By Najaf Ali
Happy Bear Software doesn’t have a mission statement. I started the company as a vehicle for my contracting and it grew into a small web development agency. There’s no high-level purpose, or at least there wasn’t one when I started hiring people.
However, there does seem to be a common theme. In the running of the company I’ve had to learn many skills in order to keep the lights on. We train apprentices up from scratch and our senior developers are constantly working on their skills. We’ve taught hundreds of developers to build more secure software and are constantly trying to introduce better ways of doing things in our client projects.
The common thread in all of this is that our company has the effect of making people better at their jobs. In my case it makes me a better manager, marketer, salesperson, financial controller, and everything else I need to be to run the business. Most of the time it makes people better at building software. That means making the right software, making it faster, making it easier to use, making it more secure, or making it easier to reason about.
At the same time, there are three self-reinforcing goals that the company has on purpose. It’s difficult to achieve any of these goals if we don’t also meet the other two. Personally, I don’t really want to run a business that doesn’t meet all three.
- The company has to be a good place to work. If the company is not a good place to work then we won’t be able to hire good people or get good people to stay.
- The company has to do a good job for our clients. If the company doesn’t do a good job for our clients then in then we won’t establish a loyal client base, and can’t hope to keep paying salaries or retain a profit.
- The company has to be profitable. If the company isn’t profitable then it becomes extremely fragile, and won’t survive to be a good place to work or to do a good job for our clients.
That summarises the high-level purpose of the company. We don’t want to change the world or be the “best” technical consultancy on the planet. I’d rather us be a good Ruby on Rails consultancy that helps people learn, makes a bit of money, does right by our team and helps our clients meet their goals.