Here at BandLab we take the time to get to know our people. In this series of posts we introduce some of our amazing staff. Meet Laurent. Laurent is our Web Technologies Lead for BandLab. If you are interested in joining our team you can send a CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been with BandLab right from the beginning. I moved to Singapore from South Korea where I’d been working for almost 5 years in a digital agency, leading a team of developers, with a range of responsibilities from web development to hosting architecture, UX research to account management. At the time BandLab was just a great idea — we didn’t even have a proper website yet. In the beginning we were just a few people working in a borrowed office to develop a prototype into a real product. We’ve come a long way since then!
Thinking big from the beginning
My first mission was to decide whether to keep our prototype or start from scratch again. While the original code was in pretty good shape, we decided to start from scratch so the team could have control over our features from the ground up. Our first major tech milestone was choosing the whole technology stack, determining the most appropriate framework and how to organise it. We had a huge vision for BandLab, and knew that in the long term we’d be organising a huge set of information so it was crucial to spend time setting up the framework. The thing that helped us most was that we were thinking big from the beginning; this made sure we got the foundations right first.
Since then we’ve grown massively — about 60 people total, including my team of 7 web developers. We are responsible for web technologies including web APIs and applications — which means we make the websites, blogs, internal tools and a range of web services allowing audio processing and storage, as well as the streaming of our users tracks in the applications!
Our Mix Editor is the most satisfying thing our team has delivered. Everything is totally unique — the architecture is a completely new approach; we are building a completely new type of application, so there isn’t really a “best practice” to follow or be inspired by. It was a real challenge to create proper architecture and code organisation for the hundreds of thousands of lines of code involved.
A shared hunger to stay at the cutting edge
I expect a lot from my team. I need people who can be proactive but who share our coding philosophy and guidelines. My team is plugged into the latest trends and we are always looking to improve our own processes as individuals and as a team. There’s a lot to learn about working optimally in a team and improving yourself as a web developer — we are at the cutting edge of technology and we want to stay there.
When I’m hiring, I want people who are hungry to learn, who are curious about what’s out there; who embrace the whole stack, and appreciate how exciting it is to understand and drive a product from design and development through to deployment. It’s not like we get handed a design and then our job is done. We need to work out how to build, deploy, make it testable, make it secure and create amazing APIs — and how to measure whether it is working well.
You also need to be flexible and embrace the fact that you can’t know everything, but still need to find a working solution — because our users are relying on us to deliver, so that they can record music, collaborate and share their projects.
Making a truly global product
As a developer, I like to collaborate to understand the problems we are solving, and to be involved from the outset, working on the storyboards with designers, building the solution myself. We’ve been focused on building a truly global product that will work for our users no matter which country they are in.
My previous agency experience meant that I had I worked with many kinds of clients — thinking about how to roll out web platforms to a range of countries in Asia. This is not just localising code, but more broadly localising, to consider fonts, payments systems, local hosting systems and graphics localisation. True localisation is an art that requires a strong understanding of your local Internet environment and limitations. You also need to be flexible and embrace the fact that you can’t know everything, but still need to find a working solution — because our users are relying on us to deliver, so that they can record music, collaborate and share their projects.
Making music (for my ears only!)
I love working on a project that empowers musicians. Personally — I play acoustic guitar, mostly pop songs. I like playing Ed Sheeran, Jason Mraz — it’s truly just playing for myself, I’m not a performer. I’m not always great at keeping a consistent tempo (laughs). In the perfect world I’d have more time to play more and get much better — but it’s nice to be able to play no matter what level you’re at.