[Jobs] lokku - need an engineering lead and manager to build a new team and product

Mike Astle astle at lokku.com
Fri Jan 16 19:35:34 GMT 2009

** About Us

Lokku Ltd. was founded in April 2006 by two founders and has grown to a 
team of 10 including 4 full time software engineers and several other 
technically oriented staff.  Our 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 and 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 Product

We are building a new product.  Its nature is not a government secret, 
but we do not want to discuss its details in a public posting such as 
this.  We can tell you that it will be presented as a web application 
involving search, have a modern AJAX interface, rely at least partially 
on document indexing, and require a complex and highly-custom data 
processing system and feedback cycle.  There will be math involved and 
automated performance optimization.  Almost all Lokku development to 
date has been Perl and mod_perl applications running on Debian with lots 
of MySQL.  We are open to introducing new techniques and technologies, 
with a strong preference for building on free and open source software.

** The Role

This position is really three roles in one.  We need someone to head the 
technical efforts around our new product throughout its lifetime.  This 
can be considered in three phases:

1. Architect.  You will work closely with a product manager to finalize 
details of the product's specification.  That done, you will create a 
detailed technical plan for the product's development.  This will 
include choosing a technology stack, designing the system and software 
architecture, and determining how to host and serve the application. 
This phase is expected to take about 3 months.

2. Manager.  A important part of the planning process will include 
working out the best way to scale up our engineering resources to make 
the specification into a working product.  You will be required to 
survey the available options and make a proposal.  We are open to a 
variety of alternatives including additional full time hires in the UK, 
full outsourcing, or something in between.  Once a plan is agreed upon, 
you will recruit additional engineers or form relationships with 
suitable partners.  We expect this phase to take about 3 months.

3. Lead Developer.  You will manage the development effort of our new 
product.  This includes responsibility for meeting deadlines and day to 
day management of new recruits or outsourcing partners.  You will be 
writing code with one hand and managing with the other.  Main 
development is expected to take no more than six months and includes a 
post launch refinement period as the product settles in.

There will be some intersection among the phases and the timeline is not 
written in stone.  For example, recruitment can start before the design 
is complete and managerial tasks will continue during development. There 
will be limited formal structure in this position, but you will not 
operate completely without supervision.  Plans and decisions will be 
validated by other members of the Lokku team against the sometimes 
conflicting goals of low cost, ease of management, and product quality. 
  After the first year, you may continue to manage the team and product 
maintenance and further development or change to working on other 
initiatives within Lokku.  This 3 phase scheme is not a one year 
contract, but just the first step in a long and productive contribution 
to our team.

** Location

You will work primarily from London for at least the first three months 
of employment.  This will be necessary for training and rapid 
communication during product design.  Lokku will arrange and pay for 
appropriate transport and accommodation.  Subsequently, this role may 
move.  Should we decide to build a new team of Lokku employees, you will 
be expected to lead that team from wherever it is based.  This may be 
your country of current residence, the UK, or elsewhere.  We are open to 
a variety of models.  Choosing how to proceed is part of the job.  The 
financial details of any relocation will be discussed during the 
interview process.

** Obligatory Bullet Points

The person we are looking for >must<:

* have experience managing other programmers.
* have designed a 'large' software application.
* have at least 5 years experience writing software and at least two 
years experience building applications for the web using GNU/Linux or 
BSD, Apache, relational databases, and Perl, Ruby, Python, or PHP.
* 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 and able to work full time in Central London.
* be able to communicate in fluent English.

Bonus points go to candidates that have experience with:

* managing offsite programmers.
* selecting partners for outsourcing efforts and manging relationships 
with those partners.
* forming and/or managing relationships with vendors and service providers.
* managing a budget and project deadlines.
* web crawling, document indexing and classification, and efficient 
searching of structured and unstructured data.
* 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:

* speak additional 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:


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