[Jobs] lokku - looking for a seasoned coder with perl experience

Mike Astle astle at lokku.com
Mon Feb 2 18:35:18 GMT 2009

NOTE - Lokku's previous job posting on this mailing list (subject: 
"lokku - need an engineering lead and manager to build a new team and 
product") is no longer open.  Thank you to all that contacted us 
regarding that position.

On to the new...


We are looking for an experienced Perl developer to join our team.

** About Us

Lokku Ltd. was started in April 2006 by two founders and has grown to a
team of 10 including 4 full time software engineers.  Our primary
product is the Nestoria property search engine which we operate in the
UK, Spain, Italy, and Germany.  Lokku Global HQ is in London's Covent
Garden.  Our team very international in outlook and composition.  Many
of us have worked previously for big internet names like Yahoo and
Amazon as well as other startups in the US and Europe.  Lokku is a
strong believer in free and open source software and is an active
sponsor and contributor to several groups and projects including the
London Perl Mongers, YAPC::Europe, and OpenStreetMap.

** The Role

All of our development to date has been in Perl hosted on Debian and
served up using a combination of MySQL and Apache.  This may change over
time, but, for the first year, you should expect to work almost
exclusively with this technology stack.  Beyond that, there may be
opportunities to change or expand the stack as we evolve as a business.

Your primary job in this role is to write and maintain the code that
makes up our vertical search engine.  We are a small team, so we cannot
afford to over-specialized.  You will be expected to work on many
components of the product.  Some of these components include:

* ETL System.  We refresh almost our entire database of property
listings every day.  Our ETL system accepts input in a variety of
formats.  That input must be normalized, filtered, analyzed, geocoded,
and transformed before it can be safely accepted into our database of

* Natural Language Processing (NLP).  Not all listing content is
discretely structured, so we use NLP techniques to extract and classify
features from text content.

* Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Location is key to the property
world. We have used large commercial geodata sets to construct our own
geocoder and geodata management system.

* Deduplicate Detection Engine.  Listing content is not exclusive to
every source and rarely has a clear identifier across sources.  We have
used statistical techniques and modern scaling approaches to build a
system that can quickly and accurately identify duplicate content.

* Search Engine.  We use careful testing to optimize our core search
algorithms or relevance and have developed systems for real-time
behavioural targeting that help us get closer to giving users exactly
what they want.  Performance optimization of this system is an ongoing

* AJAX Driven Web UI.  The greatest search engine in the world is
nothing without a great interface for users.  We are keeping pace with
the changes in technology and user expectation.

* Metrics and Reporting Pipeline.  We like to argue about data, not
opinions.  Our internal customers are very demanding consumers of
numbers.  We are always scaling up and enhancing our data analysis
system to handle more and more complex reporting needs and the increase
in data caused by a long term increase in users.

* Automated SEM Management.  Modern search advertising systems present
APIs for managing advertising campaigns.  We have taken advantage of
this to fully automate our paid traffic acquisition.

We do have a lot of moving parts to look after, but this is by no means
a "maintenance only" position.  We have plans to expand in improve every
one of these software components - not least to meet the scaling demands
that are brought on by increased usage and further expansion.  You
should expect to work on current systems for the first 3 to six months
as you learn the ropes.  After that, there will be opportunities for
taking the lead on new development as we take the product in new directions.

We have a very open, collaborative, and test-drive development
environment.  We are not looking for people that cannot work effectively
as part of a team or prefer to write code in isolation.  You must be
ready to present and defend designs before writing code, listen to and
discuss the ideas of others, admit from time to time that you were
wrong, and subject your work to review.  Nobody works on their own in
the corner.  That said, we are not in need of robots that will submit
always to the Lokku Way.  We need someone who can bring new experiences
to the table and advocate them effectively.

** Obligatory Bullet Points

The person we are looking for >must<:

* have at least 5 years of experience writing software in Perl for
UNIX-like operating systems.
* have at least 2 years experience building applications for the web.
* have at least 2 years experience working with relational databases.
* have a proven ability to work effectively with a minimum of structure.
* be legally allowed to work in the UK.
* be able to commit to work exclusively for Lokku for a minimum of two
* be able to work full time in Central London.
* be able to communicate in fluent English.

Bonus points go to candidates that have experience with:

* MySQL.
* optimizing GNU/Linux server installations for performance.
* web crawling, document indexing and classification, and efficient
searching of structured and unstructured data.
* managing large data sets.
* building user interfaces for the web with AJAX.
* Unicode, UTF-8, and the general problem of efficient software
localization in the context of web applications.
* applying mathematical techniques to high-dimension optimization
problems with variable constraints.

Further bonus points if you:

* can communicate in other European languages.
* are a recognized contributor to the world of free and open source 

** Compensation

Lokku believes that compensation should reflect the market value of the
individual and that employees should be financially rewarded for the
overall success of the company.  We will discuss all aspects of
compensation during the interview process.

** Next Steps


You can learn more here:


See our product here:


And send your CV here:


More information about the Jobs mailing list