Hauke, Julia and Luigi have known each other for many years. They have already worked together in various companies and in different roles and are now fulfilling a dream by founding and managing Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: to build a continuously evolving tech company that is consistently focused on its customers and employees - and to have a lot of fun doing it.
At Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the three have set their sights high, and in this interview, they talk about what"s changed for them and how they plan to use their experience to stay on target amid rapid growth.
Julia: What is your role at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and what did you do before?
Previously, I worked for many years as a human resources manager in a larger corporate subsidiary. At Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I now return to my roots "right in the engine room" and try to support our employees to give their best in the different projects and to understand the needs of our customers in the best possible way. My focus is thus on a sustainable positive and successful relationship between our customers and our great team.
Luigi: What is your role at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and what did you do before??
My job is called "Chief Marketing Officer", but there is a lot more to it than "just" marketing. I"m responsible for the internal and external image of our company, but most of all I take care of all visual and sales-oriented issues for our clients. Our design team develops or transforms brands for the digital age, creates user-centric interfaces, and also deals with sales promotion and customer loyalty measures. The mix suits me and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot very well - as a graduate in communication design, I have been able to gain many years of experience in both brand, advertising and digital companies. Most recently as a managing director in a subsidiary of an international tech company.
Hauke: What is your role at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and what did you do before?
As Chief Technology Officer, I have overall responsibility for all of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot"s technical deliverables. For me, that starts with the individual development of all my employees, shaping strong teams, and fostering effective knowledge sharing. I help our teams make the right technical decisions while keeping our principles in mind, such as: "We believe technology is the key to success. But we never die in beauty." Unlike my previous job, which was characterized by the financial pressures of a corporation and silo thinking, I can now manage the entire development division and make the best decisions for us and our customers.
Julia: What makes Whiskey Tango Foxtrot different for customers/partners and employee:s than other technology companies?
I believe that we are very well positioned as a service provider to our customers in terms of the breadth and quality of our services. Where otherwise many parties and coordinators are often necessary, we can offer flexible solutions from a single source, which lead to results with little overhead and a lot of experience. But I believe that the biggest difference is to be found in our entrepreneurial objective. We offer ourselves as partners and do not aim for quick money and profits for shareholders. First and foremost, we want our customers to be successful and then grow together with them and share in the results.
Hauke: What have been the biggest challenges for you so far?
Before joining Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I was primarily involved with frontend development. Since my active time in backend development and infrastructure was a few years ago, I"ve had a very steep learning curve in these areas over the past few months. Fortunately, I have an excellent team, which picks me up where I am at any given time. A huge thank you at this point!
Luigi: You previously worked for a large corporation, what do you see as the advantages of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in comparison?
In my previous job, at some point we just tried to sell solutions that had been produced once as profitably as possible to as many customers as possible. The motto was: sell as much as possible, regardless of whether the customer profile matched. In the course of time, the attention to detail and the courage to try something new completely receded into the background - strongly driven from an internal perspective, hardly any innovative spirit. Here at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I can finally put my heart and soul into my work again and concentrate on customers and projects - we have resolved never to lose this focus. But I also believe that this is due to the great colleagues and the new projects that we have the privilege of working on.
Julia: The year 2021 is coming to an end. What are your wishes for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and your clients/partners for the coming year?
I wish - especially in the current times - that everyone stays healthy and can continue to work with full energy on the realization of their goals. I personally miss the personal exchange and the creative get-togethers very much - therefore I wish that we can spend more time together again in the new year, in order to be able to advance each other even better through the personal exchange.
Luigi: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot has recently been successfully launched, what were your highlights of the last weeks?
The design and furnishing of our headquarters in Hamburg Bahrenfeld will remain in my memory for a very long time. Here you can immediately feel the energy that drives us all, everyone pitched in late into the night, had a lot of fun doing it and the result is really something to be proud of. When we then started business operations, we launched into a really exciting new project with the same energy, which we will soon be able to tell you more about - that was and will probably remain a real highlight.
Hauke: How will Whiskey Tango Foxtrot develop technologically in the coming months?
For all technology companies, the "law of the instrument" is a great danger, i.e. the tendency to rely solely on the tried and tested, even though better solutions are now available. That"s why we will always face new technological challenges with an open mind - this is part of our DNA. We want to continue to abstract unnecessary complexity and automate recurring processes. If we can reduce the cognitive load in development, we will pick up even more speed and mine more potential for developing outstanding software solutions.
Julia, Hauke, Luigi: You left your secure corporate jobs behind in the midst of the pandemic and successfully launched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. What advice would you give to undecided people who are worried about making a career change in these times?
Hauke: A job is just a job. This appeasement sometimes sounds good, but it"s the worst advice I can think of. A job is much, much more. We spend almost half of our waking - maybe even our sleeping - time in our job. That"s why we should accept it as an essential part of our lives. This means that we should also strive for happiness in our work environment. For this we need success, fun, co-determination, appreciation, security and much more. We want to satisfy (almost) the same needs we have in our personal lives. If you don"t feel like you can make that happen in your current job, then it"s time for a change, no matter how uncomfortable the timing may seem.
Julia: Actually, at least in the digital industry, changing jobs has never been easier than during the pandemic. This has accelerated the digital transformation in almost all areas of life. Skilled workers are sought after and valued everywhere for further progress. An interview from the home office is quickly organized and uncomplicated. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is also continuously looking for new colleagues and offers very attractive working conditions and an uncomplicated process of getting to know each other.
Luigi: I once noted the order "fun, success, money" in the corporate philosophy of a former employer. Today I would add "heart and soul" or "passion". Only those who enjoy their job and are prepared to produce great results with commitment and passion will also be successful and ultimately earn money. In my previous job, there was already a problem with point 1 - only commitment was required and everything else took a back seat. In this respect, I can only advise everyone - if you can"t change anything, then just dare a new adventure.