So it has been one month since I joined endjin; time to draw breath and reflect on my journey so far.
A little about me
A year ago I was sat outside a sunny coffee shop in Perth, Western Australia. My family and I moved there from the UK 6 years earlier, and I had a great job and a wonderful lifestyle. But the draw of family and friends back home was strong and so, as we finished up our long machiatos, we made plans to pack up once again and head back to the UK.
A few months later while researching companies I might like to work for, a colleague of mine pointed me at endjin. Their blend of strategy, technology, cloud and thought leadership immediately got my attention. At the time I was working as a principal consultant and found myself having more and more conversations with customers about software strategy and innovation. When we arrived in the UK I emailed endjin my CV along with a brief introduction. I was delighted to get a quick response.
My first in-person encounter with endjin was in a sushi bar in London: an informal get-to-know-you chat with Howard and Matthew, co-founders of the company. We had some good food, the significance of which would only become apparent to me after I had joined, and a good chat about... well anything and everything that interested us. It was clear we shared many of the same experiences, frustrations and aspirations having all come from a similar software development background. Howard and Matthew painted a picture of a unique and somewhat altruistic company helping customers through disciplined innovation, technical excellence and thought leadership, where employees are high achieving 'Endjineers' who share the same values having come through endjin's unique apprentice-style career development programme.
I left the sushi bar with a full stomach, somewhat intrigued, and tiny bit suspicious that perhaps they were just good at telling me what I wanted to hear. I would later comment to my wife that endjin sounded like the kind of consulting company that I wish I had started.
I attended a second interview at endjin's office a few weeks later having a fairly good idea of what to expect. The invitation that I received was copied to all staff and contained some information about me including my salary expectation! Transparency is a big deal at endjin. Information is open and available to all within the company and is something I really believe in. I do however, admit to being slightly sheepish as walked through the door and went about trying to justify my "seniority".
Fortunately, the interview went well and I accepted an offer to join as a Principal one month later.
A week before my first day I received a hand delivered box full of goodness, a brand new Toshiba Kira laptop, set of Plantronics C-520M headphones, Crumpler screen protector, USB key with orientation guide, MSDN subscription and all the other miscellaneous software I could want. This was my working from home / commute to London swag, nice!
On my first day I was presented with my office dev rig, a second pair of Plantronics headphones, choice of keyboard (ergonomic or standard), mouse and Kuando Busylight. I spend a lot of my time in front of a computer and clearly this was to make my life as comfortable and frictionless as possible.
To top it off every Endjineer has a Herman Miller desk and chair. Ok, I'll level with you, the desk does great job of supporting my 3 monitors and my chair is comfy and reassuringly heavy but I have no idea who Herman Miller is nor why he chose to design a chair with so many knobs!
I was fortunate to be joining the company at the same time as James Broome and our induction was, let's say, extensive. Most induction processes involve getting shown the toilets, the fire exits and perhaps a short presentation on the history of the company. Our induction process went on for the entire week! We ran through a range of exercises that helped us get to know the company, and each other, as well as ourselves. We worked out how to "pitch ourselves" to customers & partners, we updated our LinkedIn profiles, learned about the strengths and weaknesses of everyone in the company. We even wrote our own press release. To keep energy levels up and to help with the team bonding process everyone in the company went out for lunch at a different restaurant every day.
Get busy doing
Since our induction week things have been a bit of a whirlwind. I have helped run a drains-up technical workshop to plan out a three year product development project for a leading actuarial firm, and the last two weeks have been busy with a New Product Development (NPD) workshop and getting to see endjin's disciplined innovation process in full flow. The NPD workshop was a fantastic learning experience for me and something that I'm really excited about since it truly differentiates endjin from other technology consulting companies.
In between the workshops and early morning bacon, egg and black pudding sandwiches, I have been getting up to speed with endjin's extensive IP which underpins much of our software delivery, and have been helping drive marketing activities for Q4, in particular the run up to our Future Decoded slot on November 10^(th) in London which promises to be a great day. Finally, I've been keeping abreast of the latest advancements on Microsoft Azure including Key Vault, Batch and Revolution Analytics.
Meat, greet and be merry
I was lucky to have joined two weeks before the company's main social event: a day of eating, drinking and general merriment at Meatopia, a festival for meat lovers held in London's Tobacco Dock. The food was exquisite and plentiful, it was the perfect occasion for getting to know colleagues.
It's not about billability, it's about delivering value!
Having spent most of my career working as a consultant it is great to see a company that focuses on delivering value rather than chasing high utilisation. It has been interesting to see how non-billable time is being used to provide more value to customers through investment in IP, Open Source, product development, R&D and knowledge leadership, allowing endjin to deliver better solutions faster and so the cycle continues. This is not only a far more sustainable model but is far more rewarding environment for all involved.
Too good to be true?
The commute into London isn't ideal and the sheer volume of new information has at times been overwhelming, but so far I've been pleasantly surprised that the picture painted to me at our first meeting in the sushi bar has been remarkably close to reality. I have a exciting challenge ahead and huge opportunity to grow while helping the business grow, and I'm not talking about the size of my waist line!