May we introduce? Jekabs Dzelme!


What is your role in the company and what does it entail?

I am part programmer, part team leader, and as a third component I am the detective who tries to figure out what people really want in terms of functionalities and features in the tools we develop. Often people come to you with a problem or a wish and a very vague, yet oddly specific idea about how to address it. It’s my job to usually tell them first No, sometimes have a small fight and then to suggest a more holistic way to move forward with a feature or solution that fixes not just this particular problem in this particular instance but looks at the bigger picture – other panels and panel providers, or other countries, all in the context of the functionality and the tool. 


What are the challenges and the exciting things about your work?

I love to see a mess and figure out a rational, efficient way to fix it. I could not work on something that is dictated to me by someone else from A to Z, I prefer to tackle problems, investigate possible solutions and imagine future uses and possibilities. That is both the challenge and the fun of the job.


What drives you every day at work?

I am in essence a problem solver, and I also like to abstract things and take the next step forward. I love the feeling of delivering something that has been well thought out so when the client comes back to me a week later and says ‘oh, and another thing’,  I can say ‘well, this is already in there’.


What kind of job would you do, if you were not employed in your current post?

I would do something real, something that is not in the cloud, with my hands. Maybe furniture design and woodwork.


Describe your education and professional path up to now.

I studied PR, something I picked because it seemed like an open-ended choice that allows me to go on to other things, and also something that I felt would help me get better people skills. But both before and after my studies, I somehow always ended up in front of a computer, learning programming languages and building small automations for things that were boring manual tasks. One of my first jobs was in the marketing department of a major retailer in Latvia, and basically, I programmed their entire Customer Loyalty program by myself, by mistake – it was simply a smarter way to do some of the things that were part of my job. Later on, I worked for a newspaper and in the height of the financial crisis I founded my own company – people looked at me as if I was crazy. But it gave me a lot of time to learn programming and I had a lucky break with a project where I resurrected an ageing accounting software that had been on its last legs. I learnt tons during that phase of my career - not least that accountants are crazy people.


What are your hobbies, what do you do in your free time?

I am lucky in that most things I do are my hobbies, there are very few things I hate and frankly those I try to avoid. Lately I would say that my main passion project is a house I am renovating in the middle of a forest outside Riga. It’s was practically a ruin and I have been rebuilding it with my hands.


What do you like in terms of books, movies and music?

I like good music no matter the genre, and can listen to both classical music and death metal - generally I have an ear for good music and I’ve been singing for several years in a choir. In terms of books and movies, I am more drawn to things that are factual and educational – like documentaries, historical accounts. I got a subscription to Audible so any time I am driving somewhere I listen to podcasts about things that interest me.


What natural talent would you like to have?

I am actually ok with my natural talents as they are. Maybe I would add Selective Hearing, to be able to ignore the things that bore me.


Describe your version of an ideal happiness?

Probably that people leave me alone (laughs). Actually, the better way to describe it is I would like to be doing something very much for myself, very calmly and focused, and without being disturbed and distracted by other people’s requirements and opinions.