Mikko Levonmaa
07.03.2018 · Mikko Levonmaa

Just CTO it – 1. Intro

This is the first in a series of posts that will try to shed light on my weekly wins and losses. I'll also tell more about how we work and how we operate as a company.

I was sitting in the sauna a couple of days back. My three kids were playing with water and throwing it around like there was no tomorrow. Instead of the usual “calm downs” and “please stop throwing water in you brother’s eyes” I did something different. I let them play and allowed my mind to wonder. The thought of writing something down started to make sense. I began thinking about topics I could chat about, be it technology, my role as the CTO of a startup consulting company or my daily work (“ATK”, as many Finns call it). For the life of me I cannot figure out why I had that moment of clarity right there, right then, but I decided to go with the flow and trust my gut instinct. I know that this will at least make Antti and Niina happy as they have been gunning me to write something for our company blog.

I suppose it would only be fair to tell a bit about myself in order for some of the ramblings in the future to make, hopefully, more sense.

What makes me tick

I’ve always been an engineer at heart. As long as I remember, I’ve had a burning desire to design, build and craft something with my hands. As a kid I used to carve ninja throwing stars with an angle grinder out of metal, build a unicycle from my worn out BMX bike, lay out fiberglass and resin to create my own bow or even sew my own skydiving pants; the list is endless. One of the most important things that shaped my thinking were my mom and dad, who had the courage and mindset to allow me to do all these experiments.

One moment has especially stood out for me. I remember asking my father if I could build a spaceship. My father replied, without any hesitation: “Yes, of course you can!” He went on to explain his answer a bit more, so that I would understand that it wouldn’t be an easy feat. He stressed the fact that it would require a lot from me. I would need to learn a ton of new things and put in a lot of hard work. To me this is what engineering is all about; willingness to learn, having the tenacity to not back down and most of all to believe in yourself and the team around you.

Having started to write code back in the late 80s and then eventually getting paid for it in the late 90s, I’ve had the opportunity to design systems and write code ranging from old mainframes, embedded systems, bootloaders, graphics drivers, window managers, mobile apps and smart TVs to new age web services. Like the tinkerings when I was a kid, the list is fairly long as well. And, unlikely for a Finn and an engineer, I am not ashamed to say that I’m pretty damn proud of it.

What can you expect from this series of posts

In the next posts I will focus a bit less on me and more on topics that might actually be of interest to you. For example how do we at Bitfactor respond to customer RFIs and RFQs, how we maintain and develop our technical expertise. What we value when recruiting. What is our technology stack and portfolio. On occasion, I’ll also ponder the simpler things like “why is this so damn hard”.

If you made it this far, a sincere thank you and stay tuned for more blog posts.


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