Team Spotlight: Valtýr Örn Kjartansson

Valtýr or Valli, affectionately known as Valtarinn in the Reykjavik HQ (Icelandic for The Steam Roller, which only makes sense because it sounds similar to Valli, and is funny) is spending the summer of 2020 working on the logged-out Developer Experience for Avo. He is still at university, but we were lucky enough to have him work on our Docs and other exciting ways to try Avo before committing to our full plan.

Hello Valli! So what does it mean to be Avo's summer employee?

I got brought onboard to make the logged-out developer experience for Avo amazing. My job is essentially to bring our product alive for non-users, and helping them see how Avo fits into their workflow.

I want developers who are looking for a cure for their tracking ailments not just to find our product but to get a sense of how powerful it is and simple to use. One of the keys to this is having extensive guides and docs publicly available on our site, and to do our utmost to inform prospective users about our platform and workflow.

How does a 22-year-old land a job like that?

During my gap year I worked at another Icelandic tech company where, fun fact, I took over Hugi's job after he had left. I'd heard about Avo, liked the product, and was excited about the team. I was also aware of the QuizUp connection which I thought was cool.

They'd also heard about me through these overlapping connections, so this summer when I was looking for a job I decided to get in touch with them to see if they had something for me. As luck would have it, Avo was looking into getting someone onboard to work on the product's logged out experience. It just worked out perfectly.

What makes you excited about the problem Avo is solving?

While I haven't worked on very data driven projects before, and therefore haven't had to deal with convoluted taxonomies, I very much appreciate consistency in a codebase. There are few things that are more frustrating than starting a new job, ready to dive in and start being productive, only to realize you have to spend the next three months getting to know the nuances of the product's source code. It's a stone cold fact that a lot of productivity is wasted on working around problems that shouldn't have existed in the first place, interrupting other team members to ask for information, or heaven forbid trying to actually refactor and solve said problems.

Avo offers a solution to this exact problem in the case of tracking code. We help teams root out the evil hiding away in the darkest corners of their codebases, and offer an antidote. A self documenting single source of truth, and a platform that facilitates and promotes frictionless collaboration. There's no more hoping your team follows your product's tracking standards, Avo enforces them!

What I'd found in the past was that it was so hard to trust that there is a standard and even if it exists, that it is adequately communicated to the right stakeholders. What I've loved about using Avo is that you're being prompted to give the right context at the right time, every time.

It makes all the difference in the world.

What I think is special about our company is that we use the product that we create every day. Even as I work on its documentation I have Avo by my side to help me set up the events I want to collect. Honestly I was totally surprised by the difference using a tool like this made. I didn't have to hack around bad analytics SDKs and build my own tooling. It just works. The TypeScript code generation deserves a mention as well. Holy cow! It's amazing that my editor presents me with an error if my tracking data is malformed.

What motivates you?

I get the most satisfaction out of solving a problem with heavy restrictions. Whether it's using public network data from my university to create a find-my-friends app, writing applications for obsolete platforms or getting code to run somewhere where it absolutely shouldn't, this sense of working within the box is what unifies most of my side projects. In my work I'm also greatly motivated when the projects I work on make people's lives easier without getting in the way of what they're already doing.

What's one thing most people don't know about you?

I was once a part of a synthpop duo here in Iceland. We applied for a couple festivals but we actually didn't have enough material to fill a setlist 😂

So that's Valli everyone! In summary:

Name: Valtýr Örn Kjartansson, also known as Valli
From: Reykjavík, Iceland but grew up in NYC and moving soon to Copenhagen
Interests: Music, cooking, intuitive UX, electronics projects and video games
Favorite dessert: Lemon meringue pie
Album currently on repeat: KiCk i by ArcaBook
Find my work on my personal website.

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