A stylish debut: Nubank’s new tech podcast invites Vitor Olivier, the company CTO

Find out what happened on the first episode of The Hammock by Building Nu here!

The Hammock by Building Nu

The first episode of The Hammock一Nubank’s new podcast about technology, engineering practices and career development一has just been released. Christian Romney, Director of Engineering at Nubank, interviews Vitor Olivier, Nubank’s Chief Technology Officer.

Olivier talked about being a CTO, Nubank’s technical bets, engineering culture and fluctuating between different roles in his career. The importance of technical competence for Engineering Managers was also another important subject in the conversation, as well as open source, artificial intelligence and his personal challenges for 2023.

You can listen to “The Hammock” on the following channels: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Anchor.

Do you want to know more about The Hammock, its first episode and all the topics mentioned above? Keep reading this article!

Lie back in your hammock and focus your mind 

Imagine a space for engineers to step away from their computers, disconnect from distractions, and focus the mind. . With an emphasis on  emerging topics in technology, software engineering practices, and career development, The Hammock is a podcast covering topics that are important to the software community. By bringing together a team of experts to discuss these topics, The Hammock hopes to provide listeners with valuable insights and perspectives that they can apply in their own work.

Conceived, developed and executed by Nubank, the podcast has a team of engineers behind it: including Filipe Andrade, Lead Software Engineer; Robert Randolph, Engineering Manager; Christian Romney, Director of Engineering; and Jaret Binford, Senior Product Manager.

The name “The Hammock” was inspired by a talk given by Rich Hickey, the creator of Datomic and Clojure一Nubank’s official programming language一in which he highlighted the importance of stepping away from the computer when thinking through difficult problems.. The podcast is meant to be a place where engineers can do just that and explore new ideas while in a relaxed, contemplative frame of mind.

The podcast will release one episode per month in English. With The Hammock, the team podcast also plans to spotlight some of the innovation happening at Nubank.

The importance of Clojure and Datomic in Nubank’s journey

Nubank was founded in 2013 with a mission to revolutionize the banking industry in Latin America. The company has been very successful in achieving this mission, becoming the largest digital bank in the region, with almost 70 million customers. Olivier shared with The Hammock that the company’s success is due in part to its use of cutting-edge technologies, including Clojure and Datomic.

Clojure is a dynamic, general-purpose programming language, combining the approachability and interactive development of a scripting language with an efficient and robust infrastructure for multithreaded programming. Datomic is a transactional database with a flexible data model, elastic scaling, and rich queries.

According to Nubank’s CTO, the company made a significant bet on both technologies, and with the benefit of hindsight, he believes it was the right decision. He noted that Clojure’s simplicity and functional approach fit well with financial services: “where money comes in, rules get applied, and, most importantly, “money goes out”. He also highlighted the benefits of Datomic, including the avoidance of failure modes, consistency, and the ability to roll back in time for auditing purposes. Olivier believes that Nubank’s use of Clojure and Datomic has been “game-changing for the company”.

Open source and artificial intelligence 

Nubank is the corporate sponsor of Clojure and the largest sponsor of the Clojure open-source community in general. Olivier shared that the company’s involvement in open source is about “standing on the shoulders of giants and contributing to the broader community”. He believes that open-source projects, when well-managed in a rigorous way, can elevate and move society forward. According to him, Nubank has benefited greatly from many open-source projects, such as Kafka, Spark, and Flutter. Olivier emphasized that Nubank needs to keep thinking about its role in the open-source ecosystem and how it can help push forward societal knowledge by either developing or sponsoring open-source initiatives.

Nubank’s CTO also discussed his views on artificial intelligence (AI), something that he finds “both exciting and terrifying”. He highlighted the recent development of ChatGPT’s latest versions, which demonstrate how far AI has come in the past few years and how it challenges assumptions about what is uniquely human. He believes that AI should be viewed “just like any other tool,” and that successful use of AI will require overlaying it with human knowledge and organizational governance mechanisms for better decision-making and impact.

And what about Vitor Olivier’s personal challenges?

Finally, Olivier shared his personal challenges for this year. Besides achieving a blitz rating of 1500 on Chess.com, he believes, from a professional point of view, that this will be the year of stable efficiency for Nubank. In 2023, the company has to figure out how to get systems in a more stable place, improving efficiency. He plans to deepen his knowledge of data infrastructure, cloud infrastructure, and how to drive the right incentives.

Nubank’s use of cutting-edge technologies, such as Clojure and Datomic, involvement in open source, and focus on stable efficiency have allowed it to revolutionize the banking industry in Latin America. Vitor Olivier’s insights on AI and personal challenges demonstrate his dedication to innovation and excellence in technology leadership. Do you want to see what Nubank is going to achieve in the coming years? Join our company and become an active part of the purple revolution! Check out here our job opportunities.

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