The first story
If you are reading this, probably you are connected to NearOnes in a way or another. Maybe you are already using our platform, thinking about joining, you are a team member, or an investor.
We are happy for that, and would love to connect even better with you. We believe one of the ways to do that is to open up more, reveal the stories about the people behind NearOnes, the journey, their insights, their motivations for the work they do - anything from casual stories about how they met to important things they learned about people, technology, communities and progress.
We aspire that our young company achieves its mission, connecting people by their simple needs, and these stories become fun footprints of the passage.
This is probably enough intro already, so here goes our first story.
It is a recollection of a day trip to Brussels that the founding team, Toni, Yvonne, Al Amin, Max, made to meet for the first time in person, Safwan, a software developer at NearOnes.
Safwan had started working for NearOnes from Bangladesh 3 months before this day, and in this period he was doing his first journey to Europe, touring at tech conferences. We decided to meet in one of them in Brussels.
Of the four people driving to Brussels from the Netherlands that day, only one, Al Amin, had deep software development knowledge, so for most the tech conference was just an excuse to get to know Safwan.
After failing to park in Brussels a couple of times, we arrived at the Université Libre de Bruxelles slightly late. On entering campus, Max was quick to reflect how him and Toni should have worn hoodies to better fit amongst all the developers in the event.
Safwan and Al Amin, the techies, were passing amongst the different company booths collecting notebook stickers. Yvonne on the meanwhile was trying to balance out getting to know Safwan in person, while following the coders’ attractions.
As we went out on a lunch break, the rest of the team finally got to see a very social and playful side of Safwan, who until then had been mainly shown excitement for coming there to hear the tech speakers.
He started teasing Max, the lawyer, about him having a sort of mysterious role at a tech company – dealing over lawsuits, looking over IP rights, and all those similar kinds of things he had seen on the TV series Silicon Valley.
After hearing more about everyone, he started to share his impressions over his journey. He was particularly confused about how and why in Europe they complicated certain things.
“I was in Berlin and asked a waiter for water. She says what kind of water? I was like just water, how do you mean? We have three kinds of water sir. I was thinking what is this three water thing, water is just water. She says we have sparkling, semi-sparkling and still. I’m thinking this is not making any sense”
As we all went to grab a coffee while chatting, Toni remembered he had had a similar thing when going to the UK as a teenager. Asking for coffee having him back a “confusing question” of which type, and saying just coffee wouldn’t help the conversation any further (back at home the waiters “knew” what to give you). Here meanwhile at the coffee queue in the tech conference, the lawyer, and hence, the more transactional one of the team, was contemplating about structuring another parallel paid queue, where paying would get you on the front.
Finally, we grabbed the cups of coffee and headed towards one of the buildings where our tech talk of interest was about to start soon. Waiting and chatting outside, we got called our attention about three times from the organisers for talking too loudly. That gave us some impression that the talks happening inside must be very engaging and people were taking them very seriously. 10 minutes already into the talk we joined, and we realised it wasn’t exactly so (see pic below), but it wasn’t too bad either.
Eventually after the talk it was time for Safwan to go to the airport and head back to Bangladesh. Everyone hugged, and the rest continued on the road back to the Netherlands.
We started since then contemplating already over the next time we would meet – some cool ideas, until Corona came along, and has been messing with our plans ever since.
This is it for this day, and for this story.
We hope you found it fun, and would love to hear your thoughts about it, and about other things you would like us to share.