The year 2012 at We Are Mammoth was laden with change, progress, stress, growth, and satisfaction, all mixed up to produce a different flavor of job almost everyday of the year. Here’s a little bit about our year here at the shop.
We added 13 people to our staff and also parted ways with a couple. At the beginning of 2012, we hadn’t anticipated how diverse a group of people we’d have headed into 2013. But here we are. We’ve begun building a design and UX team, reinforced our front-end development group, added a couple of project managers, and continued to build our core application development team. This larger team is spread through 5 states: Illinois, Florida, California, Texas and Arkansas.
Out of sheer necessity, we spent a ton of time on our onboarding process for new hires. We set a couple of simple, but challenging goals for this. When a new team member walks in the door, their computer and software should be configured, their payroll should be wired up, and they should become productive within 2-3 business days. These goals help ensure new team members feel well oriented and useful immediately in those first few days. It helps us as a business, obviously, because these new team members aren’t sitting around on their hands waiting for something to do.
Be kind, be merry.
In 2012 we realized just how important camaraderie, communication and empathy are to our team, regardless of the technical role a person fills here. Technical prowess is paramount, yes. But if you’re maverick, dismissive, or interruptive to our team’s workflow or the business’ vision, you won’t be here for long. We don’t need that. We’ve got a staff of folks who manage to kick ass in their particular domain while being pleasant human beings to work with every day. They do exist.
We also took a bit of time for company soul searching in 2012. We’ve been around for six years and in that time we’ve built sites and apps for a broad swath of brands and industries. In 2009, though, we were hired by a large benefit consulting company to build a retirement management tool for a technology titan’s workforce out east. At the same time, we started work on DoneDone, our first product. Both realms of work dealt with a single topic: communication between teams at work. With the former, we created an app which helped an employer communicate an employee’s full compensation package, helping them understand how compensation turns into income during retirement. On the latter, we created a tool which improved communication between various production teams (clients, dev, design, etc.) during the most stressful time of a project: testing.
Long story short, the past three years have been full of the same. So, about mid-2012, we re-designed our website and other collateral to more formally describe what we do. And that is? We build web apps that help companies around the world do a better job communicating, organizing, and hiring.
DoneDone, our hosted issue/bug tracking tool, got a complete overhaul this year. Our second in as many years. The front-end site, www.getdonedone.com, was redesigned top to bottom, and the app itself was rebuilt with speed and mobile responsiveness in mind. Has it helped sell the tool? You bet. In addition to some marketing, DoneDone continues to grow between 7% and 10% month over month.
The most exciting thing for me in the past several months has been the new product we started building in September of 2012. It’s called Kin, and it’s a way for small companies like ours to manage employee and workplace communication. If you ever had trouble updating your bank information for payroll at work, or figuring out which health plan is best for you, well, that’s what Kin is all about. It’s a digital homage to the Mammoth team’s accomplishments in 2012. While we doubled in size, we doubled down on efforts to be a coherent, effective workplace. We think Kin will help other shops do the same. We’re looking to get Kin out into the world this March or April.
We’re already well underway in 2013. So what’s new? Well, after 5.5 years of tenure, our good friend and technical director, Mustafa Shabib, is leaving Mammoth and taking an engineering gig at Amazon. We’ll miss him for sure.
As for the rest of the team, our prerogative is to keep on improving We Are Mammoth as a workplace. Because we’re spread out across the country, it’s super important to keep a pulse on culture, productivity, and sentiment. A couple of ways we’re doing that is with 360 reviews, quarterly trips to Chicago, almost-constant video conferencing, and weekly learning sessions where we buy lunch for everyone and someone on the team takes an hour to teach us all something new. We also send this cool little east-german flashlight from the 60’s to someone new each month who stood out for their teamwork.
Our plan from a business perspective is to get DoneDone and Kin to pull their own weight here. Our company has a lot to say, and most of it is via the workflows of these two products. We’ve got enough grease on our elbows and feathers in our caps to know we’re on the right track.
2012 was a pivotal year for We Are Mammoth. We were able to define ourselves and redefine our company. We did a huge amount of consulting work while still managing to dedicate half the team to building new products. If there’s anything I’ve learned about creating, managing, and working at a place like We Are Mammoth, it’s that I walk the line every single day. There is no start, there is no end. There is only the here and now. So, with that, happy (belated) 2013 and all of it’s 365 little opportunities.