Mareike Schlegel

08. September 2022

Three question to … Caleb Lucas

We welcome Caleb Lucas to collectAI, joining the team as a Senior Software Engineer. Caleb has previously worked as a developer in Germany and Nigeria, where he founded his own tech startup in 2019. As a result, he not only brings significant experience in software development, but also enriches his team with learned innovative ways of thinking and working.

In this interview, Caleb will tell us about how he views his role and why he chose collectAI.

You are a Senior Software Engineer at collectAI. Artificial intelligence plays a big role at our company. What personal experience have you had with artificial intelligence?

AI is embedded, almost by default, in my daily activities. From a simple google search when I’m confused about a topic, to asking Alexa to play me a song when I’m bored, or even my apple watch tracking my pulse during an exercise, I get to enjoy the positive impact of today’s fast advancing AI use. 

Recently, being able to use GitHub’s CoPilot in my IDE has even further embedded AI into my daily programming activities. Although not perfect, it has definitely helped me save time through simple syntax suggestions to which I have the power to discard or accept and sometimes, even going as far as providing boilerplate code which I can then modify to suit my specific use case. 

So, seeing that collectAI uses AI to solve dunning problems can only be very much exciting. It being used in our recommendation engines can only further improve customer satisfaction and I’m loving the part I get to play in all of this.

You have already worked as a software engineer in Nigeria and Germany. Where do you see parallels and differences in terms of working methods and corporate culture?

I think the market and economy are definitely the key tone-setters. They shape in numerous ways how companies think about their business model, customer acquisition strategies and product roadmap. The types of technical solutions to be designed and implemented are then expectedly influenced by this roadmap. As an example, it might be a nice-to-have to build an e-commerce app as a PWA in Germany, but a base requirement in Nigeria.

Regarding work culture, I think it generally depends and varies across company sizes, management styles, etc. But generally, and more recently, I’d say the standardization of remote work across both countries – and the world at large – creates a lot more similarities than differences, most especially when you’re part of a team with members spread across the globe but still need to find ways for the team to work together efficiently and bond.

In 2019, you yourself founded a start-up in Nigeria – to what extent does this experience help you in your new role at collectAI? 

First of all, Start-ups are hard. You hear this everywhere but don’t fully understand it until you’re either establishing one or working at one yourself. In spite of the tough path, there are a lot of values ingrained in my DNA from working on one myself that makes me enjoy working in such an environment.

The sense of ownership and responsibility comes first on this list of values. Since joining collectAI, I’ve already been able to identify multiple subjects that I would love to own and take responsibility for; ensuring that they get executed. This, in my opinion, is very satisfying – most especially when the environment is enabling enough.

Another one high on my list is the ability to have a clear understanding of the value being created while also getting the chance to focus squarely on the execution based on prioritization. My experience with doing this in my own start-up makes it relatively easy for me to bring along this same mentality into my team and impact the way we go about solving the problems in our areas of responsibility.

More broadly, I’m a lot better at identifying and embracing risks. Specifically, embracing risks makes it a lot easier for me to take such risks in a calculated way – something I find very important for my role here at collectAI.

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