Name: Laurent Verbruggen
Role: Cloud Software Architect
Making Cake since: March 2019
Location: Edegem, Belgium
Tell us about your workspace
Since we don’t have an office and work completely remote, I usually work at home. Check out the mousepad in the picture above. I’m really proud of it. I’m the happy dad of 3 children — Lenna (9), Louis (8) and Lio (6) — and the mousepad was a present from my kids for Father’s Day.
Before the corona-crisis, most days I was alone in the house when working. The kids were at school and my wife only worked from home once every so often. In pre-corona time, which feels like centuries ago by now, I usually started working at 7 am until the children were back home around 4 pm. And mostly I would still do some work in the evening after they were in bed.
But since March my wife and I work side-by-side every day, each at our own desk, while we hope the kids aren’t murdering each other downstairs. 😅 I also needed to adjust my daily routine to these new circumstances. I now work between 7 and 9 am. And then I make time for the children and help them with the pre-teaching. And around 3 pm I start again and work until about 10 pm. With a break in between for dinner of course.
Starting tomorrow, all 3 of them can go back to school full time, so I’m hoping to pick up my usual routine again.
What do you do at Cake?
My main activity can be described as ‘providing data to the app’. If you want to read more about what we are doing you can check out this blog interview. Briefly put my colleague Andy and I manage the user-facing backend which processes all the data we have in our systems, and we make sure all that information is shown properly in the Cake app.
I mostly focus on the connections and integrations with banks and syncing their data with our systems. The last new connection I worked on was with Argenta bank, which means I was very happy we were able to finally connect them to Cake last week!
During the last couple of weeks I mainly focused on the development of all the new feedback features in our backend and it has been gratifying to hear from all the people who love these new features.
What I especially enjoy about working at Cake is that the work you provide has an immediate impact on the people around me who use the product. When I build something new, like for instance the new feedback feature, it usually goes live in the app to all of our users in less than a week! Immediately after such releases, we can see in our real-time statistics how the feature is being used.
Why Cake and not another company?
One of the other team members, Andy, was my colleague for 8 years at my previous job. About a year ago, he asked me if I would be interested in joining him on a promising new project. He wouldn’t tell me exactly what it was but he arranged a dinner with 3 of the Cake co-founders, Davy, Peter and Pieter.
I wasn’t looking for another project and was really happy where I was working at the time. But the idea of working at a start-up and at the same time working with Andy again was enough to convince me to at least go and find out what this project was about.
That evening when I met some of the founders changed everything. I remember Pieter telling me after dinner that I didn’t have to decide immediately, but my mind was already set. I strongly believed, and still do, that a project where amazing people talk with such passion and realism about their product is bound to be a success. And that’s something I didn’t want to miss.
Fun fact: I was so eager to join that I even signed my contract before Andy did.😁
Now that I’ve already been working at Cake for over a year I can also clearly see which things I value most. And trust is certainly one of those things. It is one of our company values and an essential part of our way of working. Of course, it’s a cliche, but with trust comes responsibility. You build it, you run it. You break it, you fix it. I admit it sometimes keeps me up at night, but I wouldn’t want it any other way!
This level of trust and flexibility is essential for my personal life. Especially with the kids’ stuff. 👪 I have the freedom to plan my work. With the start of the corona measures, it was most convenient to be able to split up my day the way I wanted so that I could take care of the kids during the day. This isn’t always easy as I’m not available during the ‘work’ hours of the day, but it works and I’m fully supported by the team.
What’s your most memorable Cake moment?
It was my first official day at Cake. Instead of working, I was invited to the quarterly team onsite. I got to meet the entire team, which was exhilarating because I felt like the journey had finally started. We had so much fun driving around in go-karts, and closed the day with a group dinner. I have to admit, I never experienced anything like it before. Excellent food and drink, group-speeches by everyone, pretend-it’s-your-birthday-cakes, and much more … A day I will always remember!
Another special moment is related to our product, the Cake app. It was the day my dad said it might be interesting to install Cake after all when he heard about the monthly Cake Rewards being paid out. You should know that my parents are very sceptical about everything related to sharing their bank data. The day my mother also installs the app, will be the day that I consider this project being a complete success!
What’s your favorite cake?
Strawberry cake with cream and pudding under the strawberries. I also enjoy a piece of chocolate cake once in a while.
Any topping on the Cake?
My kids always talk about “Team Cake” instead of just Cake, because they saw that our Slack channel is called that way. ‘Daddy do you have time to play a game or do you need to work for Team Cake?’ is a question I hear every day. 😀