Back in June we announced that New Relic was opening a new European Development Center in Barcelona, expanding the office we established there with the acquisition of Ducksboard back in 2014. This week our European Development Center officially opens, and to celebrate we sat down with Lead Software Engineer (and original co-founder of Ducksboard) Aitor Guevara to ask him about his background before coming to New Relic, his role on our team in Spain, and what makes Barcelona such a special place to live and work.
New Relic: What’s your background, Aitor, and what were you doing before New Relic?
Aitor Guevara: I’ve been doing Web development for the last 14 years, involved in all levels of the stack: from system and database administration to UI technologies, spending most of my time in backend services. After working for a variety of startups, I started Ducksboard—a Web-based, real-time SaaS monitoring tool—with co-founders Diego Mariño and Jan Urbański.
New Relic: What brought you to New Relic?
Aitor: Ducksboard was acquired by New Relic in October 2014, and the team became part of New Relic’s engineering organization. The technologies developed in house are being used as building blocks in development. I am now working as a lead engineer on the Barcelona team.
New Relic: What kinds of projects are you working on?
Aitor: As a member of the Dashboards team, I’m working on improving New Relic dashboarding capabilities using the technologies and expertise gained during my Ducksboard days. A big part of what I’m doing right now is developing what we see as new charting technologies.
New Relic: What’s your favorite part of working at New Relic?
Aitor: Scale and resources. As a small startup, Ducksboard didn’t really pose a big challenge when it came to scalability. New Relic, on the other hand, handles humongous amounts of data, which is an extremely exciting challenge for an engineer. Being small also meant a lack of resources, and too many times choosing the viable path but not the ideal one. Thanks to New Relic’s larger size, we can now focus on building the best products with more resources.
New Relic: What are some of the challenges of your job, and how have you overcome them?
Aitor: The main challenge we face every day as a remote office is communication. The time difference is challenging (we leave the office when the rest of the team is starting their workday!), and the company is still learning how to handle very remote teams. Thankfully, everyone has been extremely helpful, scheduling meetings early in the day and trying hard to make us feel included. We’re getting better at it!
New Relic: What do you like about the Barcelona tech scene, and how do you feel you are contributing to it?
Aitor: Barcelona’s IT sector is expanding quickly. When we started Ducksboard five years ago, there were way fewer successful tech startups. There are now more and bigger companies here, and the products and services they’re producing can compete everywhere in the world. Companies in the United States are starting to notice this, and Barcelona has become a legitimate location to recruit talented individuals. New Relic’s Barcelona office hopes to contribute to this expansion, combining New Relic’s strong brand with Barcelona’s famous quality of life to attract talent from all over Europe.
New Relic: How you think New Relic is different from other tech companies you’ve worked for?
Aitor: The culture at New Relic is pretty close to the startup culture we had at Ducksboard, but the company is much bigger and serves larger customers. I’ve been impressed by how well the company’s culture has survived such fast growth. Communication is horizontal, and there’s this strong sense of teamwork and working together toward a common goal. I’ve never worked for a company that mixes “small company” culture with “big company” goals so well before.
New Relic: What are your career goals and how is working at New Relic helping you achieve them?
Aitor: Having experienced both working as a company employee and as a startup founder, I must say I’m in love with the startup experience. That being said, I’m still lacking the software industry knowledge I will need to launch successful ventures in the future. I think that New Relic is the ideal place to gain this knowledge: the team has succeeded at building a healthy business and scaling it. There’s a lot to learn here!
New Relic: Is there a person or company in the technology industry that you admire, and why?
Aitor: I’m not really the fan type, but I must confess I’m extremely impressed by Elon Musk and Tesla. Revolutionizing something as big and established as transportation, taking it to the next level, and turning ideas we’ve only thought of as science fiction into reality are amazing achievements. People with self-confidence and talent who can push the boundaries of reality for the rest of us never cease to amaze me.
New Relic: What’s it like to work in a satellite office of an American technology company?
Aitor: American tech companies are different from Spanish ones culturally: engineers are much better regarded, communication is more horizontal, and there’s a stronger feeling of being part of a team. And we get to practice our English!
New Relic: What’s your favorite thing about the city of Barcelona?
Aitor: The food, weather, ocean, mountains, architecture, way of life, the perfect city size, top-notch public transportation, a plethora of services … what’s not to like?
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