One Year at Willet Inc.
I wouldn't say that I'm a sentimental kind of person. But, when a year comes up at a place of employment, I think that's a good a time as any to look back and reflect on how things have gone; what has changed; those sorts of things.
Some might argue that I don't have the greatest track record in my career, having bounced around at four different positions (including my current position) in the four years since I've graduated. I would argue that those people are probably far too comfortable where they are, but that's not what is important. In the different positions I have been at previously, I have had the opportunity to explore different work styles, development practices, and sample companies big and small.
One year ago tomorrow, I will have successfully been at Willet Inc. for one full year. The first start-up that I've ever really been a part of, and certainly the most unusual of my positions so far.
A bit of background. This time last year, I joined when the company had just two people: a co-op student, and the sole remaining founder, Fraser, an acquaintance of mine with whom I'd regularly played board games. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it was a good time for me to make a change, and I did. Willet Inc. had gone through a few pivots in the past, but with most of the founders having left, there was a development void, and a lot of opportunity. It was a Wild Wild West (minus Will Smith, and the whole spider army thing), ready to be explored, and tamed.
And, though it's been a long way coming, I'd like to think that I've managed to tame a small portion of that wild west. It started with just the three of us building a few simple apps on Shopify, then running some experiments, and finally working our way up to our current product SecondFunnel.
It's just amazing, to me, we what opportunities I've had, and how much has happened. I've been able to lead a team, hire people, see the team grow from two full-time people to six plus co-ops; I've seen our development go from just hacking away to a whole review process with a CI server and everything (starting that part, at least); I've seen Fraser go from coding to not coding (which, frankly, is for the good of the company; he's a much better business person); The things I've been able to do! I even got the chance to visit California for two months, which at first was unnerving but later turned out to be a great experience. Sure, paychecks have been missed a few times, and once we almost didn't get paid at all, but it's all worked out for the better, and we keep developing the product that we need to develop.
I'll be honest, joining a startup early on has been a bit strange for me, and not for the normal reasons. I don't mean that it's strange because of the whole established-company vs startup thing, or even the freedom and responsibilities of working at a startup. No, for me, it was strange because I joined a 1-ish man team (the founder) as an employee: Not as a technical co-founder. It makes sense, of course; Fraser has been at this for the past three-ish years. In that time, there have been multiple pivots, and multiple founders have gone on to do their own thing. To be fair, I don't mind the lack of a title. My business cards, as unused as they tend to be, say #1, and I'm happy with that. I get a big say in how things are developed, and I play an important role in the development of the company, and that's what's important to me.
What else is there to say? It's been a fantastic year, and I can't wait to see what the next year has in store! Hopefully, I'll see things grow even more than they already have (maybe, with your help, dear reader)!