Last month Admios turned 10. As I reflect back on the last decade, I am proud of all we have accomplished. Code written by Admios developers runs at major banks, hedge funds, and dozens of silicon valley startups and enterprises. It's easy to think the road to our current success was linear and the result of a few strategic decisions. In reality, it was more of a spiral, full of challenges and lessons learned. However great our accomplishments, those lessons are what have stuck with me the most.
Culture is more important than strategy
In a fast moving company, it's impossible to micro manage every decision (or every line of code) that gets produced. When those decisions get made, your team doesn't refer back to the latest strategy powerpoint for the year. They fall back on the commonly accepted behavior in the office; your culture. If that culture is strong, it reinforces excellence and great work will be produced. If it's a culture of stress and shoddy work, no strategy document can correct that.
The culture at Admios is the single area of which I am most proud. Our team is constantly focused on producing quality code, communicating openly and truthfully, learning new skills and mentoring one another. It shows in our work, our happiness, and our results.
The most important investment you'll make is your people. Invest in the whole person, not just their pocketbook.
Many folks will tell you a company's most important asset is its employees. However, this usually translate into simply paying good salaries. That isn't enough. Investing in your team should cover the full well being of the individual.
- Tools- All employees should have a comfortable office, all the tools to do their job well (fast computer, large monitor, desk, great chair, etc)
- Learning - Bench time between accounts to spend studying new technology and funds for training and certification
- Growth - A clear line of communication to management so employees know how to advance
- Health - Provide great health insurance, paid gym membership and opportunities to play as a team, care about your team
- Phases of life - Support employees through all the phases of their live (moves, marriage, children) with flexible working hours and creative solutions
Talent is not a local phenomenon
There are great developers across the world. If you're not looking broadly for talent you're severely limiting your team. When we first started Admios, our team was exclusively based in San Francisco. A year later we started Admios SA because we recognized that in order to scale we needed a second development center. In Panama we found a great pool of smart, talented developers eager to contribute to our growing firms. But even then our thinking was too narrow. Over the years we've hired developers from all across Central and South America and our firm is the better for it. We never would have been able to achieve our current success if we had stayed narrowly focused on a single geography.
Don't stagnate - Actively seek out new challenges
As your firm grows there is a tendency to stick to what you know. Inertia sets in. While this route may be familiar, it's not the route to long term strength. The world around you is constantly changing and your marketplace will be as well, If you're not constantly running small experiments with new lines of business, new approaches to sales, and new technologies, you will fall behind. These experiments don't detract from your core business, they are a necessity. Without them you'll never adapt, much less discover new areas for growth.
These are just a few of the many lessons learned over the past decade. With any luck the next 10 years will hold just as many surprises and many new lessons.
Author: Peter Carrubba