Culture

June 28, 2024

Behind the Innovation: Meet Lukáš

Behind the Innovation: Meet Lukáš

Behind the Innovation: Meet Lukáš

Every week at OAK’S LAB, we highlight one individual from our team who had an exceptional performance and achieved a standout outcome. We call these people “Legends of the Week,” and we acknowledge their hard work, passion, and dedication that continues to drive our success. Each Wednesday, Jake Dluhy-Smith, our CEO, sits down with the previous week’s Legend and interviews them in a podcast-style session over lunch to share more of their story with our entire team.

In our series, “Behind the Innovation,” we turn these sessions into articles to introduce these individuals to you. From software engineers and designers to product managers and ops, each story features an intimate chat with an individual who shares a unique glimpse into their life, motivations, and more.

Our next feature highlights Lukáš. From his roots in central Slovakia, near Banská Bystrica, to his passion for technology that guided him to Prague, Lukáš's story is filled with insights, challenges, and triumphs on his path to becoming a QA leader at OAK’S LAB.

Rapid-Fire Questions

Jake: It's awesome to have you as our legend of the week. It’s well deserved. You've been crushing it on your projects and showing us how a leader of QA should be.
I have a couple of icebreaker questions. What is the best meal you've ever had?

Lukáš: Beef Wellington at Café Savoy.

Jake: If you had to sing a karaoke song, what would it be?

Lukáš:  Just The Two of Us probably, that’s the one.

Jake: If you could have dinner with any famous person from history or today, who would it be?

Lukáš: I'll probably go with Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

Jake: If they ended up fighting. Who do you think would win?

Lukáš: It depends. If it's boxing, I think Elon, and if it’s jiu-jitsu, it’s definitely Mark. 

One of Lukáš’s hobbies is photography.

Lukáš’s Background

Jake: It's your third anniversary at OAK’S LAB, so you've seen a big part of our journey. 

It would be a great opportunity for people to get to know you better. Could you share with us where you're originally from?

Lukáš: I’m from central Slovakia, near Banská Bystrica. Banská Bystrica is the fifth-biggest city in Slovakia, but I come from a small village called Badín. It is close to Banská Bystrica, so I went to school there. It was a 15-minute bus ride.
For high school, I didn’t want to go to a grammar school and get a more general education. I wanted something technically oriented, so I studied at a Secondary School of Electrical Engineering.

Jake: What are some things that you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
Lukáš: I like sports. I have played badminton for eight years, so that's probably my main sport. I enjoy skiing during the winter. And sometimes also running. I don't really enjoy running, but it's good psycho-hygiene for me, so I also do that.

Jake: Where is your favorite place to play badminton in Prague? Where do you recommend?

Lukáš: Skalka Arena is really good. Hector in Žižkov is also nice. Those are the two places that I like the most. 

Jake: Do you know what country is the best at badminton?

Lukáš: I think Malaysia, Denmark, and Germany are really good.

His favorite subject to photograph is nature.

Experience before OAK’S LAB

Jake: What were your original career plans? How did you get into tech and QA?

Lukáš: I was always around computers. Growing up, I spent a lot of time playing video games with my cousin. He is five years older than me, and we played a lot of Counter-Strike and DOTA. Back then, it was Warcraft 3. 

Then, I became interested in hardware. I was building my first PC and decided to go to the Secondary School of Electrical Engineering. I was really diving into microchips and how they work. It was more about hardware for me at that point.

For university, I moved to Prague and studied at VŠE, which is not a tech school, but it was more fintech. It combined economics and IT. 

That was the path. In the last two years of my master's degree, I chose a side specification. It was called software quality management, so it was QA orientation.

Lukáš at his Master's graduation ceremony at the Prague University of Economics and Business.

Jake: Are you still gaming?

Lukáš: Maybe once in two weeks, something like that.

Jake: What are you playing currently?

Lukáš: Still Counter-Strike. It’s still a really good game, and I enjoy it. 

I don't have much time to do it, but it's more for socializing with my friends who are not living in Prague. These are my friends from high school and even elementary school. We come together and play for two hours, and that’s it.

Jake: That game never gets old. Would you say that's the best game of all time?

Lukáš: Yes. Maybe World of Warcraft is also on the same level for me, but yeah.

Jake: Last time at the luncheon, you shared something that only a few people knew about you, which was really awesome. Do you have something prepared for us this time?

Lukáš: You mean the cartoons for children? I will remind you, of course. My best friend and his family are producing these series for children. 

I was part of the filming until around 2020. It's really popular. Some of the videos have 50 million views.

I appeared in two or three episodes and was recognized by a few mothers on the street. But my main role was to record audio. I had a huge microphone and ensured everything sounded good.

A picture of Lukáš during filming of the children’s series.

Time at OAK’S LAB

Jake: How did you learn about OAK’S LAB, and can you tell us how you joined the company?

Lukáš: Before I joined OAK’S LAB, I was working in parallel with my studies at Česká spořitelna as a tester part-time. After my studies, I wanted to go full-time, but their offer was not for me. 

I was searching for job opportunities through the Startup Jobs website and found OAK’S LAB. It was the first thing I found, and it immediately caught my attention. That was it. I was really lucky to get in.

Jake:  So you've been here now for three years. What were the projects that you were part of?

Lukáš: I started on Crave. Then, I worked on Crave and Storyvine. Then, I worked on Crave, Storyvine, and Lifebrand, so on three projects at the same time.

After that, we moved back to Storyvine full-time, and then our current project appeared. So, from that point, I've been part of my current project for a year and a few months.

Jake: What project are you most proud of so far?

Lukáš Lešták: Every project was somehow special. I think the current fintech projet is by far the most interesting one. Although it was challenging from the beginning, I learned a lot of new skills and responsibilities. 

Lukáš and his fiancée love traveling.

Jake: You said you've learned a lot on the project. What are your biggest learnings, and would you like to share them?

Lukáš: I was able to get more responsibilities and be the QA lead on the project. I was working with Tonda, who is really skilled in test management, and I learned a lot from him. Every quarter brings more challenges, different challenges that I need to adjust to, and I really like that. If I do the same thing repeatedly, it's not super interesting to me. But this is great, and I can always try something different. My role is slightly different every couple of sprints, which is great.

Jake: That's awesome that your role has been so versatile, and it allowed you to grow.

Speaking of growth, when you joined OAK’S LAB, you joined as a regular QA Analyst, but you were able to get promoted through the company not only by getting bigger responsibilities on projects but also by being a chapter head of QA.

I'd like to ask you, on behalf of anyone else who's looking to grow and progress, what traits really helped you grow and progress, and what insights would you like to give to the rest of the company?

Lukáš: First, you need to make up your mind, create a plan, follow it, and track progress. It’s essential to figure out the endpoint and milestones you want to achieve.

Write it down and follow the steps. Be patient. It's definitely going to take time. Ask for feedback and work with more senior people. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. Try to improve it. That would be it.

Lukáš at our offsite in Croatia.

Jake: Those are some great insights. You've been with the company for three years. How have you seen OAK’S LAB grow or evolve over the last three years?

Lukáš:  I think what is important is that OAK’S LAB still stays OAK’S LAB. It's a great environment for everyone. We gained many exciting and complex projects and grew our knowledge and skill set. The capabilities of OAK’S LAB are constantly growing.

We also have the biggest head count for the QA chapter right now, so that's also great. I remember, at some point, I was the only QA in OAK’S LAB. It was for about four months at least, and all the projects required me. 

I see constant growth, and that is what defines OAK’S LAB.

Jake: Those are two really good words to summarize it. The last three years have been a period of constant growth, and this constant growth isn't only due to our ambitious goals but also to the ambitious mindset that everyone has in the company. That's contagious and allows us to make great progress. 

You've shared some great insights. It was awesome to hear your story again and get a refresher on your time in Slovakian Hollywood. I wish you all the best in the upcoming big launch, and thank you for everything.

Lukáš: Thank you. 

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