DeveloperWeek New York 2020 DeveloperWeek New York 2020
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KEYNOTE: Kontist -- Necessary Endings for the Sake of Your Team

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Main Stage
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Sebastian Galonska
Kontist, CTO

Sebastian's technology journey began at the tender age of 9 when he first learned to program. Since then he’s worked and managed teams in the social space - where he built the framework for Germany’s largest social network. In 2012 he stumbled into the fin-tech space and stuck with it ever since. In 2015, he started Kontist, Germany’s Freelance Bank, where he serves as Co-Founder and CTO.


Building a healthy development team has never been more challenging for start ups, but this is not another talk about hiring. It is about necessary endings. Being a newly born startup in Germany’s startup capital in need of fast results, we have often hired too fast but rarely fired too slow.
This talk will not prescribe the right way of growing an engineering team because small startup founders are beggars and not choosers when it comes to staffing. It is about a balanced trade-off. Motivating and shaping software engineers is a no-brainer, however, letting people go has never been popular thus crucial to the health and growth of the team.

Hiring developers in Germany’s start up capital is hard, but as the CTO, it’s one of your most important tasks. Startups in need of quick results hire fast and sometimes this leads to making a less than ideal hire. Successfully navigating this circumstance is difficult as you seek to balance: ensuring your team culture is healthy, developing your juniors, managing people out and when need be having tough conversations and letting people go, while maintaining a good relationship.