Not a Goodbye: trivago Culture
It’s been a week today since my last day at trivago. Beginning this week on Monday morning when I poured the mocha-pot, it was indeed a weird feeling to not have the invitation for the daily team stand-up! Since then I have been preparing this blog (which has gone much longer than I thought) in-between innumerable moving boxes sealing my apartment for the move!
With mixed emotions, I had announced ~4-months ago to my dear trivago team that I’ve decided to take up a new challenge outside trivago as a next step in my career, and hopefully, I’ll be able to use my skill-sets and learnings to keep bringing value to the eco-system.
Although the new challenge excites me a lot, I’ve been filled with nostalgia for having to leave the unique culture of trivago with such an insane vibe. Today when I look back, trivago has given me the opportunity to not only push my technical skills but also grow as a person. The leadership skills that I have gained, have helped me evolve my personality to a large extent even outside work.
Being involved in different teams, mentorships, trainings, conferences, culture, tech, academies, sports, parties, and on-tours, I’ve had the chance to build strong relationships with colleagues and friends that I will cherish for a very long time.
Kick-starting life at trivago
My on-boarding was 3 years, 2 months, 10 days ago. At one moment it feels like a decade, and at another, it just feels like just yesterday. We were ~30 people from ~15 nations who onboarded into the different disciplines of the trivago family.
Since then it’s been a roller-coaster. I’ve had the chance to experience some unique culture. It’s not everywhere that company values are not just hanging words on a poster but actually lived every moment.
I transition multiple teams during these ~13 quarters of my time in trivago to work on projects related to hotel image classification and concept scoring, accommodation image quality scoring, and contextualized gallery sorting, migration of big data from on-premise infrastructure to AWS, and natural language generation for synthetic summarization of hotel reviews. Writing tech-blog has also been a part, such as the Machine Learning and Bathtubs – How Small Visual Changes Improve User Experience. Culture being super crucial, the tech eco-system in trivago is also unique!
My work responsibilities over the years evolved into empowering, and mentoring talents from different disciplines in trivago, driving technical initiatives with product owners, and working backward from the user-value, bridging the gap between engineering & data-science in cross-functional teams, research, modeling, and evaluation of deep learning algorithms, developing in-house tools and libraries for data analysis and pattern recognition, developing and maintaining AWS ETL architecture pipelines and ML services, and a lot of authenticity and fanatic learning!
But most importantly, we celebrated every moment possible.
Fuck-up Fridays were always a part when we failed quickly and learned quickly to not repeat but create new mistakes.
Academies and Sports
Healthy work-life balance is something that trivago strives to achieve in every possible way with academies, vitamin sessions, german classes gym and fitness, and regular varied sports spread across all over the city!
Annual Celebrations: On-tours and parties!
Celebrations are an integral part of the culture that I’ve been a part of so far. Apart from the regular trivago-Fridays and team events, what stays consistent are the February Update Party, June Family Summer Party, On-tour Trip, and December Christmas Party!
I feel lucky to have been a part of an organization that has reached the peak of office culture!
The most awaited yearly event would be the on-tour when trivago takes the entire company (800-1200 international talents from more than 60 different countries) for 4-days of managed-vacation to a “surprise” destination in Europe. It’s a time you connect with your colleagues, relax, party, and feel almost like back in kindergarten not having to plan anything but only experience! I have had the chance to be in three of them so far before the pandemic hit us:
- Holy Ship! trivago On-tour ’17!
- Glamping at the private Music Festival!
- trivago-village: Alps | On-tour ’19 throwback!
Experience academy is inspired by the core value of fanatic learning, which aims to enable you to face unique experiences, in unique places.
One needs to be lucky enough to get into the gang of usually 10-15 adventurous fellows who get to attend the event! I have had the chance to be in one of the climbing academies at Elbsandstein, that’s been a life-changing experience beyond the adrenaline rush!
Beyond Amsterdam Business Trips
Working closely with our team in Amsterdam, we visited the happening city often before the office had to be closed down due to the pandemic. During these business trips, I’m glad to have used the opportunity to meet such amazing people and have incredible experiences beyond work in Amsterdam!
Working from trivago Mallorca
It’s a common practice for trivago talents to be able to work from another office for a couple of weeks every year without a business reason. The concept lies in the fact of meeting new people at work, strengthening trust and collaborations, and of-course learning more about experiencing location-specific office culture!
And having a vibrant office by the Palma beaches in Spain is always super lucrative: Hola Mallorca!
Friends: Beyond Sprints and Colleagues!
I have had more friends at trivago than colleagues. I love exploring history, culture, and cuisine. trivago has a unique composition of talents from ~90 different nationalities. Every single conversation that sparks fanatic learning has been a motivation to take a leap forward and try something new.
Family at trivago!
Tech-community: Beyond sprints!
Beyond my daily work, I enjoyed helping trivago with tech-branding, public speaking, organizing the independent monthly Dusseldorf Data Science meet-up, taking part in Hackathons, and mentoring interns.
I have had the chance to attend prestigious machine learning conferences in different parts of the world, pursuing personal machine learning projects that can make a social impact, organizing TedX event, writing tech-blogs, and most importantly, to keep learning.
I was even encouraged to continue working for a Covid19-detection startup beyond my time by featuring me at: Beyond trivago Tech Pt.1: Side-Projects from Our Developers
Sustaining during the 2020 pandemic!
The world has changed a lot over 2020. We fought hard being in the travel industry, not only to keep up the business but also to sustain the culture in the remote-world.
trivago on-tour was replaced with one week of paid holiday! In the words of CEO in 2020, “In Q2 we have moved mountains, despite the unprecedented challenges we were facing. Let’s use the trivacation to get some rest, spend time with family, recharge, and to help us continue shaping the recovery of travel in the months to come.
Farewell: Not a goodbye!
Although the pandemic didn’t allow me to have the trivago-style farewell up the terrace, I was at least lucky to have some of the colleagues in-person to enjoy the last evening together after remote-calling some more!
Given how much Life at trivago offers beyond the 40hrs work environment, it’s normal to be asked often: Do you at-all “work” at trivago? I would say that’s the beauty of it of how much we contribute to the travel & tech eco-system when every individual contributor considers trivago to be their very own product!
Joining trivago has been an incredible life-changing experience. No wonder I would be carrying a piece of trivago culture everywhere I go henceforth. So not a goodbye!
– a proud trivago alumni!