Aiven Blog

Sep 20, 2022

In the company of fabulous Crabs

Aiven's headcount climbed past 500 this September. We asked our Cast of Crabs about their favorite memories and greatest lessons - read what they said!

Auri Poso, Technical Copywriter at Aiven

Auri Poso

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Technical Copywriter at Aiven

At Aiven, we all know we’ve grown a lot. We see it twice a month, when new joiners swarm to the office and Slack fills up with warm welcomes from their managers and new teammates. Since the start of 2022, we’ve had more than 20 new joiners each month.

To illustrate the point, this is our headcount graph:

Aiven from 4 to 521 employees

Thanks to all the new joiners, the average tenure of an Aivener right now is only 12 months. Those of us who have been here for two years feel like hardened veterans!

Aiven welcomes remote, hybrid and on-premises work, and recruits globally for most positions. Very globally. We have a follow-the-sun team not just on support, but in practice many other functions, too.

Aiven's global cast

So how does this work in the real world? You’d think we’d be burning up from the friction of online collaboration, cultural diversity and expansion pains. So we asked Aiveners to comment on their tenure at the company, and it turns out we’re not. We’re really not!

When asked to describe their favorite memories at Aiven and the lessons they’ve learned, our cast of Crabs talked about how great it was to have a global team, what fun their colleagues are, and how kind and enjoyable the general Aiven vibe is.

Favorite Aiven memories

Starting from the moment we scuttle into the Aiven world, many of us feel connected and supported. When we asked the Crabs for their favorite memories at Aiven, coming to the office for the first time or logging into their first meeting was a big theme.

First time entering the Helsinki office. It's been nothing but welcoming and cozy, almost like a second home :) - Svenja Spielberg

I remember all those warm and smiling faces. The first day truly felt like I had started a new chapter in my life. - Ville Talvitie

My first week at Aiven and I heard how thoughtful my supervisor had prepared for me before she went to her vacation. [...] I got a lot of warm welcomes and friendliness from her and other colleagues. - Jin Nguyen

Spending my first full day at the office, getting to meet everyone and having lunch in Helsinki with the office crowd. - Andrew Hindle

Some of the gang in the office chipping in to help me screw some crates together for an event. We can do strategy, sell Aiven services but also roll up our sleeves and do some "dirty" work when we need to. 100%. - Shu Toh

First global team meeting (over zoom) Three time zones spanning 12 hours. - Rachel Romoff

Working together online is both challenging and rewarding, but sometimes a face to face meeting can be a game changer.

On my 3rd visit to Helsinki in June so many colleagues (from different departments) just came to the office to meet me. I felt so welcomed (I'm usually working at home office) and really as a part of Aiven, but also as part of the Helsinki team. When I flew back I REALLY understood: I'm part of it, even if I don't see everyone every day. This feeling of "arriving" was amazing! - Markus Jaensch

Whole week of Crabs

Many sunny memories were made at Aiven’s Crab Week in the spring of 2022, when we all gathered at a resort near Barcelona in Spain to work and play together. Quoting all of them would be impossible, so here are some gems.

My favorite memory is seeing one of the founders looking at the long tables during a dinner at Crab Week and becoming emotional about the big thing Aiven became and how it is not only a tech company but rather an exceptional group of humans. - Francesco Tisiot

When two of my lovely colleagues turned up to a team photo shoot in bathrobes at Crab Week! - Jen Szabo

Everyone was so open and inviting. [E]veryone, from Board Members to the C-Suite to the newest employees, was open to talking, hearing your thoughts, and very friendly. - Brendan O’Donnell

The cover band was performing "We Found Love" by Rihanna and when the chorus dropped, everyone went wild singing and dancing along! - Loren Snodgrass

Crab Week formal dinner, with Pasi at my side and Mika [Eloranta] in front of me. I didn’t know at first Mika was an Aiven founder as I missed the first three days of Crab Week, and we got a good laugh out of that later. - Silvia Santillan Nava

But is it working?

It’s not all play at Aiven - we also work together. But sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…

Work can be fun! - Abel Florez

[Best memory:] Writing a fake crab documentary narrated by David Attenborough. - Mark Roberts

[I’ve found that] it's still possible to have fun at work, and learn new things. - Tibs

We celebrate each other

We asked the Crabs to name the most important thing they’d learned at Aiven. It’s clear from the responses that Aiveners are a bright, fun, kind bunch who celebrate all differences - of cultures, people, and opinions.

I wouldn't say I learned a very important thing, but I did notice very early that special kindness and openness of mind that permeates every interaction. - Antoine Leven

We are all humans with our strengths and flaws. We always try to do our best and if we fail, we encourage each other to try again. Life has its ups and downs and it is not the end of the world if something bad happens. There cannot be good days without bad ones. - Ville Talvitie

It's not about your age, nor your ego or education, it's about what you bring to the table. - Emilia Kronlund

I can just be me....and it's ok! - Naimi Smith-Vieno

And very importantly, people feel like they’ve grown during their time at Aiven. That’s absolutely the cherry on top of the crab cake!

I'm now capable of tackling bigger projects and working cross-functionally. - Silvia Santillan Nava

Grow and help others grow as well. - Daniel Müller

Going forward

Thinking of crabs, the first thing that most people notice (right after the cool, multifunctional claws!) is that they move sideways. That’s the stuff of legend. But hey, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us Crabs, right? What matters is that we all move in the same direction, together, in whatever way comes most naturally to each of us.

Since 2016, we’ve sidled from a tiny startup of four people to a vigorously growing community of over 500. Now the Aiven Cast of Crabs is looking forward (or even giving the side-eye!) to a future with even more great colleagues and increasingly awesome work to be done.


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