, using these tools is all about trust and communication.
Big thanks to madewithlove for giving me the opportunity to do an internship here. A shout-out especially to my mentors Yannick and Sam, for helping me when needed and for teaching me good practices. I should add that, from the beginning of my internship at madewithlove, I’ve felt very comfortable. I’ve also acquired new knowledge of WordPress, doing pull-requests, using a few other tools and reviewing code. Moreover, I’ve been able to put into practice my knowledge acquired during my studies and discovered the wonderful world of remote work. I look forward to learning more during the rest of my internship.
Written by Gabriel Martinez