Dear Levity team,
Coming close to two years of being involved, I can confidently say that these were the best two years of my life. I had fun and was committed in previous jobs but this was the first time I was really in it and I hope for everyone to reach that point in their lives. It feels good, really good.
Through all of you, I was able to learn the meaning of progress: How a product vision emerges, how things move from idea through design to engineering, how to approach strangers with the right tone, and also that it is not necessary to have all the answers ready to hard questions. And that the only essential thing for this is to work with people who can do it.
But more important than these technical things is that you all helped me become the person I am today through your actions, challenging questions, and letting me be. And on top of all this, I couldn’t be more grateful for the friendships that emerged from this. Thank you!
What I am going to do next will not do justice to any of our relationships but there are a few people I want to thank in particular.
Sofia, thank you for letting me in on something not on my radar: The importance of user experience and what it means to go for the best. When the hiring decision happened, I was not sure what to make of this "obvious" thing that I thought occurs naturally once a product idea is conceived. But you showed me the difference one can make on a thing that doesn't yet exist. My own designs still suck but Don Norman sits prominently on my desk as a reminder to think twice about obvious things.
Fritz, thank you for being so ballsy and taking a bet on yourself. It's a pleasure to see you grow into that "thing": Cunning business machine and builder for the price of one. This is the way. If I could turn back time while preserving what I know today, I would do exactly the same. To many more Kaltschalen with you and the crew!
Johnny, thank you for introducing a new level of productivity and time management. Experiencing how much good you do, I feel inspired to push myself when you are around. I hope that you see the same in the company what I see and that you are ready to take the right steps when the time has come.
Charul, since I met you, I think every serious company needs a smart quiet one that reveals her true face through an unbroken win streak on Among Us. And during games with comic cards. It’s amazing to me with how much grace and patience you responded to questions about topics I claim to understand even though we both know that you would easily knock me out of my ML-painted boots.
Hanna, thank you for teaching me, for your patience, and for being a merciless indicator of how well things are going. Many times, your feedback helped me test my own beliefs and change course if needed, knowing that it was for the better of all. It is a pleasure seeing you rise above yourself every day and knowing that you are not letting anyone in – or off the hook, at best. Keep your fire burning!
Thank you Adrian for being the loyal Levity soldier that you are. You made my job look easy (most of the time) and I am honored that you decided to stick with us for so long despite your heavy workload and travel schedule. Knowing how much you like winning, there is a bright future ahead of you, be it at Levity or elsewhere!
Matilde, when you asked me "You are leaving Levity?", I had to deeply reconsider my answer. I needed to collect all the convictions I had at that time to affirm what I had said just seconds ago. I am honored that you answered our call after we first met and you can be proud of what you have accomplished over the last year. And I know that it's just the beginning. There aren't too many people who give a damn about what they do and you can be sure that true quality shines through to everyone around you! I happen to know that from a few friends.
Nils – when I was in high school, I had a good friend who was so brilliant that I thought, "whatever you do, I just hope you'll never sit at the other side of the table." Luckily, he turned out to become a gardener. I doubt that this is on your direct path but just like my friend from school, you belong to that rare species of people that keep me on my toes because of the fantastic work you get done and I would be pleased to follow your journey. You might not see it just yet but you picked the right place and time. I hope that you will quickly get to what you want to do over the next few years. I believe that you already have a good plan – keep in mind that outliers are found outside the beaten path.
Milan! I have a hard time keeping track of more than one thing at once and just knowing how complex the stuff is that you are working on, I'm amazed whenever there is a thoughtful comment (or the perfect emoji reaction) from you in a business channel. I have enjoyed every bit of our friendship and hope we will meet again over a hack or haxe.
Thank you Patri for breathing your energy into the team and sometimes taking everyone's minds off the usual discussions sometimes. When we met in person for the first time, I thought to myself: "If this cool kid is joining, we are officially a funky startup!" We had mixed plans on what to do with you and I hope that we help you to "learn project management"... just kidding! You are doing great and I hope you can appreciate how well you are developing in this team and that it helps to take steps in the right direction.
Zoe, you are another one who added liveliness to our team and I can’t thank you enough for the great care you have been devoting to my first child at this firm. When we interviewed you, we looked for a creative person we would be able to turn our back towards very fast and I can assure you that you passed that test, time and time again. Seeing that you are happy also shows me that we are not completely failing this remote thing and I really hope that we get to meet up IRL someday.
As I already hinted above, this was not an attempt to compress our relationships in any way and it fails to convey my emotions towards you. You are an amazing team and I am humbled that I got to work with all of you – which finally brings me to...
Saying “thank you Gero and Thilo“. There are no words to express my gratitude and the joy you brought to my life by letting me in on this journey. There are two things from the early days that stuck with me. The first was my first day working with you in Berlin. Based on my research over Christmas, I had prepared a presentation, and, thinking about it now, it’s already a miracle to me that you didn’t show me the door right then. Little did I know what was about to come.
Once the discussion was over, I got to enjoy the quality of productive silence. This was nothing I had ever experienced before and, not gonna lie, I didn’t know what to make of it at first. As the week progressed, it became clear to me that there was little room for management but that it was go-time for me. And what did I think about that? “Perfect, it’s just like they say in these startup essays.”
The second one is the moment where we got what we were about to build. I believe that you were a little bit ahead of me at that time already but, as countless hours on Figma et al have demonstrated since then, none of us seemed to have a complete picture in mind. I'd made up my mind long before because I sensed that you were on a huge mission and had the guts to pull through.
Seeing that whiteboard turn into reality is still like a dream come true. Besides having a new gadget that might help my next stab at the MNIST dataset, seeing this company emerge was the missing piece on my journey. Experiencing the many firsts together helped me build the confidence that answers will come eventually if motivated people work on an interesting problem.
I am aware that I am leaving a hole but I want to assure you all that I wouldn't move on if I thought you wouldn't be getting along well enough. And as you might know from your own experiences, some calls you have to answer. But I also sense that this isn't our last dance and I'm already looking forward to dressing up for the next.
The two things I wish for you as a company are that you always strive for running in the same direction and that you help each other waking up with joy each morning. Such an environment doesn't build itself but I find it worth striving for.