Horațiu Cristea is a highly-skilled Technical Manager with more than twenty years of experience in the industry. He is also a very organized individual, driven and empathetic, making him a great leader and mentor.
We sat down with him virtually to find out more about the team he’s mentoring and where he’s headed. Keep reading to discover his professional journey as well as his passions outside work.
What is your favorite tech?
I’m a technical manager, but I’m a software engineer at heart, so the answer might be different depending on whom you ask.
On the other hand, as a technical manager, I favor the RIGHT tech stack for the project’s success. The tech stack is consequential after considering many factors. The type of the project, performance and scalability requirements, development and maintenance costs, team expertise, the talent pool, etc., all have a say when choosing the right tools.
What is a typical workday for you?
I wake up early and brew a cup of Greek coffee – or Turkish coffee if you want to call it that, it’s basically the same thing. It’s a slow process. You need to take your time and pay attention to the coffee as it’s brewing. You must stop it at the right time if you want the best flavor and if you don’t want to make a mess. It’s a ritual for me that sets me up for the rest of the day. Then, I hit the gym for about 45 minutes. I come back home and help my wife to prepare my daughter for school. Then I’m alone, and I brew another cup of coffee. I drink it in front of my laptop as I’m catching up and reviewing my daily schedule.
I’m operating on a combination of manager and maker schedules. This means that my workdays consist of a mix of meetings and sessions of uninterrupted work in different proportions. I try to cluster meetings at the beginning and end of the day, leaving the middle of the day for longer chunks of time to work on my tasks.
The meetings in the morning are with my teams. I try to keep them short so engineers can focus on their tasks for the rest of the day. The meetings in the afternoon and evenings are usually with the clients and my peers.
Why did you choose to work at AscentCore?
Our paths crossed at the right time. I had several discussions with Cornel (CTO) and with Cătălin (CEO). I saw AscentCore as a company with great potential. It looked like a good place for me to grow, learn and utilize my skills. I got a good vibe from the people, so I decided to accept the offer, and here I am. 🙂
What is your favorite AscentCore value and why?
AscentCore’s central values are relationships, integrity, and results. I don’t have a favorite, and I see the combination of these three as a monolithic structure because you can’t achieve one without the others. What do results look like if they are not achieved with integrity while maintaining good relationships with the team and the customers? How can you have good relationships without integrity and without showing results? How is integrity relevant without good results and good relationships? I like AscentCore’s triad of values.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your role?
This is a tough one. I learned many essential lessons, and it’s hard to single one out and grade it as the most important one. However, the one lesson that I like and I’m probably still learning, is listening without premature judgment. There is an excellent opportunity to learn so much when you actively pay attention and listen.
What would you say are the “soft” character traits that are often the trademarks of the best leaders?
I believe the best leaders have lots of soft skills. Still, if I would have to make a top 3, I would say the ability to actively listen and pay full attention is definitely there. This one goes hand in hand with the second one: empathy – the ability to walk in other’s shoes. And the third must be good communication skills.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
I like watching movies with my family. The weekly pizza and movie night is a family ritual. I’m a foodie, and I like to explore various cooking recipes. I spend my weekend in the countryside, working on various projects like restoring old furniture. During the pandemic, I found a new activity that I really enjoy: horseback riding.