Liftoff Employee Spotlight: Wojciech Kazana, Engineering Team Lead of Machine Learning, Paris
Wojciech joined Liftoff’s small, but growing Paris office in 2018 as part of the Machine Learning (ML) team. When he is not busy leading the ML Paris team through new technology and design implementations, Wojciech devotes most of his time to friends and family with fun entertainment and lively rap recreations of classic poems. He enjoys participating in athletics and never says no to a good game of team sports.
What inspires you to succeed every day?
My biggest inspiration comes from the people around me. I am motivated to give my personal best when I see the passion and enthusiasm of others around me, whether it’s family, friends, or colleagues. It’s very encouraging to have individuals by my side that are so dedicated, and that in turn inspires me to push for personal growth and success every day.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you ended up at Liftoff?
After a few years at a large corporation, I was looking for new opportunities that would allow me to have a bigger impact in a more dynamic environment. I learned about Liftoff’s supportive culture, vision, and the aspirations of the Engineering team and I knew that I had to be a part of this amazing company.
What is your biggest accomplishment at Liftoff?
I am very proud of the increasing responsibilities that I have been given at Liftoff. My initial responsibilities have grown from technical implementations and designs to now braving the new challenge of management as a Team Lead for the ML Paris team. It is very empowering to see the trust and confidence placed on me by my company.
What’s the coolest thing about your job?
The scale. Liftoff is handling millions of bid requests and hundreds of millions of ML predictions per second. The necessary infrastructure to support that is not only maintained but continuously improved by fewer than 50 engineers. It always makes me smile when I reflect on those numbers.
What do you like most about the Liftoff culture?
The Liftoff culture includes remarkably open-minded colleagues who proactively seek team harmony and collaboration. I find that this greatly fosters innovation and long-term success from an individual, team, and company perspective.
What can new members joining the Paris or ML Team expect?
For the new members joining our Paris crew, or any other Liftoff ML team, expect a warm welcome and a lot to learn. The learning curve is very steep, but you will find support from plenty of team members who are here to help you succeed.
Can you share what self-care habits help you be the best version of yourself?
I always try to be honest and set realistic expectations. For example, I occasionally think about becoming a violin virtuoso yet I still haven’t even tried playing the instrument. Because I am aware of how this aspiration will pan out in the long run, this helps me set practicable and reasonable goals for myself. Another self-care habit I strive for is having a healthy mindset when it comes to effort. A lot of times, it is easy for people to sell themselves short. I believe in continuously improving myself – if something is working out great, I think “how can I make this even better?” All these habits together give me a healthy point of view on the world around me and allow me to invest my energy as optimally as I can.
What has been getting you through quarantine so far?
With everyone from our office working from home, I was able to carefully prioritize planning my week so that I can handle both work and my other extra activities like homeschooling. To keep up social interactions with my friends and family, I’ve started doing new challenges on the weekends, like making a rap version of a classical poem.
Are there any books, websites, resources you would recommend for working professionals?
As a software engineer, unfortunately, I do not think there is a single source of information to learn all the knowledge required for this field of work. Besides the web as a whole, of course. However, I am still a loyal fan of StackOverflow as the starting point for technical questions.
What are you currently reading or watching?
As a huge fan of the book series, I most recently finished watching “The Witcher” on Netflix and I have now moved on to “Chernobyl” on HBO. I am also 3/5 done with reading the Game of Thrones saga, all while trying to squeeze in some crime stories from Jo Nesbo.