EVENTS ABOUT YOU Tech Summit 2022: Strategy, inspiration and teambuilding
We have a well-liked ritual at ABOUT YOU: every year, all our tech employees meet at an internal tech conference, the so-called "Tech Summit". All full-time tech employees are invited, no matter where they live and work from. We organise the trip and the stay in Hamburg, and cover all costs incurred. It's quite a big effort, but the event and the time we spend together is worth every second and euro invested.
The last Tech Summit took place in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Back then, there were "only" about 100 ABOUT YOU tech employees. This year, we were already over 300 people and the Tech Summit 2022 was more international than ever. Because of our enormous growth and all the remote work during Covid-19 phases, it was especially nice and valuable to get together with all tech employees at Curio Haus in Hamburg on 7 July, 2022.
In addition to our headquarters in Hamburg, Germany, we operate three Tech Hubs in Zagreb, Cluj-Napoca and Prague, and many employees also work remotely from other European countries. That’s why many of our tech colleagues had never met each other in real life before.
Since the last Tech Summit had already taken place in 2019, we focused on getting everyone on the same page for this year's summer event. So it was mainly about which teams exist, what their functions are and how they are structured. But also what's happening in the individual tech teams and what their plans are for the following months.
Day 1: Keynote, Q&A session and presentations
The Tech Summit 2022 opened on Thursday with a keynote from ABOUT YOU Co-Founder Sebastian Betz. As the company's Co-CEO he is responsible for Tech and Product. Sebastian summarised the team's successes over the past year – including the fact that over 100 external shops (such as DEPOT and Tom Tailor) are now online on our SCAYLE e-commerce platform technology, and he gave a preview of our next goals. From a technical perspective, our biggest priorities now are to grow strongly, develop further functionality, provide the smoothest onboarding experience, and offer best-in-class technical support to our customers.
"Built an e-commerce software that is as easy to use as Shopify, but as flexible as SAP"
– Sebastian Betz, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of ABOUT YOU
The keynote was followed by a Q&A session together with ABOUT YOU Co-CEO Tarek Müller and Sebastian. We had three Q&A session slots throughout the day. Via the app Slido, all participants were able to ask questions, prioritise them and thus actively participate in the discussion. In this way, 160 questions were collected: they covered topics ranging from our role system and the associated opportunities for advancement, our newly founded search team, remote work, our central logging service Datadog, but also the final and highly rated question "When do we have beer?".
Besides getting to know each other, networking and spending time together, another goal of the Tech Summit is for the various tech teams to provide insight into their successes and next goals. This way, everyone can see what is going on in the other units and teams. With the current number and size of our teams, it would no longer be possible to keep track of everything without regular reporting and events like the Summit.
The Q&A session was followed by 10 to 15 minute slots each with status updates from twelve different units of the tech department. Among other things, we discussed the launch in new countries, live shopping, speed and usability, replacing legacy systems, and there was also an insight into company figures for the SCAYLE division, which is developing extremely well.
All ABOUT YOU TECH units and their teams at a glance.
After the teams’ presentations, well-deserved fresh beer and delicious food was waiting for everyone. The participants sat together in small groups, discussed topics in detail or simply ended the day with a tasty drink.
At 9 p.m. the official party started, where all ABOUT YOU employees were invited. Our parties in Hamburg are so well-known that people kept calling our event location, asking if they could still get "tickets". As it's an internal employee event, we didn't sell tickets, of course, but we're honoured that ABOUT YOU as a brand, and our parties, are so sought-after.
Day 2: Teambuilding
What many people don't know is that we don't just hold the Tech Summit, but always include a second day for our teams. That way, our employees have more time to get to know each other better or work together on topics that would otherwise get lost in the day-to-day business. The teams can choose for themselves what they want to invest their time in.
Here are a few examples:
- Developing a detailed roadmap for the next team goals
- Team planning workshop for specific epics or features
- Conducting a retrospective or “futurespective”
- Organise a team lunch or breakfast
- Organise a team activity (like SUP, city bike trip or geocaching in Hamburg)
Our goal for the team building day is that really all teams have enough time for themselves and go home with a good feeling.
Conclusion: How was it and what’s next?
The ABOUT YOU Tech Summit 2022 was once again a complete success! It was incredible to experience our many teams and employees together on site and to further strengthen our typical ABOUT YOU corporate culture. As a listed company, we also have ambitious mid-term targets for further revenue growth and profitability, as ABOUT YOU intends to reach break-even on Group adjusted EBITDA level in the following financial year 2023/2024.
It is therefore all the more important to us that teamwork and fun at work are not neglected. Some of the brightest minds in the IT industry from all over Europe work at ABOUT YOU and it's always a pleasure to see how much energy is in the room when it comes to finding the best solution to a problem or developing the most promising technology for our e-commerce platform SCAYLE.
This year's ABOUT YOU Tech Summit is just behind us, but as the saying goes: after the Tech Summit is before the Tech Summit. So we're already hard at work planning the next Tech Summit in 2023. In the meantime, of course, there are other team events on the agenda! Next up, the ABOUT YOU tech staff will see each other at code.talks, a developer conference taking place in Hamburg. We will have our remote employees fly in for that as well.
If you want to be part of our next team event, become part of ABOUT YOU TECH by applying to one of our open positions - we're looking forward to meeting you!