Meet our CTO
Harald Walden, our CTO, and one of Qliro’s first ever employees, has been instrumental in making Qliro the success that it is today. A Developer at heart and with years of experience in the tech industry, he has been a solid foundation for Qliro to build upon.
When everyone else is secretly surfing on social media during work, Harald is hiding away the fact that he is coding. Luckily, we were able to drag him away from his computer screen for a brief moment and ask a few questions about his time at Qliro.
A conversation with Harald Walden CTO and Qliro’s first employee.
Employee #0: Qliro
What were you doing before Qliro?
Before starting at Qliro I was working successfully in the gaming industry and had been for many years. I have had positions from being a games engine developer, game producer to Head of Operation, Head of Product and Director of Payments. Touching payments for the later years, which is what made me interested in joining Qliro.
What was the vision for Qliro and what made you join?
I liked the idea that it was a very straightforward sounding business. A startup, but with real economic resources. It was a luxury to also go into a Startup knowing who the customers were likely to be, what they were going to be paying for, and how the company could pay its own way. The “only” challenge was to build a product which was on par or better than the competitors.
At that point, there was no plan of doing anything else than an invoice solution for internal use only. We thought that it would be crazy if we grew into a company of 30, at tops 40 people. That shifted quick and we saw a gap in the market and realized how our business should evolve.
But what tipped me over was the thing about being a part of it from the beginning. Not just setting up the technical foundation and architecture. More about laying the foundation of values and employees. What kind of organization where we going to be.
Since everything was super-secret in the beginning how did your family and friends react?
Well, I had a really great job at a cool gaming company. Let’s just say my wife thought that I was crazy. The rest of my family and friends thought that I was unemployed for the first six secret months. I could not tell anyone what I was doing and people thought that I didn’t want to talk about the fact that I didn’t have a job.
But everything seems like an uncertain bet at the beginning. I was confident that we were on to something great. To start something new you really must believe in it – otherwise, you should not start new businesses.
So, you had a time limit. Did you succeed?
Yes and no. The board gave us 6 months from the day I joined until they wanted a payment solution live – I don’t think they believed in it themselves and unfortunately, we missed the deadline. It took us 6 months and 23 hours until going live with the first merchant.
Any funny limericks?
Hence the super- secrecy, no one could know what we were doing. My first employment contract for Qliro states that I’m employed with Fältåsen förvaltning AB #0.
It was an interesting process to get to choose the real name. We had an agency that put forward a list of over 300 suggestions. 2 of them was literally Groda and Kwack (Frog and Ribbit, frog sound).
Qliro was in fact not even on the initial “short list”.
So, to the question, everyone has been waiting for. Why should I consider joining Qliro?
We are still in a phase where we develop new products from scratch which is obviously very exciting – on top of that we are young enough not to have too much legacy
Other things which, from my perspective, was important when founding a new company is creating a transparent and codetermined organization.
Also, we try to avoid hiring “yes-people”. I strongly believe that the company will be more successful if everyone can speak their minds, have ideas and be able to engage and affect their situation. There is no top-down management.
There is no secret that we are a regulated company but within the regulatory framework, we want our engineers to be as free as possible, and have the courage to try out new things.
You will hopefully notice this quite rapidly, we have high respect for each other. We are a company of diverse identities and backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, social classes, and abilities. We believe in diversity and is all about the people. The people that work here are smart and of high quality. You will never get shamed for doing something wrong or trying your best and not succeeding.
With that being said – you should not only choose a job, also chose your manager. We strive to have those managers at Qliro. This is also very important for me personally (everyone has a boss, even the CTO).
Something that you could be doing better at Qliro?
Celebrate our conquest longer than 4½ minute. We have constantly been building new stuff throughout the last four years (from an underdog perspective). From time to time we should look up and recognize (and celebrate) what we have created!
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