Kostas Kouratoras

May 29, 2018

When is an employee highly valued by his colleagues? When he … is very knowledgeable, is very detailed in his work, knows how to move from strict to flexible and is always totally reliable

Konstantinos Kouratoras tries not to disappoint his colleagues’ opinions of himself.  Kostas (as everyone calls him) comes from Crete, so let’s meet him:

Me wandering around the streets of Brugges

Kostas, what did you want to be when growing up?

I grew up in an environment where computers were used on a daily basis, so my choices were limited to what I actually did later on. But on second thoughts, I will mention that I wanted to be a street musician, playing the cello or guitar. In the end, the bits won the battle over the notes!

What is the worst thing you did as a little boy?

I once put a metallic pair of scissors inside an electric socket. After a big bang and some stunning moments, I realized that I had actually managed to survive this experiment!

What is your favorite childhood memory?

With Katerina on a flight to France

When I was a child, I used to spend some of the summer months with my grandparents, who used to live about a 1 hour drive from where I was born. My grandmother was always preparing homemade bread and we would light a very hot fire in the wood-burning cob (earthen) oven to bake it. That smell and taste will always remain in my memory!

What do you always want to try and never did?

One thing on my bucket list, that I always wanted to try and never have done (so far) is to fly with a hot air balloon, preferably over Cappadocia! I’ve seen pictures and videos and it must be an unforgettable experience.

Three years ago, you began working at OTGS. What drew you to OTGS originally? And how has OTGS changed since?

At that time, I was looking for a job more closely related to WordPress and, preferably, to also give me the opportunity to work remotely to be able to travel around the world. Taking into consideration that OTGS is one of the most well known companies in the WordPress ecosystem, I decided to apply without a second thought.

OTGS has changed a lot since I joined. The number of teams has increased and also the teams themselves are growing in size. But it’s not only about the people. I’ve seen our products become more mature, established.  More features are now available and there is a great improvement in their interface and usability.

Has OTGS helped you in your career development?

It definitely has! The switch I made from software developer to tester was one of the best decisions in my professional career. This opened up new horizons for me and gave me a boost to start exploring this interesting field of quality assurance.

Tell us about the teams you work closely with – do you get along well seeing we come from different cultures?

As a member of the QA team, I have the chance to work with almost all the people in Toolset. Mostly, I work on a daily basis with the developers of Types and Views, and especially with Types as at this time of writing, we are coming close to the final release of the Post Relationships feature.

I wouldn’t say that different cultures are a barrier to our communication. On the contrary, this makes our work even more interesting.  Besides work-related issues, we have the chance to get in touch and learn things about life in other countries, things that we would never hear about otherwise.

What has been your favorite project?

My favorite project is the latest that we have been working on for months and will be released really soon. The Post Relationships project! I strongly believe that it is the most important update in the Toolset suite since day one and the indications are that it will have great success in the WordPress ecosystem.

What is your proudest moment at OTGS?

It is really gratifying to be told that I am Employee of the Month for the second time and to have received such positive feedback from my colleagues.

What about other opportunities eg your involvement with … eg WordCamps.

I am trying to get involved as much as I can in the WordPress community. Besides other contributions, I am part of the organizing team of WordCamp Athens. The recent one that took place last December was one of the most successful in Europe and hosted almost 600 attendees from all over the world.

If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?

Although the benefits of working remotely are far more than any downside, opportunities to meet our colleagues in person are limited. Having experienced the really good times we spend together at our annual company meetings or attending WordCamps around the world, I wish we could meet in person more often.

My girls during a road trip through Tuscany

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be?

To run a large farm with animals and have my own trees on a mountainside, near a lake. And who knows… it may come true in the distant future and not only for one day!

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

Work-wise, I think that for me it was the switch from the traditional office style way or working to working remotely. Still, the change proved to be a smoother transition that it seemed to me at first and I have quickly managed to adapt to the remote work philosophy.

What is a skill you wish you had?

To play the piano! I admire people who can and I hope one day my fingers will fly over the keyboard too… even if it takes a while.

…and the happiest moments in your life?

When I spend time with my wife and my daughter, as those moments are priceless. Even if it is about staying at home, going for a walk or travelling around the world.

We are sure that as a husband and father you skillfully balance the fine qualities your work colleagues so appreciate with your family too!