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#Joppyinterview. Getting to know Lluís Inglès, ex-CTO of Exoticca

In our journey through recruitment tech, we have come across many interesting profiles. Pure developers, system engineers, recruiters with an interest in changing the hiring process… Today, we delve deeper into the world of a CTO like Lluís Inglès.

Lluís Inglès is a highly motivated and dynamic CTO. His passion lies in building teams and technology for large-scale companies, improving operational efficiency, and shaping the culture to align with strategic initiatives and organizational goals. He started in the industry as a developer and spent over 11 years working with various technologies. Additionally, he has been leading tech teams since 2012. From 2019, he served as a CTO at Exoticca, a leading travel package company, before making the leap into the freelance world.

Hi Lluís, let’s get straight to the point. How did your professional career begin?

I have always been a self-taught and curious person when it comes to the web. It probably started to interest me because we were fortunate to have internet access at home, which was not as common at that time. I’m talking about the Compuserve era in the 90s with a 14k modem. Websites were starting to emerge where you could create your own web space (GeoCities), and later Flash came along, where I started monetizing my first projects with that software. In fact, I spent years with Flash, but I was more drawn to ActionScript than the UI of the program. Then I encountered the challenge of saving the state of forms or information generated by Flash, which led me to dive into PHP, where I dedicated a significant part of my professional career.

I have always been a self-taught and curious person when it comes to the web.

It seems like you dedicated a lot of time to complex topics for those years. How did you learn about all the tech-related things that interested you?

I never ventured into the world of university, probably because I started in the tech work field at a young age and saw a sea of opportunities and constant learning ahead.

In my case, it wasn’t something planned or premeditated; it was something I found myself comfortable doing. I remember when I was offered my first opportunity as a project lead, I started to get hooked, and that’s when I began to educate myself, especially by reading articles and books.

When did you start leading teams and projects?

My first opportunity as a project lead was at Groupalia. I have very fond memories because they entrusted me with the responsibility of a project and leading a small team of three people. We had to present to stakeholders, negotiate delivery dates, deal with last-minute changes, and so on. This opportunity came after about 10 years as a programmer working in different companies.

The next stage as a lead I owe to my great school, Trovit. There, I learned not only cutting-edge technologies at the time but also methodologies like OKRs and a flat organization structure with about 100 employees. They gave me the opportunity to be the Tech Lead of the web team, transitioning from being a developer on the team to being promoted and leading a team of 10 people. I will always be grateful to my colleagues who supported me from day one, providing support for all the decisions.

After those three years at Trovit, I had the opportunity to be a CTO at a small startup called Social&Beyond, where I was able to see many aspects of a company and even train myself in communication among executives.

And finally, you ended up at Exoticca. How would you summarize your time at this company?

In January 2019, I joined Exoticca as CTO, where I spent 4 intense and enjoyable years. I was fortunate to have a very professional C-level team from whom I learned a lot, and I also had exposure to the Board, something new for me that still gives me vertigo, and I am eager to keep learning. Obviously, the tech team we built there is spectacular.

What exactly does a CTO do at Exoticca?

I will answer this question in the article I wrote about the role of a CTO in general. Specifically, at Exoticca, I worked in a hyper-growth environment where we set ourselves billing challenges that doubled each year. This forced us to be dynamic and constantly pivot. One of the key aspects is being able to transmit this culture to the teams.

Could you tell us a bit more about your day-to-day at Exoticca? For example, what tech stack was used?

At Exoticca, we had a clear goal of avoiding complexity with different languages and even designing similar architectures across different services to promote compatibility. The stack primarily consisted of PHP, JavaScript, and Python. In the web environments, we used PHP with a MySQL database, the air availability service in Node.js with TypeScript, another web service in Node.js and TypeScript. The web front-end was built with React and Next.js. Everything was hosted on AWS in the North Virginia region, managed with Terraform and Ansible. We had caching layers with Varnish, Redis, and the AWS CDN.

And currently, you have entered the world of freelance. What led you to take this step?

Exoticca has been and will always be a part of me. I had a great time during my 4 years as CTO. Each year was truly eventful, fun, and also stressful. We saw the tech team grow from 4 developers to 60, doubling our revenue every year, expanding into new markets, and targeting B2B, among other challenges.

I had a good relationship with my management colleagues and the tech teams, as well as other departments within the company. However, there comes a point where it becomes challenging to know everyone when the company grows so much (300 employees), and therefore, the relationship is no longer as personal. Even project execution becomes less dynamic when you have so many people and need middle management, which can lead to a certain level of anxiety when you recall the moments.

Exoticca has been and will always be a part of me. I had a great time during my 4 years as CTO.

Sometimes it’s difficult to make certain decisions, and in my case, I was clear that at some point in my professional life, I wanted to make the leap into the freelance world. I have been in the industry for many years, and I believe I have a sufficient network of contacts to secure my first clients.

What are your upcoming challenges as a freelancer?

Currently, I work as a tech advisor for clients in different sectors. I enjoy helping them resolve friction in project definition and execution, assembling teams, implementing methodologies, and providing guidance in defining architectures and infrastructure.

You can learn more about Lluís by contacting him on LinkedIn or visiting his website. In Joppy, we will closely follow the steps of this CTO because he will surely make a lot of noise. Good luck on your journey, Lluís, you’re on the right side of the code!

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