March 8, 2018 · News

Team Spotlight - Aleš

Grace Cook

We've decided it's about time you get to know a little more about us - the people behind Plecto. You may have seen our faces on our 'meet the team' page or spoken to one of us during a demo or whilst getting some support, but we want you to know a few more details.

We've decided to start a new series called 'Team Spotlight' where we invite each member of the Plecto team to share a little bit about themselves.

Our first profile was Rikke - if you missed that you can check it out here

Second up we have Aleš Kocjančič, Plecto co-founder and VP Engineering.

Ales Kocjancic

1. Where were you born?

I was born in the small coastal town of Koper, Slovenia. It lays in the far southwest of the country, situated along our tiny coastline, stretching a mere 47km. 

Its rich history goes as far back as the Holy Roman Empire and in the 14th century, it grew to be the capital of the region, hence the Italian name Capodistria - head of Istria. Today, it's population is almost entirely Slovene, but part of a bi-lingual region still heavily influenced by Italian culture.

2. How did you end up in Denmark?

In my second year of Computer Science studies, I got the awesome opportunity to be part of the Erasmus exchange program. That meant that I could choose from a number of European locations to go and study in. 

I would spend 6 months abroad, perfecting my craft and learning about the local culture. 

My tutor recommended a remote town in northern Sweden, which he previously chose as his destination. After hearing some of his stories of extreme weather I thought that it would be a bit too cold for me, so I settled for Denmark.

3. What do you miss the most about Slovenia?

All the familiar food brands and proper pizza. Friends and family as well, I suppose.

4. How did you become interested in software development?

I suppose I always felt the urge to figure out how things work. Even as a kid I would disassemble electronics just to look inside. Much to my parents' dismay, I would often have trouble assembling them back again. 

My first programming adventures started in 2005 when I would help my older brother create simple websites for local businesses. I spent many afternoons fiddling around in Dreamweaver, Photoshop and Flash, which was, at the time, the hot new web technology. 

From then on I did some PHP and eventually discovered Python and Django in 2008.

5. How did you and Kristian meet?

We met in 2010 while studying in Denmark where we lived in the same dormitory, sharing a kitchen and living room with 10 other people. We would play Guitar Hero and go to student parties all around the city. 

We later worked together for a couple of years in Zurich.

Ales and Kristian at Plecto
Kristian and Aleš at Plecto HQ

6. What kind of jobs did you have before founding Plecto?

While I was still studying, I had many different summer jobs, like at a shipping company where I helped in day to day operations in a warehouse. The most fun part about it was that I would sometimes be allowed to drive a forklift 😄.

After completing my studies, I shortly worked in Ljubljana doing PHP, but quickly decided that it was not for me as I got an awesome job opportunity at a Django agency in Switzerland. I accepted the offer immediately, moved to Zurich and joined an amazing team of very experienced Django developers. 

I stayed there for about 3 years, during which I learned a ton about software development and worked on some awesome projects, many of which are open-source.

After that, Kristian somehow convinced me to pack my bags again, move to Denmark and start building Plecto. At the time, it was just the two of us. We didn't have many clients or an office for that matter, but it was exciting to finally be working on our own product. It was a big gamble, but I think it paid off big time! 

7. Do you have any funny stories from the early days of Plecto?

When Jesper Buch invested in the company, he invited us to his beautiful house on the coast of Spain, where we stayed for a few days. 

We weren't exactly wealthy, but there we were, in a huge modern mansion with palm trees, a swimming pool and hot tub. 

I remember we signed what must have been 50 pages of documents and once we were all finished, we finally took a break and got a delicious cocktail at a local beach bar. At that moment it really hit me that Plecto will be something big.

Ales and Kristian drinking cocktails
Aleš and Kristian in Spain

8. What are your hobbies and interests?

I enjoy making and consuming good food, discovering unusual music, following online communities, playing video games and I absolutely love snowboarding. 

I sometimes spend my limited free time developing and running a gaming community website and a small mobile puzzle game

My girlfriend insists that I should mention her as well! 😅

9. What’s your favourite film/series?

I love movies like Pulp Fiction (or anything badass from Quentin Tarantino), alternate reality sci-fi flicks like The Matrix, mind-blowing mysteries like Shutter Island or quirky comedies like What We Do In The Shadows

My favorite TV series are light-hearted comedies, like the US version of The Office and The IT Crowd. I spend some of my free time watching YouTube and following live streams as well.

10. What’s your favourite part of working with the development team?

Going into deep hour-long conversations about a specific problem or technology, theory-crafting and coming up with possible solutions. Or when developing a great new feature, writing 300 lines of code uninterrupted, running it for the first time and it working flawlessly.

11. What's your favorite coding language?

Definitely Python. If I'm building a web-app then I always prefer to use Django as the backend and Javascript ES6 with React for the frontend. Database-wise, I see no better choice than Postgres. 

Naturally, these are also all the technologies we use at Plecto 👍.

12. Tabs or spaces?

I prefer tabs, but spaces are fine too. The IDE takes care of that anyway. What I can't understand though, is 2 spaces instead of 4. Yuck. 

13. What’s your favourite drink?

Really expensive wine.

14. What's your favourite GIF?

Ales gif

Stay tuned for our next team spotlight post! In the meantime, why not have a read of some of our other blog posts?