Oct 13, 20231 min read

Behind the Scenes with our Klarnaut of the Year.

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by Klarna

We’re thrilled to introduce you to some of the remarkable talents behind Klarna’s success. Next in our series is our Klarnaut of the Year from our recent Smoooth Week annual conference in Stockholm. A long time Klarnaut who has taken the irregular career path we are so proud to discover more of Onno’s inspiring journey and insights below.


Hey Onno, nice to meet you, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Hey, I’m Onno Vos, I’m 34 years old and a Lead Engineer at Klarna based in Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve been at Klarna roughly 11 years if you sum up my two tours at Klarna together!


What inspired you to work at Klarna?
If I may take the freedom to rephrase this question to a “What inspired you to stay at Klarna?” I believe we can get a more nuanced answer. When I first joined Klarna back in 2012 it honestly was supposed to be a “temporary thing” before I continued with my master at Stockholm University. I started in the service center side of the business, before moving into analytics, automation with our service center and continuing my journey within engineering. I stayed at Klarna as I saw there were many opportunities to grow and I decided to explore those opportunities. At Klarna we say there is an irregular career path, and 11 years later, I continue to see interesting challenges that require solving which continues to inspire and challenge me in my work every day.


Can you describe working at Klarna in 3 words?
Exciting, challenging and rewarding.


What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a detective. I loved watching crime shows and always dreamed of one day being a detective and solving major crimes!


What do you love most about your job?
Solving complex problems inspires and challenges me. If anyone tells me: “This problem is too complex to solve within a reasonable time”, together with my colleagues we find a way to get it done anyway.



What does your day-to-day look like?

  • Start day: I like to start and end my day in the same way, going through various Slack channels to stay up to date with everything that is going on.
  • Morning: In the morning, we have a team stand-up where we discuss both what we’ve been up to and what we’ll be working on. It is a many year old tradition that I say “Happy hunting!” at the end of the standup which kickstarts the day.
  • Afternoon: The “hunting” I end up doing is whatever tasks are at hand for the day, week or month. Currently this involves a lot of reading, impromptu discussions and schema design.
  • End the day: Back on slack, cleaning up for another day and if there’s anything I want to discuss the following day with the team, I typically leave a message in Slack as topics for the next standup.


What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I’m working on a project that will enable the continued growth of Klarna in a scalable way. To achieve this, we are working on standardizing both infrastructure as well as data flows across the organization.


What did you do to get awarded the fantastic accolade of Klarnaut of the year at our annual Smoooth Week conference?
I am involved in lots of projects, incidents and forums that touch lots of areas of the business and that are important for Klarna. Not only are they interesting for me, due to me being at Klarna for such a long time, I also have a lot of insights and knowledge to provide in those areas. I think this award has a lot to do with that.

Furthermore I was also a key part of a large data migration project, which is my, and of course the team’s, biggest accomplishment at Klarna to date.

For this, we migrated a key database from a mostly in-house built solution based on Mnesia to an industry standard Postgres with zero downtime. This was a lengthy and extremely challenging project both from an architectural and reliability standpoint.

🗣️ Hear Onnos own words about the project here.



If you could have 3 dinner guests, who would you pick and why?

  1. Gustavo Tosta (Guga Foods / Sous Vide Everything)
  2. Roel (Pitmaster X)
  3. Heston Blumenthal

Having a dinner party with three chefs that I’ve followed for many years and that inspire me on a regular basis in my own cooking would be an amazing opportunity.


What’s your favourite purchase you’ve ever made using Klarna?
Judging by my dinner party guests, I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise anyone to say that my favorite purchase I’ve made using Klarna is my BBQ.


Who is your role model?
I don’t really have a single role model, I normally have a role model based on the situation. I take bits and pieces from people around me and take inspiration in various forms from each and every one of them. Colleagues, friends and family all serve as a role model in their own unique way.


What’s your favourite Klarna memory?
We had an offsite at a colleagues country house many years ago where we designed a unified data flow coming from two very different systems. This in turn allowed Klarna to build a wide variety of systems with low complexity and high data freshness. The first day ended with a BBQ, some drinks and swimming in the cold Stockholm archipelago and late at night we continued the schema design. The offsite was not only an amazing time to get to know each other better. It was also extremely productive and in 2 days time we managed to design the data flow that allowed both of these systems to start implementing it.



And that concludes our second blog post in this series, offering a glimpse into the incredible individuals driving Klarna’s success. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and behind-the-scenes insights in the coming weeks. Be sure to come back next week for more!

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