Max Mustermann🏏

Max Mustermann
Rongjian Lan
February 14, 2022

Max joined Harmony as a Blockchain Protocol Engineer after working for them through Gitcoin Bounties in 2021 and early 2022. He entered the cryptocurrency space after spending 4 years in TradFi for a major global bank. Max holds a degree in engineering.

In his free time, Max loves to hit the gym, contribute to FOSS projects and tinker with his home server.

April 2022 Deliverables:

March 2022 Deliverables:

Cultural Self Assessment - Max Mustermann

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Self Assessment
Personal Story
8 - I believe in letting people speak for themselves and sharing what I can. This helps foster a sense of belonging, a culture that outlives any and all team changes.
At my former workplace, I was leading a team that consisted of some people who were not comfortable with English. They resorted to speaking in their mother tongue, a language the rest of us could not understand. Through a little coaxing and team building exercises we understood their concerns out in the open and we were able to resolve them.
6 - This is something that I need to work towards.
In college, I was working with a small team to start a very small business. I didn’t believe in the overall idea as much as I should have - because I believed that it would not be something anyone would want. Some quick market research through a small focus group proved me wrong quickly.
9 - I always know what is going in with me emotionally and physically, and I am quick to explain what’s in my head when prompted.
Mindfulness has been an extreme game changer for me since I started working. When you are craving food, drink, a soda, or a hug - mindfulness lets you check out of your brain and identify why.
9 - Ever ready for spending some time with new people over drinks or coffee :)
It’s always easy to (re)connect with someone over drink(s). I’ve turned many acquaintances to friends by just hanging out and sticking around with them at work events, bars, or parties.
5 - I prefer working alone because it’s easier to think, and quicker. Of course, the situation is different in a team.
It’s easier to study in a group than study alone. Conversely, though, it’s easier to zone into productive mode and smash your targets.
9 - I have had a lot of fun leading my old team at work
A former team member / junior had a lot of trouble catching up with the team but a few hands-on sessions with Python and Selenium got us up and running.
9 - Teams that gel well, build well.
Continuing the above story, the same team member was assigned as the project lead for a big client thanks to the feedback on the prior project.
10 - There is no doubt in my mind that processes are always secondary to people.
In college, my teammates and I were interviewing a large set of people for a specific club. To narrow down the list, we had to run a few elimination exercises. One person, in particular, was not able to solve them. However, we had known his work beforehand and decided to interview him anyway. Amongst the people selected then, he was easily the best addition to our team.
9 - I have never been a fan of authority :)
When I was interviewing for my first full-time role (at a sort of a job fair), a guy walked in. He had not been shortlisted, however, he had the guts to walk in and (politely) ask for an interview. We ended up being colleagues for a long while, and the rest, as they say, is history.
8 - All decisions have life-long consequences and it is absolutely imperative to consider all the possibilities.
My initial submission for the staking precompile bounty was missing a test that became obvious once I built a staking derivative on it.
7 - While details are definitely a major chunk of the picture, it is important to move fast and break things for progress.
I have been on both sides of this conundrum - as an employee where a small error in the chart was spotted by my manager, and as a manager where the quest for perfection doesn’t end.
6 - I prefer to be calculated in taking risks. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Quitting my job to work full time for web3 is a risk I took, which has paid dividends. Conversely, it is easy to argue that I have taken the well trodden path in my career (from my country’s perspective)
9 - The mission is the team’s, not the founders’, not the investors’. It’s ours.
We’re all here to build a good product and a good ecosystem.
8 - Diving into the unknown comes easily to me, but I won’t say that it doesn’t make me anxious.
Back in college, my friends and I were working to build a delivery service (this was before any of them were popular). We knew exactly nothing, yet our business lived on our funds for over a month.
8 - I prefer to build with a long-term perspective, and my dream is to build something that can outlast me.
Nakamato-san has outlined my dream perfectly - build something that can change the world, and let the world take it over.
9 - I say what I mean and I mean what I say. The same applies for things I do.
Maintaining healthy boundaries is not negotiable. It always makes sense to be precise and to practice what you preach.
8 - I grew up pretty indecisive but working with my friends over the past eight months to build something (although it was later shelved) has made make decisions a practice.
There is a question that is rumored to have been asked in an interview, “What do you have none of, if you just have one of it?” The answer is choice. I have learnt, to my detriment, that making choices on time is the only option. Analysis paralysis leads to opportunities being squandered away.
7 - This is something I am working towards.
As a developer, it’s easy to want to push things out ASAP - especially when production processes need an immediate fix. That, however, makes it easy to make mistakes.
8 - It’s always good to recognize that you have areas of improvement, but you must not underestimate yourself.
Out of the 4 years I spent at my previous workplace, I was rated as a top performer during each review period. In fact, one of those years was exceptionally well with a performance review that has never been since or before.
5 - As a “ninja coder” (as RJ put it) I have always preferred to roll my own tools which get the job done. Working in a formal development environment is bound to change that.
I’ve always been into automation, and while my first job was not about automation - I picked it up within 3 months of starting work. The task was extremely repetitive and I felt I should create my own tool to get this done. Now, however, with the team’s extensive access and experience, I plan on using what is available first.
8 - I believe the experience I bring to Harmony from bounties and my prior role in a TradFi bank is valuable.
Outside of rigid boundaries, we learn to use the talent we have available. Delegating some of my work to team members at my prior workplace and trusting that they can complete it led me to understand how people - who at first may not seem suited to a task - can quickly adapt, improvise and overcome.
9 - Every decision, every step, every thought ultimately devolves into an opportunity for growth. Do you face your fears, or do you cower away?
This is a story I often use, because it’s one of my favorites. Working for a social entrepreneurship cause, I carried a 7’ cement pipe over 5 kilometers all by myself just so we could make our demo presentation and sale.
10 - My curiosity and past experience with the Dunning Kruger effect have honed this particular skill.
All moments are teachable moments - especially when you least expect them. My colleagues - whether a college batchmate or someone I worked with professionally - have always shown me something I did not know before. Be it a small Python or Jupyter trick, or (the existence of) a large tool that makes your life easier - everyone knows something you don’t.
8 - Radical solutions, to all problems (simple or complex) can be built.
Clothing used by firemen is coated with melamine to make it flame retardant. However, this makes the clothing extremely uncomfortable and unsuitable for continuous usage. To solve this problem, I devised a method to use a nano-coating of chitosan (a bio-degradable product) on cotton fabric.
7 - I prefer breaking down a problem into simpler tasks and taking them up easiest first.
A simple example in my past for this would be building Harmony’s staking precompile. I started off with CollectRewards, then Delegate / Undelegate, and finally Edit / Create Validator (which were later shelved though).
9 - With my ability to break a task down into its infinitesimal descendants and follow through each of them separately, I believe productivity is enhanced.
At the end of the day, what matters is your output to the final problem. Not the steps.
9 - Chaos is my middle name. Just kidding, I don’t have one.
I have never expected structure anywhere, and I feel structure at most times is restrictive. This is doubly true coming from someone with TradFi experience where installing a simple open-source application took 3 months of approval even though there were no known vulnerabilities.