Thursday, September 13, 2007

Here's to the next 10 years!

This month Macadamian celebrates it's 10th year in business. A major milestone makes me retrospective, and I can't help looking back to see how far we've come.

We founded the company in the midst of the bubble, when incredible amounts of money were being thrown at every crazy idea under the sun. When I joined, we were 8 people working out of a bare-bones industrial complex. I think that's one of things that attracted me most - it felt like a startup, in the positive sense. The founding team was passionate about what they were doing, and my interview was a very lengthy and serious affair, in stark contrast to other interviews I was having ("Pulse? Breathing? Good - expect an offer from us tomorrow"). I'm proud to say that a stringent hiring process is a value we've kept to this day. Like any decent startup, we wore a lot of hats. I was hired as the Web Developer/IT guy/Network admin/QA. One day I was building a Linux firewall (which I'm proud to say ran without incident for 5 years) and the next day writing a test plan.

We grew to 40, scaled back in the bust, and hunkered down. It wasn't the most fun time. Actually, it wasn't fun at all, but I think it matured us. Those two years were like a crash-course in business. Competition was intense and opportunity was scarce. It forced us to focus, and more importantly articulate why we're different.

In 2003, the R&D tap turned back on and since then we've grown to 130, added user experience design as a key capability, opened labs in Eastern Europe, and set up an office in California. We're doing less team-extension far more end-to-end projects, where we're being asked to help flesh out requirements, design the product, build it, test it, and deliver. We're still in the same industrial complex, but with much nicer furniture and paint on the walls. And I now wear two hats - a 50% reduction in hat swapping, which is a good sign we're growing.

What a ride! Here's to the next 10 years.

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