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Introducing Etienne Posthumus, visualfabriq’s Lead Software Developer

 

In August we moved into our new offices with space for our team to grow so that we can meet the changing needs of our business as visualfabriq scales up. That same month, we were delighted to bring Etienne Posthumus on board the visualfabriq team. Etienne was born in South Africa and graduated from the University of Johnnesburg with a Bachelor of Science degree in Informatics Cum Laude. Soon after, he moved to The Netherlands where he has become naturalised and has worked on a variety of digital heritage projects for universities and his own freelance software development projects. “For the most part, I wasn’t working as part of a team,” he says, “And I did miss having smart people to brainstorm with.”

That all changed for Etienne when he got a call from a recruiter looking to connect him with the visualfabriq team. “I had a great gut feel about visualfabriq right from the start,” he says now, “I was very drawn to this team of really smart people with a completely authentic vision and clear strategy for what they intend to do.”

After years of working mostly solo, and on university, museum and art projects, Etienne has been thrust into the completely different world of visualfabriq. “It’s been a really steep learning curve over these past few months,” he says, “When I did get to dive into the technical details, I was astounded at what has been created. What Carst and the Granada team have done is really impressive. I was in awe, and it was clear to me that the visualfabriq platform and solutions have been made uniquely from the perspective of the end-user. Deep in-depth knowledge is embedded and it is a true insider solution, and people really want to use it because that’s what makes it so cool.”

So what role is Etienne playing on the team?
“As lead software developer I need to do whatever needs to be done. Often development and operations are regarded as strictly separate, but we’re still growing and that means I need to provide solutions in both development and operations. What I bring to the team is my driving force to make simple solutions for complex problems. That’s what I love to do. One of my exciting challenges is to simplify things in order to make everything more robust, repeatable and scalable. It’s a very exciting time to join the visualfabriq team.”
After years of working alone, what is like to change to being on the team?
“It’s good. It took some getting used to at first. As a freelancer, you have carte blanche over your time. If I wanted to take a break from work at any time and go to a yoga class I could. Now, I have meetings about deployments and people I need to talk to, which is a different kind of fun. I enjoy the casual conversations too, and the team is expanding my horizons. There’s always a lot of talk around the coffee machine about this or that soccer team winning a match. That’s something I would never have known about! I really love having colleagues.”

There’s often a sort of divide between techies and non-techies…
“That’s where my gift lies, I am like a bridge. I’m a ‘nerd’ who can talk to ‘other people’. That communication gap can so often cause problems and poor results. Often translations are needed when a non-techie person explains their problem and a techie person tries to help them. Somehow, I don’t experience that and I can be bridge across those different ways of communicating.

It’s early days, but what’s been best for you about joining the visualfabriq team?
“I get to do what I do best – make simple solutions to complicated problems. I am working with really smart, dedicated, socially aware people. There’s a real vision – we have a meta-view of what we are doing and why we are doing it. There’s strong, clear leadership from Jaco about why we do what we do. There’s a genuine culture of openness – anything can be said by anyone. There’s a complete lack of authoritarianism, hierarchical structure, posturing and egotism. Everyone works really hard off their own bat and there’s no time-wasting. It’s a perfect and rare environment where a ‘hippie nerd’ like me whose life was changed by yoga can invest my talent and energy, and grow in a business environment.”

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