A question I get quite often. It feels good to know that many people are interested in how we’re doing but sometimes it’s tough to give a solid answer.
Because I’m so involved in building the company each day. On a weekly basis, the changes do not feel so huge to me so normally I just answer like:
“It’s going well, we have some nice projects going on and a new colleague just started / is about to start”.
But much more is going on of course. Let’s look back 11 months, from Lightbase’s birth on July 18th 2017 until today. I’ll focus on the two topics that matter the most: people and projects.
Since Lightbase was founded I have recruited about ten new colleagues. The start was pretty hectic. The recruitment and hiring process was completely new to me but I did not have time to get used to it, because there were projects knocking on our door. It is not easy to recruit people for an unestablished company. You don’t yet have a fine culture or team to offer, no fancy office, no good track record with projects and stability. And no certainty. Lightbase might as well have died within a few months. But it didn’t, and now it’s here to stay!
From the first three hires, two didn’t turn out to be a match. One left after a month, the other more recently, after about eight months. The third one is a good match and is still going strong 💪. Lessons were learned. In the meanwhile the amount of work grew steadily and I continued recruiting. As of next month, at Lightbase’s first birthday, the team will consist of seven fulltimers and a few consultants. Talented people I respect a lot and I realize that without them, Lightbase would be nothing. One of my most important tasks is to offer them a fun place to work, in a fun team with fun and challenging projects, opportunities to grow, and as little bullshit as possible.
A core aspect of a fun place to work is the office. Last January we moved from a bunch of co-working desks to our own space in the same building at a very central location. We now have some more freedom to decorate it as how we see fit. So it is a slight improvement, but the workspace itself still is far from ideal. Sitting behind a computer all day is not healthy and I feel it’s important to provide in a centrally located, clean and healthy workspace with standing desks, healthy lunches and daylight. Where we are now, the location is perfect and the standing desks are there, but that’s about it. I’m currently looking for a better place around Utrecht central station.
We really had a kickstart with a big app project on which we are continuously working on a lot. Just like our people, our projects are very important to us. We are very committed to deliver the best we’ve got to our clients. And these clients turn out to be returning with new projects. This two-way loyalty feels very good and I wouldn’t want to work any other way. Next month, for example, we will start the development of an exciting app project (for a client I have worked with years ago) that is potentially life saving for newborns in the third world. More on that later.
Now really feels like the time to expand and use our knowledge and experience for more projects. My role as founder is, now more than ever, shifting from programmer to business developer and project leader. Since a few weeks I am dedicating a significant amount of my time to landing new projects. I started with a large pitch we did for an app project to support school teachers. A pitch in which I put my soul and many hours and really thought I nailed, only to find out we ended second out of eight competitors. That was tough, but I’m more motivated than ever to continue this journey. Next time I’ll work even harder.
We’ll continue to work on our mission: making digital products to be proud of. No boring compliance and administrative IT, but top-notch apps, chatbots and performant microservices. Let me know if we should talk 😉