Meet senior software engineer Matthias Gubler. Originally from Switzerland, he and his family relocated to rural Cartago, Costa Rica during the pandemic to try out a new way of living (and they’re not going back!).
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Matthias. I'm living in Costa Rica with my wife, my kid, my dogs, our sheep, and our chickens for a year and a half, more or less. Originally from Switzerland, I started working at mmhmm a year and three months ago as a back-end software engineer, working mainly on the accounts team.
How did you end up in Costa Rica?
I had the idea of going to live in a country that is Spanish-speaking because I want to improve my Spanish and preferably Costa Rica because I have dual citizenship (my mother is Costa Rican). Then I got lucky. I got the job at mmhmm and everything ended up being perfect.
What are you working on day-to-day?
On a daily basis, I'm developing software, improving the experience for the user for everything related to Teams joining businesses, leaving businesses, creating an account, sign in, sign out, everything related to the kind of backbone of everything. Currently, we are working on improving collaboration, where users get to see and collaborate with other users.
How has the product helped you in your day-to-day distributed life?
Whether it’s something technical you want to share with other engineers or an update on “Hey, now you can sign up and sign in with Google,” you can quickly make a recording of it, and share it with whoever may want to see.
Async updates are super nifty. If I want to watch an update, I'm not bound to any certain hour. If I'm focused on my task, then I can do it the whole day without getting distracted. Other days, you cannot get into this kind of focus. So you're happy that you have some videos to watch in between.
I also use it for private reasons. For instance, we are building a house, and the architect is living six hours away from us. So we usually talk with him in an asynchronous way. He sends me the construction plans. And then I can record a video where I say, “Hey, we could do this change.” I can explain myself a little better than just writing down some notes or marking something in the document. I think I can prove my points better for the recipient.
How would you say your life has improved due to the distributed lifestyle?
I mean, we have our child, Mateo. He was born nine months ago. So I started working at mmhmm without a kid. Now I have a kid, and I really, really enjoy those few moments where I can just switch the focus a little bit and get distracted from whatever problem I am currently facing at work. I mean, I got to see the first time he sat, I got to see the first time he stood up because I'm home.
What is one thing you think everyone should know about mmhmm?
Even though recording yourself may be a hurdle for someone, it's a really fun way to play around, to try something out, like moving around the screen or fading in and out, adding various GIFs, all the fun things you can do. And it really helps make things fuseful (fun and useful).