Yesterday marked my one-year anniversary of working for appendTo. Its been such a fantastic year that I felt it deserved a post dedicated to reflecting on some of the things I love about working for such a great organization.
One of the more unique aspects of appendTo is that we are a completely virtual company. There is no brick-and-mortar physical location for the company. Every single employee of the company all the way up to the CEO works remotely. Note that I didn't say works from home. That's because one of the core philosophies of the organization is that employees should be able to "work from anywhere." Case in point, on more than one occasion I was able to get work done from the passenger seat of our car as my wife drove when we went on a weekend road trip. I love the freedom that this kind of flexibility affords...its very refreshing.
There's also a subtle, inherent level of trust that comes with the fact that everyone is working remotely. I've heard and read of the (whether real or perceived) sense of general mistrust that some remote workers seem to sometimes experience when they work for companies where not everyone, and specifically not all of the people they work directly with, don't work remotely as well. I can't speak to such a situation, as I've never experienced it myself, but I can definitely say that I have never felt it at appendTo. On the contrary, I can honestly say that I work more closely and effectively with my teams at appendTo than I have at previous jobs where I physically sat in the same room with the people I worked with. I believe that is a due to a combination of both company culture, and...
This has to be my favorite part of the job. The people I work with at appendTo are incredible people that have made all the difference in the world. Not only do I get to work with these tremendous people, but I've made some friendships that will last for a long, long time. Daily I get to work with the likes of Doug Neiner, Ryan Niemeyer, Nicholas Cloud, Jordan Kasper, Kent Safranski, John Kellar and Mike Hostetler, but I've also been able to connect with alumni who have since, for whatever reason, moved on to inferior opportunities elsewhere (just kidding fellas...really...I know you're all in a great place, but...we all miss ya) like Jonathan Creamer, Jim Cowart and Elijah Manor. The really incredible part is thats just scratching the surface and doesn't include the rest of the amazing people that work on other projects or that I've not had a chance to work closely with yet. I'm really looking forward to that.
These are all incredibly smart, genuinely good and humble people that are truly a joy to work with and for. I have learned much from all of them about many things even beyond the technical. Not only have I become a better developer, but a better person as a result of working with them.
Bring your own device
appendTo did not give me a computer when I came on board. I am responsible for providing my own equipment to accomplish my work...including software (in most cases). There are some exceptions to this where there are tools that I might need to accomplish a specific job for a client, but for the most part, I am responsible for acquiring the tools I use to accomplish my work. There are all kinds of upsides to this.
First and foremost is that I get to choose the tools that I use to get my work done. I'm not handcuffed by requirements to use a specific set of tools to get a job done where there are often better ones available out there. Even if/when other tools might not be better, it may be that they're cheaper (free?) and do the job sufficiently. Ultimately, it doesn't matter...the point is, its my choice...and I LOVE that. On top of that, I get to keep those tools (laptop, software licenses, etc) if I were to ever decide to move on (but seriously...why would I?!).
So, in case you couldn't tell, I TOTALLY LOVE the BYOD policy.
OK I guess thats probably enough gushing. It might be an easy conclusion to draw from the above, but I can honestly say that working at appendTo is without question the best job I've ever had. I can only hope the future turns out as bright as the first year has been.