Jakub Milczarek

December 18, 2017

How would you describe Jakub Milczarek in one word? Meticulous, Straightforward, Adventurous?

His colleagues say:

Meticulous: Jakub spent long long loooong hours talking with different people about their needs and dreams about the support forum and preparing designs afterwards. Then, when we were at the implementation stage, he was there at every single step commenting on every margin, every search result, and every still redundant text or button.

Straightforward: He proposed really BOLD changes. I don’t think any of us would think about such crazy changes all at the same time and, well… showing the outcome to Amir also needed some bravery and breath-holding :D

Adventurous: When he was just 8 years old, he climbed the highest peak on the Czech-Polish border, Śnieżka, and his dream of climbing the highest points of every country in Europe was born.

When you were young…
What do you remember best about growing up?

My toys! My toys were cables, connectors, batteries, test tubes and beakers. You see, my Father was a physicist, my Mum was a microbiologist and my grandmother also worked in a lab. Everything to do with chemistry and electronics fascinated me. When I was 6, I remember my father bringing home a computer which we promptly plugged into our then black and white TV.

What was school like?

In primary school, at the end of the school year special awards were given to the best pupil. I am happy to say that I got very good grades, over 5 on a scale 1-6, but this triumph was dampened by my poor conduct grades – I was always far too outspoken and direct!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

As you mentioned earlier, mountain climbing with my Mum and Dad. Śnieżka at 1,603 metres was the very first mountain I ever climbed.

What did you always want to try and were not been able to do – yet?

Let me think about this for a moment…

I would like to experience either the Arctic or Antarctica and to spend enough time there to live through 24 hours of daylight or 24 hours of darkness.

Having said that, I have just received my Long Range Certificate – an internationally valid certificate issued to radio station operators, especially for participating in marine communications – and also My Motorboat Skipper’s Certificate for sea going vessels. So who knows, maybe visiting one of the Poles will be feasible after all.

Working at OTGS…
Before working at OTGS what was the most unusual or interesting job you ever had?

I would say it was being involved in the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. It involved over 2 months intensive scientific, diplomatic and industrial training in Hague in The Netherlands, Singapore and also Guildford in Surrey (UK).

How has OTGS changed over the past 2 ½ years you have been working here.

OTGS has doubled in size and new teams have been created eg the Proxy team. ICL development has grown too.

Not only are there more projects but they have become more multilayered. I find I am juggling between several projects concurrently.

People at first were quite wary of me, not being sure of my role in the company. Rapport has greatly improved since those early days. Now colleagues feel comfortable to approach me and ask questions, knowing they will get concise answers. When the situation is described well, I can immediately see where the problem lies.

Tell us about the teams you work closely with – do you get along well?

I work with all the teams – WPML, Toolset, ICL development, Proxy and Systems, perhaps not quite as much with the Support teams.

We all get along very well, even though some of the questions I ask sound like dummy questions, but in reality I ask them from the standpoint of the user. I like to take the initiative and call to ask, “What is going on? Please tell me.” This way tons and tons of small issues are resolved before escalating into something major.

I constantly think about finding solutions. We have been able to redesign 90% of the forum page in particular for Search and Ticket creation on the opening page for the user.

Even when I was on vacation in the mountains in the summer, the potential revamp was on my mind and ideas were born. Close cooperation with Amir, Amit, Peter, Kasia and Ana in Croatia “polished” those ideas effectively.

I’m sure that on occasions there are some misunderstandings. How do you handle such situations?

When people mention me in YouTrack on an unfamiliar issue, to be honest, rather than writing my comments I prefer calling on Hangouts to discuss it. I express myself verbally much better and I can ask as many questions as I need to get a clearer picture. I believe misunderstandings can be avoided this way and much time can be saved by avoiding superfluous back and forth written comments. Please, don’t misunderstand! This is what works for me, but perhaps not for you. Written communication is very important and works effectively for most OTGSians.

What has been your favorite project?

Many to many relationships – a new feature in the paid version of Types, working very closely with Amir and Jan. Jan and I were talking every day, inventing the worst possible scenarios, everything that could possibly go wrong for the user.

What is your proudest moment at OTGS?

I would say it is when we release a new version and get positive feedback from our customers.

M2m project is a good example – people are enthusiastic with the new design. Also worth mentioning is the redesigned interface for WCML and sneak peeks of other changes in Types (e.g. repeating fields).

On a more personal level…
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

To be a tram driver. My city – Łódź, was the first city in Poland to have a fully electrified tram system in 1898. It boasts the longest tramline, Line 46 which is 38 km connecting the city with regional townships.

What is the greatest challenge you have had to overcome in your life thus far?

I enjoy challenges so much that nothing actually stands out!

What is an ability you wish you had?

One day I would like to learn to fly a plane or a helicopter.

And I’m sure you will, Jakub!
So, to close our pleasant tête-à-tête, which would you say are your happiest moments?

My happiest moments are when I successfully achieve a goal I have set for myself and then take 1 or 2 days to rest and relish my accomplishment. This really completes my satisfaction.