Navigating the Systems of Life

Michael Smesnik - Backend Lead for Snowball Digital

Somehow, deep down, I always knew I would end up working with programming. While the road that led me here included many twists and turns, I look back now and appreciate my choice to take the path less traveled. It shaped the passionate person I am today, helping me excel with both my hobbies and with my work. I guess it was like my own personal evolution, as mother nature intends to have it.

Digging for Truth

My story began when my mom pushed me to join a local computer club at 14. It was here that I met my best friend - a person who would later influence me to move to Vienna and chase an education in IT. The study program was great! But after a few years, the heavy theoretical aspects of the course bored me. So to better focus on practical skills, I left school to work with a local tech company. It was great for a while, but I needed a break to go out and better understand how the natural world worked, too. 

The drive to break down and synthesize the complexity of life became intoxicating.

A fascination with biological systems put me on a redesigned 10-year study plan. How does a population of organisms work as one? How do the endocrine and nervous systems work together? How have cells evolved to get us to the complex lifeforms we are today? I wanted to know - how does this world work? But again, after a few years, I felt that I had answered the questions I began the journey with. I knew it was time to leave the program and take my motivations elsewhere.

Discovering Home

These motivations funnelled me back to what I knew best: programming. But they also pushed me to explore something I knew little about: the great outdoors. In time, climbing, mountain biking and weekend camping trips became hobbies that powered my taste for adventure. This lifestyle even inspired a vacation in Norway! And after experiencing both the sea and the sky there, I knew that a life back in Austria wouldn’t feel the same. So after three short weeks, I made up my mind that Norway would one day be my new home.

In the words of John Muir… into the woods I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.

As chance would have it, in early 2018 Snowball Digital found its way to my computer. And not long after, me and my family were off to begin a new life in Skien. Here, in the beating heart of Telemark, I am able to enjoy a life filled with everything I need. As a developer with Snowball, I solve exciting problems and build complex systems to make the lives of others a bit easier. And with my free time, I have the freedom to explore a backyard of beautiful, untouched wilderness. I am so grateful for this duality of life here in Norway, the balance of complexity and simplicity, every day.