Behind the Clouds: Life at Labyrinth Labs, 2023 Edition

author Barbora Šišková

With a growth mindset, a dash of humor, and the right crew, we’re gearing up for the next chapter in 2024.

What a ride in 2023 has it been for Labyrinth Labs. Withstanding the challenges of building clouds and navigating tough business times, we’ve emerged stronger and more resilient than ever before. Our journey has not only tested our resolve but also strengthened our company culture, fostering a sense of unity and commitment across our team.

As I reflect on my second year with this incredible crew of DevOps & Cloud enthusiasts, countless memories unfold – here are just a few that stand out:

Hiring in 2023: Building the Community

Gone are the days of random candidate spamming. We upgraded our game and invested energy where it mattered – in our public presence. The result? Candidates knocking on our digital door, convinced that joining us is what they need for career growth. Turns out, if you want the best, you gotta show them you’re the best.  

One humble advice to hiring – never compromise on average – it does not mean we only hire the ideal candidates. Surprise! – They don’t exist. What we observe during our interviews is:

  • If the person resonates with our values and company culture; 
  • & if missing some skill, can they prove a growth & fast-learning mindset to cover the gap?

The applause for hiring the dream team doesn’t belong to me only. My job as a People Partner is to scan candidate’s potential fit – culturally, personally and professionally. Once checked by me, they have all my support & blessing to get through the fire! Next one, Tech round is with our M & Ms (that’s what we call our CTO & HoE – Martin Dojcak & Martin Hauskrecht). Truth to be told, only few made it this far!  

But it’s not just about hiring; it’s about building a community, too. A lot of our effort was invested both into offline events and LinkedIn activities connecting with people who vibed with our tech tales. Remember? If you want to attract the best ones, you gotta show them you are the best one!

Events: From small Meetups to DevOps & Cloud days

Our year unfolded in two seasons – spring and fall. When we attended the first event, we started from the bottom, hitting up small meetups, university events, & then gradually going bigger. 

Then, boom! Q2 DevOps Days in Prague happened. Two of our colleagues rocked the stage in front of 300 folks. They almost dropped the mic! The effect? Building connections.

We attended 20+ events creating a buzz about Labyrinth Labs that could be heard from miles away. 

Remote doesn’t mean distant

Our headquarters might be in Bratislava, but our team is scattered across Czechia and Slovakia. In a remote team like ours, we don’t care if you are an early bird or night owl. If you are an “office person”, I-prefer-to-stay-home or Mr.Worldwide. Just get the job done and we’ll shower you with support and flexibility. 

This doesn’t mean we don’t give a sh*t about you. I believe that building a remote company culture is super complicated and definitely not a one-size-fits-all kinda thing. We are mastering in basics of Remote:

  • Being together at least twice a year.
  • Having time for occasional chit-chats on group or 1:1 meetings
  • Sharing thoughts, personal stuff or jokes on Slack channels

But there is so much more to uncover & I am so ready to dive deeper into this remote setup.

Sharing the profit

What a year! Busy with juggling retrospectives, soaking in learnings, and planning our next moves, shame on us we sometimes forget to celebrate. As the year ends, we are catching up! Our founders don’t just pop champagne; they share the love. Fully aware of the hard work of their tech squad  “How?”, you ask? – By sliding 10% of the profit straight into our pockets. 

In the hustle of a fast-paced world, it’s a real blessing to have founders who not only SAY “thank you”, but also sprinkle a bit of the success dust back onto the team to PROVE: “You are an important part of the crew, we appreciate it!”. So toast to the cool management and even cooler team! 

Investing in Excellence

Hiring the best talent and letting the machine do its work? “Set it & forget it?” – Not our case. The talent would walk away. 

Improving, scaling & growing the success of our clients is our bread & butter. What I believe bounces back on this, is the constant learning of each of us, too. Besides a strong knowledge-sharing culture, fully covered are also 5 days for studying per year. Certifications? On the house, too. 

Does it sound too much of a pressure on the performance and growth? Yeah, but “work hard play hard” is an important part of the company culture. Having time to hangout with the beer, afternoon coffees, or Weekly company gatherings with various topics bring all of us closer together. Not mentioning plenty of offline time.

Let’s jump back for a minute:

  • April brought our Tech team to Amsterdam, officially for the Kubecon conference. In reality? Well, they were in Amsterdam, so you tell me!
  • At the same time, People, Mkt & Sales dpts. dove deeper into the communication skills workshop. Looking back I can say it helped us a lot to give and receive more constructive feedback; 
  • After the summer vacations, all of us met again. We were cooking goulash and picking grapes in vineyards, discussing stuff while tasting south-moravian natural wines; didn’t miss the computer screen at all!
  • Christmas time was full of lights and creativity – All hands busy with sawing, gluing and cutting stuff brought our heads from clouds back to the earth. 
  • However, it was not always just fun. The real pain comes with it too. First time, here in Labyrinth Labs I was told things like: “Yeah, cold-water plunging is fun!” “You gotta come with us.” “Don’t worry, just enter the water!” Oh my! & I did it! What a craziness! The worst thing about this all? They were right! After the storm the sun will shine again. And once you come out of the water, endorphins bring up the instant feeling of happiness. And hey, we are not pus*ies at all. Our Slack #swimming channel is active October – March for outdoor only.

Wrap up: I believe – we all chip in to the atmosphere! And how are we doing? Let the data speak for itself. Drumroll, please! – eNPS didn’t drop under 80, since we introduced this metric! Tell me now, who scores higher?

Bruised but bold – looking ahead

2023 was a symphony of wins and a few facepalms. We’re not perfect, but we’re damn proud of the journey. With a growth mindset, a dash of humor, and the right crew, we’re gearing up for the next chapter. 

Let’s face the new challenges:

  • Bringing culture topics & hacks to the light of the world, ’cause there is so much to share!
  • Boosting the talent with new tools – Career ladder in progress!
  • Growing the team with few new folks. The Company Goals 2024 are definitely challenging ones!
  • Remote is our way of working. Still, we suck in many things like proper documentation and smooth clean communication and God-knows-what else…

So keep the fingers crossed so we’ll be better, wiser, and heck, maybe even a bit crazier. Bruises, scratches, and all—bring it on, 2024! 

Bratislava company company culture conference event hero hr remote work team

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