After countless failed startups and projects I got tired of chasing "the dream". I was more okay with starting a traditional company. I had also gotten fed up with doing things on my own (jobs don't count). So as one project lead to another at one point we started working together with friends and friends-friends. We had a pretty cool office with more couch space than tables.
All we do is find clients and write software for them. Doesn't sound particularly interesting perhaps, but we've found some pretty interesting gigs. It is just programming in the end of the day, but I love how well we fit together.
I used to take work so seriously that I forgot to eat and only stopped for a bathroom break. When a project comes in my idea of work was stressing out about the minute details.
In our humble Ghetto Office we take our time to communicate and relax when needed. There is a lot of chatter. Sometimes too much. Yet we talk about tech and life and we learn from it. We do bullshit around for laughs also.
It is not uncommon to find people hanging out on a random monday evening having a beer. We enjoy eachothers company and the office.
We take time with clients
Some clients know what they need. Some think they do. We take the time to help them figure out what solution makes sense in their situation and budget.
Communication is an interesting one. In freelancing I was always very precise and demanded clarity always - this stressed everyone out since I didn't take into account different peoples communication style. I learnt from my partner that sometimes communication just takes time and not everything needs to be said. I do now leave all of the communicating to my partner, since I'm better at other things (to put it mildly). Yet I do learn to be a better communicator every day.
We try out our own ideas
Never have I been in a situation where building my own project is part of the work environment. We as a collective would of course in the end of the day like to work on a product that we own and love, with clients that use our service instead of trading in time for money.
Of course having time for side-projects says something about our success, that we are even able to afford this in the first place. We don't of course live a lavish lifestyle, we prefer to take out as little as possible and keep building the company as a whole.
We grow and figure it out as we go
We are nobodies. We all have experience in life and work, but we don't really know what we're doing. And I much prefer our style of rolling with the punches to figure everything out.
We are about 10 people now (it fluctuates). Not a small feat. We try build structures only when there's a specific problem it will fix. So there's only one meeting a week. There's no workflow other than what the developers have chosen for their project. Sometimes this presents problems, which we then deal with.
Someone said that the real challenge is managing 50 people and it gets worse from there. I don't know if we'll ever be that big, but with this team I'm ready for any challenge.
I do love this opportunity to work with these people and the chance to build and design this environment for eachother like this. I do wonder where this will end up. This thing could go belly up in a few weeks as things change pretty fast.