Reflecting on my 5.5 years at Pipedrive
March 20, 2023 • 5 min read
Every journey comes to an end. This is inevitable and that’s how the world works. Especially it is true if you are working in a fast-paced industry where changes are happening all the time and where you have to grow and change along. Just recently, my journey at Pipedrive came to an end, and I wanted to reflect a bit on how it went.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that my decision to join the company almost 6 years ago changed my life forever. After years, I realize that it affected almost every aspect of my life, not only the work-related part of it.
Start of the trip
I can’t say I was in a good mental state in the summer of 2017. Not happy with my current work, overweight, and struggling to get my thoughts and feelings together, I’ve been blessed by being reached by Pipedrive and going through the pretty intense interview process. I visited Tallinn for a day, had a chat with amazing people, and fell in love with the culture and the way how the company operates. Smart, motivated people - probably the main aspect that opened my eyes and spawned this urge to change something about my current state of things. I agreed to join and started preparing for relocation. I had to leave a lot, almost everything I had, behind. Start a new life in a different country. Grow and get my shit together. And oh boy I didn’t realize how much will I enjoy this ride!
A New World
I joined Pipedrive as a Senior iOS developer. At that time, the mobile team had a wonderful EM who did a great job at handpicking team members, making sure that they all fit together into a nicely working mechanism. After a long time, I still have yet to find someone who was able to build teams in such a way. It was a fun time. We built cool things, worked on automation and processes, released new stuff to the customers, and cared a lot about how it all fits overall company goals. I was able to participate in very cool projects, starting from early prototyping and ending with releasing the functionality to the customers. I have seen a group of people around me who cared and wanted to do more, wanted to learn and teach, wanted to move fast and make a progress every day. The team and the company encouraged that a lot with a perfect balance of freedom and responsibility. With these changes, I also got the mental power to change myself. I wanted to become better, healthier, and happier. It was a journey on its own, but I still believe that the environment I ended up in affected it dramatically.
After a short time, we started to realize that we can’t scale our mobile team at the same pace as the company grew. With the rest of the company moving so fast, the relatively small mobile team had to find a way how to keep up. The answer came in a form of a word combination that usually splits the room in half - cross-platform development, and in our case, it was React Native. I was not happy with the idea at that time, being a very pro-native person and not wanting to do anything besides iOS. For some reason (and I’m extremely grateful and happy that it happened this way), I was made in charge of trying it out and integrating it into the existing apps. Being unhappy and demotivated at first, I started doubting if I’m moving in the right direction with my work life. And then… Just one day I woke up with a thought that changed my attitude forever:
“Dude, right now, you are working in the awesome company, and you are getting paid for playing around with a new technology that can potentially change the company course as well. You have a playground, and toys to play with, it matches company goals, you can learn a lot, and you are getting paid for that as well. What is the single reason to be unhappy about it?”.
And I stopped worrying, starting a brand new chapter of my work life. And it’s been a bumpy, but hell of a ride. Pretty soon I was able to lead the implementation of a brand-new mobile app on React Native, and we did an amazing job. New people started gathering around the topic of cross-platform, I learned a lot from them and we had a great time together. Slowly, we turned into a separate team - with our own mindset, culture, approaches, and processes. I tried to ensure that we are not drowning in the beurocracy and slowness that the company moved towards. We became a remote-ready and async team well before COVID happened and transitioned to WFH seamlessly. We diverged from the core mobile team in terms of the way we work and think, and for me, this was the main reason why I was able to stay in the company for so long.
As Pipedrive grew, ambitions grew as well. With the plans of scaling the product, it was time for our work to shine. We started building a brand new mobile platform on top of React Native, with the idea that there will be lots of new mobile apps soon. I never worked on a platform before, so I was very interested in the project. We had to solve problems on a different level, thinking at scale. It was a very challenging, but incredible journey, with lots of wins and losses, heated arguments and drama, with lots of innovation and learning. While feeling burned out time after time, I still was incredibly motivated and happy about the work we were doing. Unfortunately, the company has changed meanwhile. With the shift of priorities, a complete change in management, and reorganization, priorities shifted and we ended up in a position where we had to sell our work to the company itself. In the end, the project became obsolete after the wave of layoffs in 2022.
During the last 5 years, a lot has happened. My life has changed. I have changed. The world has changed a lot as well. Somehow, at the end of 2022, I felt stuck. In the same way, as I needed changes in my personal life to move on, I felt that we don’t share the same values and goals with Pipedrive anymore. I gave it all I had, and at the same time, I took all I could as well, in a form of knowledge, experience, and memories. But it was time to let go and find a new challenge. And that’s what I did. I will reflect on how it changed my quality of life separately.
Overall, I’m glad for the time I had with Pipedrive. It was a huge part of my life. I made new friends. I learned a lot. I was part of the success story. And I’m grateful for that!