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.
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, MirrorConf and RubyConf Portugal, several meetups through the year while keeping a sustainable work environment where people like to work. I always struggle to answer this because I don’t have the contradictory, and for us it’s challenging, but it never felt like a Herculean task to pull off. After putting some thought on the subject, I believe that the primary justification is how we share responsibilities throughout the team, keeping a flat structure, while still have a culture of accountability.
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.
It has already been a year since my first day at Subvisual. I was no stranger to working with this team then. I made a point of joining the RubyConf Portugal organisation team ever since the idea first came up and I've been involved in all the meetups and activities that I could. Nonetheless, I thought a recap of the events, both those that led me here and those since I've been here, would be a fit way to celebrate the achievement.
We've all been there. We spend days, maybe weeks, planning something. We gather all the information and devise the ideal solution for that particular problem. But something happens, and our solution is no longer viable. It no longer solves the problem. The question now is, what's your backup plan?
Have you ever found yourself working alone for what appears to be too damn long ?
Over the last 4 years, I've had the pleasure of helping out designers on their first experiences in the web. Typically they come with a lot of questions and insecurities, usually all concerning two things: Typography and colors.
I'm proud to introduce the top geeks: Miguel and Fernando.
As designers, we get to learn new things every day. Most of them are usually related to the way we discuss design with others, which tends to be a bit chaotic most of the times. Although I'm far from being an expert in these matters, I've come a long way since my fresh-out-of-college design years and I'd like to share some of the little things that we can do/say/think to communicate better with the rest of the team.
There's just one thing I need to be ok: alone time. Being by myself is how I recharge and find the motivation to keep going. Knowing this, just imagine how sweet it sounded when I was invited to go to the UK to work with a client at his office. It happened last week, and it was music to my ears.
On the 1st of August we started out our internship at Subvisual. The main goal was developing a new product consisting of a financial app that would deal with the process of organizing and registering all the financial data of their organizations. Our target audience would be early stage enterprises like tech startups and small tech companies. Growing a business healthfully is a huge effort by itself, so why not clear the path of minor tasks that are simultaneously so important? So the problem was identified and our opportunity was here.
Another week, another weekly. For this edition, Gabriel asked me to talk a bit about my thesis and share what I have been learning and doing so far.
Our new office is great. The team is growing, so the extra space and meeting rooms help maintain our sanity. We'll be hosting the next editions of [BragaJS][bragajs] and [BragaUX][bragaux], so it's the perfect excuse for you to visit us and see it.
For this weekly, I want to recall how we first started doing code reviews. We were young and striving to follow the great minds in this field. So Miguel and I decided to revisit our old pull requests and read the comments.
The secret sauce: isn’t it what everyone is looking for? To find some kind of secret sauce? Imagine how amazing it would be if you could just grab a bottle of an exotic substance, and then add a few drops of it to anything. This strange liquid would somehow turn an absolutely normal object into an amazing, delightful, joyful item.
I'm lucky to have a friend who really knows how to bring people together. He is the brains behind everything our group of friends does, whether it's a Christmas dinner, a summer picnic, or a trip somewhere. We know that he makes sure it happens.
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.
Starting a fresh, new project is a wonderful feeling. It is immaculate, filled with ambitious expectations, with an endless world of exciting possibilities that tingle our creative brains.
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.
Products are designed and built by teams.
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. It can be your mom calling and saying that the neighbour just won a fridge in some competition, a friend updating his LinkedIn status with a new executive position or the well known TechCrunch articles announcing the new funding round that some startup just closed. And then we have the books, all those books, some of them inspirational books, or self-help books bragging about success, wealth and fame. They all end with, ’you just need to do this, this and this like millionaire x, y and z’.
In this blog post, I will share how we plan, create and send our weekly newsletter that has helped us improve cooperation, communication and responsibility within the team.
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 had our first offsite experience in May when we drove to the beautiful Gerês and spent 3 days blowing off steam, having fun and talking lightly about some of our projects.
Join our talented team at sunny Braga, Portugal.
This was the first year of Group Buddies. One whole year creating web applications, dealing with clients, teaching people and having loads of fun while doing it. At the time of making a balance, I have to say: this was a great year for us. I already wrote about how we got here in "This is our story". Let me now embrace this opportunity to tell you what we've been through in 2013.
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.
We have been wanting to bring our blog to life for a while now, and that day has finally come. Let me take this opportunity to tell you how we got to where we are today.