Interview with Adore Me CTO
Adore Me has started out as a maverick, challenging the status-quo on the US lingerie market, and nowadays not only have they succeeded in this, but are also a refreshing presence in the Bucharest tech agora.
To the end of this piece Bogdan will voice his own journey with Adore Me, but for now, I’d like to use his example in building a case for a balanced attitude towards what comes your way.
A bit of context: he is currently in charge of a tech team of +70 people, and I know for a fact that he’s striving to achieve a democratic way of working. Everyone gets involved, takes risks and makes decisions.
Can you perceive the potential burden there? Interacting with Bogdan, I have observed a few habits that I think can help in dodging some of the stress bullets.
Say what you mean, mean what you say - or in other words, assertiveness. I remember one phone call when Bogdan asked for an update on a recruitment project, adding that I shouldn’t mention who’s to blame for the delay in closing the vacancy.
At first, I found it odd, but then I pondered about the useless pressure we slowly build by sugarcoating ourselves too much. Try speaking your mind, in a non-aggressive manner; you’ll thank yourself for saving time spent on matching thoughts and words.
Don’t embrace assertiveness blindly, practice speaking frankly in a safe environment first, then ask for feedback and improve the way you’re communicating opinions. We all know that dialogue could have saved us the trouble of one too many conflicts.
Confidence is silent, and modesty often helps to ease the effort to be constantly wearing the I-saved-the-day cape. Though modest is not the first word that comes to mind when I speak of Bogdan, I did observe him giving space for opinions and debates, mostly in job interviews.
Most of the times, Adore Me’s recruitment brief is often simple ‘get us people that are smarter than us.' Do you use every chance you get to prove yourself? Don’t answer that, but think of the freedom of not having to control what others think of you. Every once in a while rest in the awareness of your own worth.
Growth is more important than control. It was encouraging to work with a hiring manager such as Bogdan when a hire we made chose to leave after his first month with Adore Me. He was genuinely happy for the guy having left for a better job and was assessing the good work he had done in the short time he was their employee.
Bogdan and his team did not even qualify this as a setback, but a chance to improve their job specs. By all means, don’t dwell in self-indulgence. There are only a few things you actually do have control over, try stressing less about the outcome and focusing more on what you actually can improve.
I encourage you to do some observing of your own. Choose those around you who stand out as being freer than the norm. Work with them, it’s fun. And if you don’t trust me here’s Bogdan side of the story.
[Bonus: read between the lines and find out how you could work with him as part of the Adore Me team.]
Give me a bit of context about Adore Me, why and how did you start it?
Adore Me was started by Morgan, a French guy fresh out of Harvard Business School at the time. We were pretty close from a previous collaboration with my software company.
I initially acted as a technology advisor, but things evolved and I joined as CTO, also merging my engineering team into Adore Me at the same time.
What kind of entrepreneurial experiences prepared you to go ahead and launch the company?
Funny thing is, being CTO at Adore Me is my first real job. I had been playing the entrepreneur for my entire adult life since I was 21 years old.
I learned about innovation, research, technology, open source, mentoring, problem-solving, success, failure, people, and dreams.
How would you assess your experience as Adore Me's CTO? Give me a few reference points about what you've learned so far.
It's really a personal growth rocket. From a test lab where I could apply my technology vision, to having a real understanding of business and markets, to creating a decentralized, adaptive organization, every year I face new realities that shift my personal learning journey to new territory.
Now that Adore Me Bucharest is established, what is your experience with hiring? What do you look for in a colleague?
I'm looking for a good human. Someone you wouldn't mind being stuck in an airport with. Curious, always learning. Compassionate, willing to contribute to others. Sharp, getting stuff done. And last but not least: masters of their craft.
In your opinion, what makes and breaks a high potential employee?
I think it's high self-worth and an adaptive mindset.
How would you describe what goes on on the inside? What does the Adore Me team stand for (values, behavior, expertise)?
It's a bit like a living organism. Things are autonomous but interconnected. We are constantly adapting, learning, reinventing ourselves. Lots of moving parts, lots of changes. People are accountable for their work and own their stuff. No assholes. We do strive for technical excellence, and we do move fast, so balancing the two is an art. We get involved, try to connect to the communities inside and outside the company.
Give me some hints about how to get on-board with Adore Me.
We're always on the lookout for exceptional people. Come meet us, we often host community events (engineering, product & more) and we have awesome specialty coffee to share with you.