A Decade With eazyBI: Meet Jānis Vītums
Two years ago, eazyBI celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Jānis Vītums, the first employee who joined eazyBI founder Raimonds, recently marked his 10th year at the company.
In 2013, Jānis, a full stack Ruby on Rails developer, switched his career from a large IT corporation to work in the then one-man company—eazyBI.
The main benefit of this change was the opportunity for remote work that Jānis was actively looking for. Remote work was not so self-evident then as it is now, after the pandemic. In the beginning, together with Raimonds, they did everything themselves: wrote code, tested the product, and supported customers.
Since this summer, Jānis has taken on a new challenge. Being a developer for decades, he now works as a full-time eazyBI technical support, where his product knowledge, experience, and empathy are priceless.
Jānis during the eazyBI adventures in 2021 and 2023. He loves outdoor activities—cycling, kayaking— and often involves colleagues in them
While he enjoys working from home, cultural fit with the company’s values is the main reason why he is still here—no bullshit, open communication, and transparency. Actually, Jānis himself is a part of eazyBI culture and a lot of things we now consider as a norm were invented (or strongly backed) by him.
Developers rotation in customer support. When the eazyBI team grew, the need for all developers to participate in regular customer support decreased. To stay in line with customers, Jānis encouraged the “all hands support” approach and suggested regular 2-week-long developer shifts in eazyBI customer support (idea inspired by 37signals). While not all developers are as enthusiastic about the support shifts as Jānis, this habit has become integral to our work routine. Now that Jānis has entirely switched to technical support, the regular support shifts for developers are shorter; it seems to be a win-win solution for customers and some programmers.
Jānis (in the middle) supporting eazyBI customers during eazyBI Community Days 2023 in Riga
Active knowledge-share. During the team retrospective, several colleagues mentioned that they eagerly awaited Jānis's insights from Uncle Bob’s book “Clean Code” during the weekly developer meetings, as it always led to great discussions. Jānis advocates for going to conferences, challenging ideas, and teaching and mentoring as an essential part of the profession. A few years ago, he was one of the first eazyBI volunteers (as a part of the Pledge 1% foundation) in the Learn IT community to teach programming skills to Latvian school teachers; today, other developers are also participating in this program. Jānis is taking it further by being a part of the Riga TechGirls mentorship program.
Jānis at the StartIT teacher mentoring program in 2020
MDX formula editor auto-complete function. As Jānis was active in customer support, he noticed how embarrassing and error-prone it was to write custom calculation formulas. Spelling typos and remembering exact measure names to use in formulas was a pain for customers and also for his support colleagues. While the backlog was crowded with potential features at the time, during the internal hackathon, he (together with another developer, Jānis Justaments) built and demonstrated the first prototype of an improved editor, and soon, nobody could imagine how we even survived without the auto-complete!
eazyBI morning 5k runs started when only Jānis and Raimonds were in eazyBI. Now we do various morning activities—run, walk, do yoga or gym sessions—whenever we are together in Latvia or abroad. We even invite our customers to join our morning run during eazyBI Community Days!
Jānis with the eazyBI team after running 5k in the Riga Marathon in 2019. On the same day, he had already completed 21k, which is why he got two medals
The phrase “Be the change you seek” is the one we know Jānis by, and sometimes, it may sound nagging. However, we know that Jānis always is the first to follow this rule.
Jānis during eazyBI Community Days 2023 in Riga