Working at Mollom!

published on July 25, 2008

As some of you may already know, I’m working for Mollom now (summer position).
The reasons for that should be obvious:

  • It’s Drupal work.
  • I get to work with Dries. No explanation needed here I think.
  • I get to work with Ben. Don’t know him? Remember this: he’s really smart and that shows in his machine learning skills and research (he’s got a Ph.D. in that field). He made Mollom’s algorithms outstanding.

So why I was I hired, without even having an interview?
Well, because certifications don’t say much about a person’s real skills. They only indicate a base level. Even college/university diplomas are becoming less valuable. It’s your real experience that matters. And you can see my real experience in my profile. You can tell that I have a lot Drupal experience, and you can find out the quality of my work by looking in my projects’ issue queues and the accompanying code.
That’s what really matters.

From day 2, I’ve be doing daily calls with Dries, and sometimes with Ben too. I really like this way of working, and actually I wouldn’t have taken the job if I couldn’t do it this way: there’s nothing I hate more than losing time because of transportation.
If I have to travel more than one hour per day, I get annoyed. More than 2 hours and I’ll just quit.

The first day had both crazy (the morning) and cool times (the rest of the day). So I jotted down what happened that day. To read it, continue after the break.

6:30. Time to wake up and get ready!

6:45. Check train one last time; it’s supposed to arrive at 8:59. But … it’s now arriving at 9:10? Argh! Die, NMBS, DIE!
Alternative train leaves at 7:22 instead of 7:43. How to get there in time? Our car is dead (back axis is broken) at the moment, so I ask the neighbour (who was going to drive me to the railway station) if he can leave 20 minutes earlier.
He can. Phew!

6:55. Prepare really fast.

7:00. Jump in the neighbour’s car!

7:15. Find out from which platform I’m leaving. Simultaneously, I walk into a school buddy (hi Bram!) who’s apparently going on a trip with his family to Amsterdam.

7:18. Yes, I made it!

7:19. Bram arrives at the same platform, seems he’s taking the same train!

8:22. Arrival at Berchem station. Bram’s passing through Antwerp-Central to go to Amsterdam.

8:25. Call Dries because I’m not sure I’ll find him. “Which car should I look for?”, I ask. “Don’t look for a car, I’m the one who’s waving like a maniac!*” (ok the “maniac” part is a lie, but now you just imagined Dries waving maniacally and that’s worth the lie :D). And so I found him! :P

8:35. We’re at Dries’ place and I get to meet Karlijn and Axl (his wife and son). Axl doesn’t feel like shaking my hand, but then again, he’s only 10 months old :). Next year better, and maybe bring something delicious to win him over?

8:45. Dries welcomes me in his home office and starts explaining the most important aspects of Mollom. From server monitoring, what the Drupal module does (and should/will do), the usage statistics in the back-end, the server setup, what the payment system (fully automated using using PayPal subscriptions, which are by the way stupidly limited in that you can’t let PayPal charge VAT on recurring payments, while you can on single payments…) that I’ll have to write is supposed to do and so on.

9:55. I’ve got a good grasp of what I’m supposed to do and start making an initial plan. Dries is doing conference calls. Discuss some points of interest in between calls.

12:00. Lunch. We leave to grab something to eat a couple streets further. Over lunch we discuss my initial plan, based on what Dries told me that should happen. He thinks it’s mostly good, so that’s a great start :). I’ll start working on the payment system first. What I’ll do next depends on how the circumstances will evolve.
And … everything I write must have full testing coverage.

13:00. We discuss some Drupal trends. Interesting to discuss these with the Drupal creator, who obviously has a much better overall sight on these things!
Learn how to write tests. I haven’t written a single test before. Doesn’t look too hard, mostly thanks to the good introductions.

14:15. I leave to catch the train home, I’ll be continuing my work from there.

17:30. Home. Finally! Stupid bus system… Die, De Lijn, DIE!


Rob Loach's picture

Rob Loach

Awesome work, Wim! Really looking forward to seeing some crazy Javascript going into Mollom! I’ve been missing out on the crazy UI enhancements lately because I’m not working directly with designers anymore :-( .

EclipseGc's picture

That’s totally fantastic Wim! I hope it goes awesome, and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Congrats on the new Job, and I’m sure we’ll all benefit from your hard work in one way or another. :-D

jpoesen's picture

Excellent addition to the Mollom team! Can’t wait to find out what you’ll be cooking up…

Roel De Meester's picture

That’s indeed a wonderful opportunity Wim.
And I follow you on the saying that certifications don’t matter that much nowadays. I did get some java certifications when i first started doing development. More as a proof for myself being an autodidact IT-guy than as CV update. In all those years I never had one client asking for my certification. And to be honest. i don’t remember asking for some-one’s certification level either. In the web-business: Most relevant info can be found on linkedin, user-profile pages and by following a user’s blog. Good luck!