Meet Marko Jagodic our Senior Software 3D Graphic Engineer from Zagreb, Croatia
When did you learn about Blackshark.ai?
I met CEO Michael Putz at a Reboot conference in Dubrovnik, where Bongfish was the main sponsor. Shortly afterwards, I had the opportunity to meet the Bongfish team in person and learn about the Flight Simulator project they were working on. I found it fascinating. I kept thinking about all the awesome use-cases that could be achieved with such a product… A couple of years later, Blackshark.ai was born, I joined, and together, we founded a subsidiary in Croatia.
Prior to Blackshark.ai, you were working for Croteam, one of the best software companies in Croatia. Why did you join Blackshark?
I believe the product we are creating has huge potential; there are so many use-cases, and as we get better in terms of precision, the potential use-cases grow. There is also a technical aspect to this: I want to be challenged and keep learning every day. Because we create Earth’s digital twin, we stumble upon exciting and complex problems. I like that I get to use my skills every day, skills such as programming, math, and light physics. For me, it is great that we do not run out of interesting challenges.
Did your first impressions of the team match your expectations (no consequences 😉)?
My team exceeded my expectations, I like that my team members are technically gifted, and I love to have technical discussions with them. I love that there are team members that know C++ in great depth – including how compilers work. What I am happy about is that the team appreciates competitive programming. Some of the members were competitors in the past. I like that when I am talking about some competitive programming concepts, I have somebody to share knowledge with.
My experience with the team has been very positive from the start. They are very collaborative and willing to help whenever somebody needs help. They are also hungry to keep on learning, and there is a process in place to help each team member develop. The product owner has a lot of experience with software engineering and knows how software is made and what to expect.
Most of my colleagues are based in Austria, in Graz and in Vienna. Working within a remote environment works well for me. It allows me to be more involved in my daughter’s life as she grows up. I like that the team is motivated and that we have excellent communication. They actively listen when we are talking about important topics. Criticism is always oriented towards the issue, and it’s never personal. As a team, we know the best action plan to achieve the company’s goals. It’s good to be part of such a great team.
What are the main areas of expertise at Blackshark.ai?
We employ multiple areas of expertise to make products involving computer graphics, computer vision, machine learning, big data, geographic information systems, and art. I like to work in a multidisciplinary environment because I like how parts from different teams fit together to make a product.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
I love that I get to debug the finest details of our software to find out how it works. Once I learn how it works, I can make it even better. We use C++ as our primary language, we as a team love neat code that runs fast. We use template metaprogramming in C++ to make it easy to handle our dependency graph at our system’s core. When working on shaders, we use HLSL and GLSL languages to write our shader code. In general, we are convinced that every problem can be solved with an appropriately sized template monster, but we avoid creating template monsters if not necessary. We will move towards more platform-independent shader code using cross-compilation when it’s the right time to do it. Here and there, we stumble upon problems that can be formalized as competitive programming challenges that would be appropriate for The International Olympiad in Informatics. It’s neat when it happens, especially when it’s possible to find beautiful solutions to these problems.
After a lifetime in game development, how does it feel to work at a software development company?
When I compare the gaming industry with what we are doing, I see similarities. Working on the Blackshark engine is similar to working on a game engine. With the exception, that the content is the entire earth, and that is a huge dataset. I find both industries extraordinary because I like the technology and technical challenges that come with them. I think what we are doing here at Blackshark in the 3D Reconstruction team is a good match for people who work on game engines or rendering engines. But what we are doing as a company is not just about visualization of the data in acceptable latency.
On a different note, Blackshark.ai as a company values work-life balance; we don’t want our personnel burning out. There are always a lot of things to do but we as a company plan and avoid having crunch times.
What can you already tell us about the future of Blackshark in Zagreb?
We have ambitious plans for our Zagreb entity. Blackshark.ai is investing in Croatia because our CEO Michael Putz is enthusiastic about the talent and the creativity of Croatian (and ex-Yu) developers, which he observed firsthand while leading Bongfish. We are currently scouting for an office location to enable hybrid work for our Zagreb-based developers and to create a second hub for developers working in internationally distributed teams. We are also planning to participate in events that show off our products and develop a relationship with Zagreb Technical University. We want to build a relationship with the community by giving tech talks at conferences and at some University events where the theme is fitting. We also aim to attend promising recruitment events. We want to find new local business connections and empower local industry with our products. Additionally, we want to organize developer meetups to talk about industry problems and solutions.
What are your personal goals at Blackshark.ai?
I’m excited to help create and grow our Croatian subsidiary as a major Blackshark.ai hub in the Balkans. Additionally, I want to make our company’s name synonymous with the best digital twin product in the world.
Can people contact you if they want to learn more?
Sure, People who want to learn more can contact me on LinkedIn.