By Roberto Machado
It always strikes me when someone has to explain what product they are working on and struggle to formulate a concise sentence that is easy to understand. Being an Elevator Pitch or a more techie product explanation, you should instinctively be able to explain what you are doing. Usually, this is a smell for the lack of direction in the team. If you start asking a question, you will notice the absence of a product vision.
We had a blast in the last three years with RubyConf Portugal. Seriously, it was one of the most pleasuring things to do and we can not thank enough everyone that helped us put this together. All of you that attended the conference, all the speakers, sponsors, and volunteers, thank you again for all the support. But friends, it's time for a pause. We will not be organizing RubyConf Portugal 2017.
This is the second time that I write this text. Naively I deleted the first version, leaving no chance of recovery, which caused me deep frustration. Instead of panicking about this, I took a walk, and a series of deep breaths and here I am writing the second version.
Often people ask me how a small team like ours can have relative financial success and still have time to organize two international conferences and several meet-ups while keeping a sustainable work environment where people like to work. I always struggle to answer this.
One of these days I was reflecting on the similarities that we have at Subvisual. It is true that we are notoriously different in our personalities, backgrounds, and experiences, but what were the common characteristics that accidentally or by choice we all have? It's easy to spot the values that we share as a company being present in all of us. However, sometimes it's hard to identify if they were consequences of joining this team or if they were already there.
We have been working on expanding to a new location for a while now. We love Braga, and it will continue to be to be our home and HQ, but now we have a new office in Boston, MA. I will explain our motivations to do so, and our plans for the following months.
Summer is coming, and most of us are looking for things to do during the summer when we have way too much free time. That's why we decided to create an opportunity for you to spend that time investing in yourself by learning and practicing the craft of software design and development.
About four years ago, when our company was still taking its first steps and hardly making any money, we invested 250€ to support a small ruby conference called RubyNorte. Since we only had 200€ in our bank account, we actually had to put the extra 50€ from our own pockets. As naive and premature as it was, it is a perfect example of how much we value community, and how it is at the core of our company's culture.
A lot happened in 2015 around here at the now called Subvisual. I thought that I should share a recap with all of you, not only to boost our egos a bit by reviewing all the astonishing work accomplished last year, but also to lift the veil for what's coming in 2016. We have set bold goals for the current year, and as scary as it seems to share them with you, it will add an extra layer of commitment since we expect to be held accountable by all of you. Let's start by briefly recapping our last year.
We all hear or read stories of success, they are everywhere. What most of these materials fail to give you is the scope. What was the scope of their research? How big is their sample to prove you that their recipe is the right one? Have they compared the habits of successful people with the ones of folks that only had failure in their lives? Is there any correlation between the groups, successful individuals vs. unsuccessful individuals? I will not even mention their definition of success. Let’s just talk about the scope.
Why would a group of people as young as we were start a company? We had no relevant entrepreneurial experience, we were young and straight out of university, so we’ve come to expect that question. Part of the answer is that we couldn’t find a company that would allow us to work on the things that we were passionate about, while obsessively honing our skills. But also, and maybe even more importantly, we were friends. Talent and ambition played a part too, but that friendship became the cornerstone of everything we’ve built. Three years on, and that remains true. We are proud of these roots, humbled even.
We are launching two apprenticeships for this summer starting in the end of June. We are looking for highly curious people that are eager to learn more about the magic world of the Web and Mobile. If you are a newly-graduate, finishing your master's degree or just trying to improve your craft, this is a unique opportunity to learn side by side with our amazing team. We don't believe anyone should work for free, so this will be a remunerated apprenticeship.
Every once in a while people ask us what tools do we use as part of our processes. Not long ago, at a workshop I conducted on about Web Project Management, I was able to introduce a couple of free tools that we consider indispensable. So I came up with the idea of listing all the amazing software that we use every day, hoping it can be helpful to anyone reading this.