Goodbye Valo World it is time to explore something new

March 12, 2021

For the last 3,5 years, I have been working at Valo. I started as a developer and eventually became the Engineering Lead. Every single day I enjoyed working at Valo. It has been an exciting ride.

Oh, and we all change over the years. That is what you can see in the following pictures.

Me over the 3,5 years working at Valo
Me over the 3,5 years working at Valo

While working at Valo, I am thankful for all the opportunities I had. I have been to various places, met many great people, but the most exciting for me was the opportunity to develop a product from scratch. That was the exact reason why I wanted to join Valo. Now the time has come that I say goodbye to my fantastic team.

Signing out from Outlook
Signing out from Outlook

Before I sign out from Teams, I will first tell you more about how my story at Valo started and evolved.

Chapter 1: A chat with a friend from Canada

It all started with a chat with Sébastien Levert. He had a question for me (again), and I said: “if you have one for me, I have one for you as well this time.” His question was technology-related. Where my question was: “do you have an opening in the Valo team for me?”

I asked the question at the right time. The conversations with Valo started, and I got in just before the end of 2017.

Seb and I on a trip from Norway to Finland
Seb and I on a trip from Norway to Finland

In the beginning, I worked on some optimizations of the products. This work helped me to learn the products better. At the beginning of 2018, we started working on the proof of concept of the intranet on modern SharePoint. It was a great and challenging time. Sebastien and I wanted to have a working alpha version for the MVP summit. That way, we could showcase what we were doing and challenge if we were on the right track.

The Valo intranet team visiting Antwerp
The Valo intranet team visiting Antwerp

After a bit less than a year, we launched the first version. We were so happy that we had that version out. The weeks before the launch were so busy. We were jumping from partner call to partner call to see how they were using the beta version, which issues occurred and how we could fix them before the launch. The moment you can finally push on the release button is so satisfying. For me, the best thing about developing a product is that you could keep on investing time and energy in it.

Chapter 2: All those great events

If you say, Valo, you might think of events and parties. Of course, Valo is more than only events and parties. Valo is and was a great family for me.

Winning the best intranet award at ESPC 2019
Winning the best intranet award at ESPC 2019

I will never forget the first time going to the Valo Summit in Lisbon. The first time to meet partners, the first time to pitch the product. We had a fantastic time there, not only because of the tremendous Gin bar we found but also because of all people.

Best Gin bar in Lisbon
Best Gin bar in Lisbon

The marketing team always did a great job of organizing these events. Kudos to that! I once said the following:

Marketing is like a virus. If you correctly expose it, it spreads quickly.
Marketing is like a virus. If you correctly expose it, it spreads quickly.

I said these words before COVID-19 times.

Teams message form Tiina
Teams message form Tiina

Chapter 3: Stickers

My passion for stickers did not start at Valo, but designing them increased enormously. In 2018, I wanted to create a sticker for Valo that people would like to stick on their laptops.

After some brainstorming with marketing, Tiina Manninen said the following words:

Brickheadz sticker idea
Brickheadz sticker idea

That resulted in:

Brickheadz drawing
Brickheadz drawing

The final sticker looked terrific:

Brickheadz sticker result
Brickheadz sticker result

Chapter 4: The last year at Valo as engineering lead

The last year at Valo, I worked as the engineering lead. This role is something I created myself (also with the help of a person who encouraged me to go for it). At the end of 2019, I saw the need to streamline how our development teams were working. As Valo was growing bigger and bigger and we got more products. We all needed to adopt the same way of working.

The Valo team in Lisbon
The Valo team in Lisbon

Honestly, the last year was a rollercoaster. There were so many things that happened. The first months of 2020 were great, but then came COVID-19. If that was not enough, the father of Valo, Jari Pullinen, passed away. This moment was a big emotional time at Valo. Luckily we managed to get stability.

Afterword: Thanks to all colleagues

Thanks to all the colleagues working at Valo. Thanks for the great times we had. I wish each of you a bright future and hope to see you again someday when we are allowed to travel. #ValoFamily #ValoLove

The Valo team in Barcelona
The Valo team in Barcelona

Upcoming: Time for a new challenge

By the end of 2020, I thought it was time for a new challenge. That is why I stopped my current contract at Valo. Soon I can tell you more.

Me dreaming
Me dreaming

For now, I want to end it with huge thanks to Valo for all the great memories and opportunities.

The Polaroid pictures that were hanging in the Helsinki office
The Polaroid pictures that were hanging in the Helsinki office

Funny fact This is what happens if you give me a camera at a Christmas party.

Now it is time that I sign out.

Signing out from Microsoft Teams
Signing out from Microsoft Teams

Elio

PS: you can still hire me as a meeting entertainer.

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