A Day in the Life Interview with Siim Talvik, Sorry as a Service Co-Founder & CTO
Sorry as a Service are increasing customer engagement, loyalty and retention by delivering personalised treats and surprises through the post. These surprises can come on the form of cards, chocolate, biscuits or flowers, to name a few. We spoke to Sorry as a Service’s CTO and Co-founder Siim to find out more about their mission…
1. First can you tell us a bit about your job? What does your company do?
Sorry as a Service sends personalised delights through the post to increase customer engagement, loyalty, and retention.
We’ve realized that normal post is filled with ads and bills. If you put aside the bills, the ads are rarely relevant to the person receiving them.
So we leverage the existing postal platform to provide a customized service for companies that want to keep their customers loyal. For this to work, the delight needs to be relevant to the current situation.
We help our clients figure out what to send, when to send, what to automate, how to measure the impact and then handle all of the logistics behind the delight thus making it easy to reap the loyalty benefits.
My job as the CTO, is to make sure no-one in the development team is blocked and has everything needed to do what they do best. I try to not get in the way of that too much. When I do have time left over from administrative things I do some programming as well.
2. What brought you to this area?
The whole idea was a joke during Garage48, a hackathon series in Estonia. Lets apologize for other companies and call it “Sorry as a Service”.
A great team formed around the idea and after 48 hours of hacking the judges decided we should win the event.
The founders met up again after a couple of days and we got our first paying customer. ~6 months later we got our first investment and were accepted into the Startup Wiseguys accelerator. That’s when we formed the company and things started to roll.
Everything we now know has been learned from customer feedback and the whole company is built on that feedback.
3. What time does your day start, and what does your typical work day schedule look like?
I try to keep a 9-5 schedule, but it’s not always possible and after the schedule gets messed up it takes a while to get back on track.
I usually eat a good breakfast before coming in. Then make sure there is nothing critical needing my attention. Catch up on emails&slack and then spend the rest of the day programming/planning/on administrative work.
I try to keep my team away from overtime, so if there is a critical issue I can solve myself after-hours I do it, even if it takes the whole night.
As we have a daily release schedule I run a release on the evenings and make sure everything goes live smoothly.
4. What kind of projects are you currently working on?
We’re testing an idea called SWAG as a service that allows our clients to send out branded items(hoodies, mugs, thermoses, etc…) through our platform. Taking the logistics burden off companies and allowing them to concentrate on providing the service they provide.
We also just released a private beta of our public API allowing companies to incorporate our services into their daily flows.
Over the summer we’ve been granted exclusive access to the workings of Belron(autoglass/carglass) to see what can be made better in their customer journey. This allowed us to pinpoint issues and start building custom integrations to solve them.
5. What do you consider the greatest achievement in your work to date?
The level of automation that we’ve built into the development cycle. From testing to releasing. There’s still work to do on that front, but we’ve come very far from manual builds and uploads for releasing.
6. What is the one app you could not live without?
Git & Github. Git for it’s awesome workings and Github for its openness that has allowed countless developers&projects to thrive. They have done some really good work in promoting open source and the thinking around open source.
7. What’s the best thing about working at Sorry as a Service?
The quick iterations made possible by a constant feedback loop. Seeing people grow as individuals and the team benefiting from that. Just thinking how far we’ve become from the start.
8. Where is the after work hangout?
A pub called “koht”(“place” in english). I’ve been going there for years and we’ve been gathering there with the team since the beginning.
We also have company Sauna nights at our homes where we invite the whole company. These are always fun.
Personally, being an avid motorcyclist, I can be found out on the roads.
9. Who is your professional role model?
I’ve never really had a single role model.
10. What makes Tallinn a good city for startups?
The weather. We have nothing else to do during the long winter then to huddle up to the computer and enjoy the endless possibilities and heat it provides 🙂
11. What are the top 3 qualities you look for in an employee?
Willingness to learn, Responsiveness to feedback and an internal driver to always try and get a nicer solution out.
I don’t really care if someone hasn’t had any experience with the technology we use. I’m happy if they’re willing to learn it, follow best practices around it and make everything they build as easy to understand as possible.
12. And finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to an entrepreneur starting out?
Listen to your clients, I mean really listen. You want to provide a service to them, so accommodating their needs should be your no 1 priority.