We Are Mammoth Is Like a Five Year Old

We Are Mammoth is 5 years old. And after 5 years, we are not a medium-sized corporate entity of 501 or more employees. I don’t even know if we qualify for small business status. Cuz damn, we’re small. Maybe we’re a damn-small business. Do damn-small businesses still have to pay taxes? We did round out the team this year, though. Maybe we’re on the cusp of becoming a medium-sized-damn-small business of 10 employees. Who knows.

Whoooo’s that girl (and boy)?

Over the last year, we welcomed aboard Anthony Bruno, a front-end afficionado. Sam Bennett, a wrangler of both projects and massive catfish. Jennifer Sisson, a front-end dev’r with a penchant for getting under the hood to tweak the gears. Grant Black, a surfer by night, and back-end engineer by day. And Lindsay Sanders, the partner-in-crime to Sam Bennett and kinder-gentler sibling to Michael Sanders. There are now two representatives of the ladies’ demographic. I will note, however, that they crack mom-jokes which make grown-men blush.

What we got for our birthday.

Since 2006, we’ve moved a few times. We started out in a box. Then flooded the bathroom. We then parked in an old, 5-floor factory building on Green st. If you lifted your feet while sitting, the chair would swivel and ya’d roll to the middle of the room. We then had a ladies’ room explode over our heads.

So we moved to a loft building on Racine and Randolph. There turned out to be a gym above us. And dust. And noise. And sweaty people in the stairwell.

So we moved to where we’re at now,  and sat down to work for 2.5 years.

Well, it was time to clean the place up a bit. So, over the past few months we did a little refresh to the space.

It looked like this:

The way things used to be

 And now, looks like this:

The way it shall be forth

Lessons and advice from a 5 year old

Pay vendors on time.

You get the respect of your vendor when they don’t need to remind you to pay them. We deliver work under extraordinary conditions, and need our vendors to do the same. Paying them quickly without fuss is a way to keep everyone happy. Likewise, feel confident about calling out clients who aren’t doing what they can to meet their obligations. It’s a check. Write it.

10% rule

Doing what you love is the easy part. Doing what you don’t love but making it seem like you do, is where the skill lies. We only code or design about 10% of the time. We communicate, coordinate, complain, change, update, back track, and write contracts the other 90%. Just like in show business, showing up is 90% of the job. Ya gotta do it, and ya gotta do it with class.

Don’t kill yourself over it.

Every job has something to offer. Money. Design. Traffic. New tech. High-profile brand work, at least for us, has taken a back seat to transparent client relationships and working history. It’s not perfect, nooooo. But, an ad site which you’ll hate despite all it’s beauty because you almost got divorced building it isn’t a long term career. Passion is great, yes. So great, that there are passion vampires out there who’ll bleed you dry. We do our best to outrun them.

Keep it fresh.

We’ve failed at this at times. But we’ve also looked at the problem wrong. Focus the team on efficiency, communication, and patterns and we’ll always find something fresh, regardless of the project at hand. And just as important is making sure the team understands this practice.

Make checkbox labels clickable.

For the love of Pete, let’s not discuss this one. All checkbox labels should be clickable. Maybe it should be a law.

What’s next

Ka Wai’s new book

Ka Wai will be publishing a refined iteration of his online book, The Developers Code (www.thedeveloperscode.com), this fall. He’s gotten great feedback on the digital version. He’s got plenty of experience to share, and while it’s not the traditional nuts ‘n’ bolts programming manual, it’s a manual for surviving in a nuts ‘n’ bolts programming world.

The new DoneDone and more

We’ve been cranking on a new version of DoneDone, due out at the end of September.It’s a big release. Not a stylish, continuous roll-out of little tiny tweaks. We needed to start from scratch though. Why? Because DoneDone v1 is a touch slow and hard to update. But also, because we’re building 3 or 4 more applications over the next year which will be built on the same architecture. Got trouble tracking time? Gooooood.

More consulting. Better efficiency.

We’ve gotten our programming approach refined to a point where there’s not too many complications in a project once we’re building. The challenging part of a project is really the project management and coordination of running 50 or so websites. We’ll be working on this end of things, oiling the gears our 5 year old consulting business. We’ve now got just the team to do that.

A new company website.

Eh hmmm. Yep.

What makes me happy 5 years later?

I like running a business. I love the autonomy, the oh-shit-ness, and latitude of it all. I also love the team of people here. They don’t freak out. Rather, they stay cool and hold the line. However, 5 years in, the thing I still lose all sense of time over is the UI and UX brainstorms. After 11 years on the job, I still feel like a kid in the candy shop when sketching ideas for things as mundane as  a quicker dropdown. Blush.

Death to the Mammoth?

Long live the Mammoth. Happy birthday We Are Mammoth. Why, I remember just a few years ago, a toilet exploded on your head.