How Anyline CTO Christian Pichler is Mapping the Future of Mobile Data Capture
For this very special blog, we sat down with our CTO, Dr. Christian Pichler! Read on to hear about his professional journey thus far, why a map on the wall explains his management style, and how he’s taking on the challenge of leading Anyline’s tech team.
It was love at first sight…
Christian’s love for computer science dates back in the late 80’s when his parents bought their first computer. Slowly starting to explore the realm of computer science, he began experimenting with coding without even knowing how it works.
After high school, Christian did his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Vienna Technical University. During his MSc, he worked for IBM in Austria and afterwards for the IBM research group in New York. But as he neared graduation, Christian intended on leaving Vienna and the world of academia behind. Looking back, Christian says his big break was driven by a bit of a coincidence.
“My academic adviser at the time offered me, or more likely convinced me, to stay at TU Wien, which I’m really thankful for. It was one of these coincidences, where I thought ok, let’s just try it.”
A PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship later, Christian landed a position with the Austrian government, working with the Ministry for Transport, Information and Technology. Perhaps the most interesting part about this time was his responsibility for the Austrian Space Applications Programme (ASAP) and Copernicus, the European space programme for earth observation, where Austria has great leading examples of space data applications. After leaving space behind and coming back to earth, Christian worked with Kapsch TrafficCom AG before joining Anyline in May 2020.
When you treat a problem as a puzzle, the pieces fall into place
After a varied career across different industries, what drives him forward to the next challenge? His answer is pretty simple. Driven by a passion for all things tech and computer science, Christian is in his element when finding the gaps, and then the solutions to close them. The best place for him to think about those gaps, however, is rather peculiar. For Christian, there’s no better place to dig into a problem than on his tractor.
He compares this process to doing a puzzle. First, you have to collect the pieces and put them in order. Even though you have no idea what the result is going to look like, you have to try different pieces, and at some point it will take form and simply make sense. With this approach, Christian and his team can look to each new challenge, embrace the unknown and find the method in any madness.
Freedom at work is built on communication and trust
As a manager, Christian aims to provide as much freedom as possible. While he and his team are goal-driven, these targets are built through strong communication with each team member, so they can build their working styles around achieving them. To this end, Christian favors flexible working hours, as long as his team is available for colleagues and within the business hours.
This is based on his own experience, as he’s often found that taking a break or going out for a walk can be the perfect remedy for solving that intractable problem.
“Ultimately I want my team to come up with ideas and put their opinions on the table on what they think makes sense. I think freedom leads to a lot of exciting ideas.”
A second, but equally important factor for Christian’s management style is trust. Over the past year, the whole world has moved to working online and from home – and giving team members the trust to complete their work where they are comfortable has also worked out for the Anyline team.