The Humans of smrtPhone

For our eleventh installment of the series highlighting our awesome team members, we profile the “smrtie” who helps you troubleshoot your smrtPhone system: Laurentiu Prodan


Laurentiu Prodan, aka Laur

Title / Role in the Company

I’m first level support. I help customers with their smrtPhone issues. 

How long have you worked for smrtPhone?

About nine months. 

What’s your background? 

I’m currently a student in college for electro mechanical engineering for ships & vessels. Originally I wanted to study something related to development or IT, but my choices were limited so I thought I’d give it a try. I quickly learned the lifestyle for this type of work is not what I want, so even though you can make good money and I find the topic interesting it’s not something I’m going to pursue long term. However, I’m still going to finish the degree because, why not? I earned a scholarship and I enjoy the studies. 

Before coming to smrtPhone, I worked at a large U.S. telecom provider answering phones during the night shift. I gained a lot of good experience there, but I did not like the culture. It was all about selling, even for the tech support team. They wanted us to be evasive and manipulate people into upgrading and that did not work for me.

When I joined smrtPhone, it was like heaven for me, compared to where I had been. I love the team and the system, and we really care about our clients.

What was your first job? 

I worked in telecom in Romania, in telesales. I was calling people out of the blue and asking if they wanted to upgrade their subscription. After that, I worked for a brief time for the Post Office with Cosmin, who is a longtime friend – and it was through him that I eventually learned about smrtPhone. 

What do you like about working for smrtPhone? 

I like the team very much. We are more than just coworkers, we are friends. We even get together from time to time, and we are always there to help each other out. We laugh a lot and enjoy our time at work. It doesn’t feel like you’re working, like “just a job.” I’m here to be with my colleagues – to enjoy them, to help them – and to help our clients. 

There are so many things I enjoy about smrtPhone. When I have ideas about how we can make it better, people listen. When clients request features or updates, we can see it getting done. When we identify a pattern of people being confused, we create a solution to make it better. 

smrtPhone has become a part of my life. When I wake up, I eat something, do my things, check the chat, check the emails. I just go there and see what’s going on, check in on my colleagues. It’s an enjoyable routine.

I also really like talking about smrtPhone. I’m always asking the developers questions. I’m a tech guy and have been ever since I was little. I was on a mathematics and IT track in high school and taught myself some development. It’s always been interesting to me.

Describe smrtPhone in 3 words: 

Intuitive – It is easy to use. 

Customer friendly – We don’t have a script, we’re not expected to be like robots. We talk with the customers like they are our friends. 

Fast growing. We implement a lot of new stuff daily; it’s always getting better. 

Is there a particular moment/project at smrtPhone that stands out and makes you feel proud?  

I’m very proud about every project, in general. On every project, every person from the team can have a word and have input. We have brainstorming sessions and we can say our ideas without fear. Every project is made from ideas from every person from every team. 

I really enjoyed the last off-site team building [in June.] When we all came together in the tight circle to bond as a team. We aren’t just here for one thing. Yes, we’re here to work but we’re also here as people. And we have fun together. 

Laur and Tudor doing tech support
Tudor and Laur working Tech Support during the smrtPhone team building retreat in June.

What do you like to do in your free time? 

I’m not a super social person. I like to stay home. Lately, I’ve been searching for courses on development to get back into the IT side of things. Sometimes I play video games to pass the time. 

Name something that is on your “bucket list”

I don’t have a bucket list. I would like to get a good night sleep! Sometime in the future I’d like to learn more about developing. Maybe take on some small projects. 

What is a fun fact people might not know about you? 

When I was younger, I wanted to be a mathematics teacher.  I really understand and enjoy logic. Anything that’s logical, I enjoy. 

But it wasn’t always like that. In my 7th grade, I had the worst grades in math. Two weeks before I started 8th grade, I just woke up and I started getting straight A’s. My parents had a friend who was a mathematics teacher who gave me a book about math and it made sense. It just clicked and then I went straight to the head of the class. 

Even though it’s not what I’m studying right now, it fits with what I do – explaining technical things. Walking people through the logic. I enjoy teaching the system to other people and I’m good at it.