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CTzen Stories: Yasen Trifonov – Balance is Something You Create For Yourself

CTzen Stories: Yasen Trifonov – Balance is Something You Create For Yourself

Everyone has a story waiting to be heard. We’re highlighting some of the amazing stories from within CleverTap — from our very own CTzens — because we believe in the amazing people we work with everyday and want to share the exciting work culture that we’ve built together. Presenting: the CTzens of CleverTap.  

Yasen Trifonov: In His Own Words

The first time I heard about Leanplum (a CleverTap company) was about 8.5 years ago from a friend who did an internship there. The next winter, another university colleague recommended me to Leanplum’s Director of Operations, and we got in touch regarding internship opportunities. What followed was pure serendipity. 

I was on a trip to the U.S. and replied that it would be difficult to meet, but it turned out the director was in the same city! So, the next morning we had an in-person meeting and I was intrigued by the product vision. Lesson learned: startups move fast! Little did I know then what an amazing and remarkable journey this would be for me, both personally and professionally.

Opportunities, Growth, and Fulfillment

I joined Leanplum as a software engineering intern in San Francisco in the summer of 2015. Back then, it was still an early-stage startup with about 30 employees and Series A funding. To put that into perspective, Leanplum grew into a global company almost 10x bigger before the acquisition by CleverTap earlier this year. During my internship, I had the opportunity to learn from world-class engineers and work on building APIs to make data easily accessible. I also had my first hands-on experience in creating a strong company culture.

After my internship, I returned to Sofia, Bulgaria, where Leanplum had recently opened an office with an amazing team of engineers. I continued working full-time on enhancing the platform with email messaging capabilities. It was quite a fulfilling project as I had started the proof of concept from scratch during my internship and saw it through to the completion of a working product used by numerous clients. 

Being Shaped by Lessons Learned

Looking back, I cannot stress enough the importance of mentorship, especially in the first years of growth. My first manager was an ex-engineering director at Google. and the lessons I learned from him shaped my path:

  • Be proactive and ensure you know how things work.
  • Be open and learn from your mistakes.
  • Provide a safety net so there is room to fail and learn. 

I acknowledge that being in a company for as long as I have been a part of Leanplum is quite uncommon these days. And yet, throughout all the highs and lows, I’ve always felt quite involved and engaged. I keep reinventing myself every other quarter and still go out of my comfort zone as there is always something new and challenging happening — whether in engineering, product, organizational, people-wise, just name it. 

Principles to Work and Live By

We work with a tremendous amount of data and solve some of the most difficult technological problems. This requires a really strong team and a culture that empowers each individual to grow and create an impact. Some of the key principles in achieving that are: 

  • Build meaningful connections – people perform best when there is a sense of safety and community, and an environment that promotes continuous learning
  • Look out for each other – remove blockers, strive to understand better, and always be there for the team
  • Lead humbly – I am a strong believer of the servant leadership concept and always keep looking for opportunities to further improve or optimize processes. I am happy to apply these principles today as a CTzen and increase the impact of my efforts within the larger scale of CleverTap.

Company Culture and Relationships

My favorite memories? Well, seven years is a long time and there are certainly plenty of them on every step of the way. But a recent example that stands out to me was when a colleague visited from Amsterdam. He had been with the company for several years but we had never met in person. The moment he stepped into the office, it felt as if we were old friends reuniting. 

My recent visit to CleverTap’s office in Mumbai is another example. Distance doesn’t matter, we simply tackle and celebrate everything together. To me, that’s the power of our culture and the foundation to all the great moments: the trust we have and meaningful relationships that we share.

Finding Balance

In my free time, I am an avid reader and I enjoy all kinds of books. Reading is a passion but also a way to relax and improve in various areas of life. My goal is to read 3 books per month, balancing between:

  • Personal development in which I can learn new hobbies and skills
  • Professional development for both soft and hard skills
  • Fiction, as there are always great stories that can make you dream

In addition, I am fascinated by physics as I believe we need to keep learning about the nature of what’s happening around us. Another passion is exploring different countries and their cultures, which enriches my perspective and worldview. I believe in constantly developing myself and pursuing physical activities like running, swimming, and snowboarding. 

It’s very easy to get burned out in today’s fast-paced world, and so we need to find the right balance between everything we do. Like a quote by Alfred Montapert, “Find the right balance in life. Man is body, mind and spirit. You need to give the right amount of attention to each.”

Let’s Work Together

Ready to help build the future of mobile? Check out the career opportunities at CleverTap.

Posted on December 6, 2022