4 Years at Doodle

4 Years at Doodle

My journey continues.

Alexander Thiele · 4 minute read

When I started to work at doodle in early 2015, I was one of the first 3 employees in Berlin. I started the Doodle Android app from scratch and could put all my engineering power into one app. I had freedom in technology and could create my own CI/CD pipeline which was awesome!

If I look at Doodle in Berlin today, we're now over 22 engineers, product managers, designers, marketing managers and support agents. We created an environment where I love to go to work and drink the first hot coffee or eat breakfast while talking to the team in the morning. We went from a 140 qm² office to an over 600 qm² office with two floors. But what did I do over the past 4 years?

I started as a Senior Android Engineer in a team on my own. We released a complete new app to the Play Store three months after the kick off and we had a bi-weekly release cycle.

After a while we hired a junior android engineer and the team increased to two engineers 🎉. We went from 3 to 6 people where 2 were working on iOS, 2 on Android with a pm and a designer. When I look back, we had a crazy fast engineering speed. We worked really close with our pm and designer and we could answer product and design questions in minutes. We had a 2 week sprint cycle and just a few recurring scrum meetings with not much overhead.

I think our culture we've created over the past years started, when we went with the team to IKEA to buy plants, furnitures and dishes for the office. We basically created an office we loved to go to.

A few years later, our CTO offered me the chance to be more responsible for the engineering team in Berlin. The engineering team in Zurich and Tel Aviv grew and there were just too many people our CTO could properly look after and react on their personal needs and development. I accepted and became the engineering manager for the mobile team (iOS and Android) in Berlin with a team of 4 engineers.

I think the office had 8 employees in Berlin and we worked still in our 140 qm² office near Alexanderplatz.

As time flies, our managing director of the Berlin office was going to leave Doodle and we discussed possibilities on how we could continue since the Berlin office cannot work and grow without someone who is in charge of the office legal and accounting part. Someone also has to look after the culture we created and still want to improve.

I love to work in a culture where everyone is happy and i focused a bit on how a culture can transform a company and also everyones productivity. I accepted to become more than the engineering manager and got the responsibility to manage everything related to legal, accounting, contracts and culture in the Berlin office. At this time i think we grew to 8 or 9 people in the office.

My Responisbilities at that time

  • Working on the Android App
  • 1:1s with all engineers in Berlin
  • Managing legal and contracts
  • Do accounting, payroll and all company invoices for Berlin
  • Create a culture with lots of happiness and productivity

The office was rolling but the next challenge was about to arrive. Our CEO approached me. Berlin is becoming more and more important for Doodle and we want to grow the Team in Berlin from 8 or 9 to over 30 employees in the near future.

Our office had space for 12 maybe 13 people but definitely not over 30! That was the time where i searched for a new office in Berlin in early 2018. After 2 months and numerous office views, i had a good understanding on what is possible and how much the office will cost.

A few weeks later i found the perfect office with space for more than 40 employees in the heart of Kreuzberg (>600 qm²) for a reasonable price. I negotiated the office contract and connected the needs of our CEO, the landlord and the lawyer. It was the most stressful time of my life.

We made the deal and i started the preparation to move into the new office and close the old office. I organised the internet, the moving company, the interior designers and everything that was needed. It worked well and we moved into the new office in July 2018 🎉

The office looked awesome and we had good space for many employees and grew to 22 in currently only 1 floor 🎉

We're also doing regularly meetings (e.g. jour fix), we started the Burger day where we make burgers in the office ourself, Rebecca Black Beer Fridays, Waffle Fridays and many more team events. Everyone can add their own culture and initiate the next team events.

The spirit in Berlin is awesome and i really love to go to work everyday!

What happened to the Doodle Android App?

  • We got featured in 2015 to be one of the Best Apps inside the Google Play Store in Europe
  • We did a case study with Google on how SSO solutions could improve the login success rate.
  • Professional Featured Video with the Doodle Team about how we use Firebase in our Apps shown on the Firebase keynote.

Developer Stories 1

  • We got featured on Google IO about how to improve your Apps quality.

Developer Stories 2

  • And a few great app features inside the Google Play Store. Each featuring increased our download numbers by 2x and more.

Today, the android app has a stability of over 99,9% and many million users.