Meet Monocl - Henrik Alburg, Data Science Engineer

Hi everyone! My name is Henrik Alburg and I work here at Monocl as a Data Science Engineer. This means that I do most things that have to do with our data platform. Whether it’s collecting data from new sources, working on our core matching processes or making sure that our servers are continually optimized for all of our tasks!

Why did you decide to work for Monocl?

The first thing that struck me was Monocl’s competitive advantage when it comes to data. We can make better use of important data that is publicly available. That’s what really got me interested in the first place.

Then, when I got to meet the team it felt like a really good match. Everyone I met was smart and motivated, yet humble and nice, so it felt like a really fun team to work with!

What do you find to be the best part about working with Monocl?

I think it’s the freedom you get to explore and learn new things. If I have an idea I’m always encouraged to test it out. As a curious individual, this works very well for me. Aside from freedom, the other best part would most definitely be the team. Seeing other people that are motivated and hard working is probably my biggest motivator and makes it more fun to work. It’s easy to thrive in this type of environment.

What is one thing your colleagues would be surprised to know about you?

I’ve tried over a 1000 different beers!

What do you think makes a great work culture?

Everyone getting the freedom and responsibility that they deserve. I love how ideas can come from anyone. The ideas that get implemented are purely dependent on the idea itself and not the person who suggested it.

I also admire how everyone is here because they want to be here, not because they have to. Everything is just a lot easier if you have that mindset!

Henrik has been an outstanding contribution to the Monocl team, and he was also a part of the duo that created our beloved Monocl Bell. See what Henrik had to say about that:

Our CEO, Björn, asked me and my colleague Daniel if it was possible to create a physical bell that rang when our bell emoji was used in Slack. We had been continuously “ringing the bell” in our Gothenburg office after every sale. We were very keen to find a way for our team spread out across the world to also get the opportunity to ring the bell from wherever they were. Until now, they would send the Slack bell emoji to alert the team.

I worked together with Daniel to make this possible. I programmed the Slackbot to recognize the emoji. In parallel, he ordered the hardware after some googling and assembled the pieces together. After getting a power outlet properly installed, we are proud to say the bell is up and running!

How did you come up with this solution?

We wanted something that we could control and that could also connect to a motor. Raspberry PI seemed like a cheap and good alternative. We already have several integrations to Slack from our software platform, mainly for monitoring, so integrating with Slack felt natural.

After looking at different small motors and different arms to get some torque we thought it looked possible, so we ordered everything.

How many tries did it take to work?

It worked the first time we tried to use it, although we intended for the arm to hit the bell at first. Later we changed it so that the arm would pull the rope to ring the bell, which gave a better sound.

The thing that took various tries was connecting the motor to the PI. We didn’t really have all the cables needed when we first got the motor, so the first time we got it to work we used a VGA-cable in the middle, which actually worked!

What would you recommend to others wanting to create this?

There are lots of guides for connecting hardware to Raspberry PI online, so use those! A tip we have for those who would like to do this is to keep in mind that this type of robotic equipment may have unusual threading in the screw holes. Don’t expect to find the nuts and hex screws in the general hardware store! You have to do some digging.