My cursor has been blinking for quite some time, floating in this empty document. So many things have happened over the last year that I’m finding it quite difficult deciding where to begin. Let’s keep it chronologic & start at the beginning. No, not my first day at Adimian, the very beginning.
I first heard of the boutique shop named Adimian back in 2011. Maarten, a friend I met during my days at college, started a new career as a Python software developer at a recently founded consultancy shop. Following a pleasant cooperation during his college internship, Maarten decided to join his intern mentor, Eric Gazoni, who started his own company. Even though we hadn’t met yet, through Maarten’s stories I learned much in advance on how Eric emphasized customer caretaking & wanted the company to be an example of a people centered workplace. Years later, 2016 to be precise, Eric & me had our first talk.
As I’ve had collected quite a few interviews over the years (I had been through 3 jobs in 2 years, yikes) I was expecting the regular HR pitch: “Why should I hire you?”, “What are your strengths & weaknesses?”, etc. In reality, I was part of an open conversation, as we were 2 people meeting in a bar & having a drink, talking about our life experiences, what we do & how we do it, what we enjoy & what we don’t. Before I knew it we had been talking for hours and were forced to schedule a second slot to continue sharing our thoughts. Eventually, it took me over another year to finally make up my mind & sign a contract for the position of Business Developer at Adimian.
Now hang on, let me explain to you why this wasn’t a “Love at first sight” story for me (even though somehow it was). However I only felt a positive vibe after talking to my new potential employer, I did have many questions on my mind that couldn’t be ignored:
- I come from a background of large enterprise companies. What is going to change when joining a (back then) 3 man company?
- The plan of action is pretty obscure: “Here’s a laptop, grow the company.” How am I going to pull this off?
- What if I fail? Being part of a small software shop implies your actions having a huge impact on the success of the company, making this a risky endeavor for Eric most of all (as a non-developer, I would not generate any guaranteed ROI from the get go).
- I’m going to be working from home pretty much all the time. Won’t I feel stranded on my remote work-from-home island? (This was before we opened our office in Brussels).
- My technical background is all but up-to-date after all these years, how am I going to make up for that?
The list goes on. Even though I felt extremely excited thinking of tackling this new challenge lurking on the horizon, I felt there were so many things that could backfire & required lots of thought.
In the end, none of these conditions would weigh up against the aspects that make Adimian what it is, and why I chose to join the company:
- People focused: each and every individual joining the company becomes an essential part of a well-organized team, in which every member has his or her specific characteristics & expertise.
- The unbeatable balance between work & life: no fixed hours, no fixed location. A relationship between employer & employee based on mutual trust.
- No more traveling: I came from a life where I used to spend 2 to 3 hours a day standing still in traffic. Needless to say, removing this out of anyone’s daily routine is an absolute gift.
- Horizontal structure, no bureaucracy: everyone is treated equally, and your opinion is as valid as any other.
- The people working there.
Just over a year later, much has changed. We grew the company and broke the 10 employee-count barrier. We further developed our customer relationships. We increased our visibility in the software landscape. We gave back to the Python community by organizing multiple meetups in Brussels, going to the EuroPython in Rimini & sponsoring the Python.org foundation. We established valuable partnerships & met tons of talented people in the process. We provided trainings & workshops. We opened our first physical office in Brussels. We are in the process of adding students to the company to do their internship. We are launching Python.be, the Belgian counterpart of Python.org.
Our booth at Europython.
As things have been moving as fast as they did, it is hard to plan long term & tell how the company will look one year from now. All in all I can say I’m grateful to have been given the opportunity to work here. It has been a crazy ride watching the company grow from a small boutique shop to the entity it is today. I’ve met the nicest people along the way & couldn’t be more happy, having been able to introduce them to the company & being able to call them colleagues today.
Curious to find out what I’ll be able to write here next year.
To wrap this up, here are my personal expectations & things on my bucket list for 2019:
- Focus on the educational landscape in Belgium.
- Further increase the employee count, in a controlled & well-thought way: embrace growth, but don’t rush it.
- Meet new customers.
- Continue the Python Apero’s (meetups), but also add small-scale Adimian workshops (technical hands-on).
- Contribute more to the Adimian.be blog (this is a start, right?!).
- Learn more Python, improve my technical skills (It has been nearly 10 years since I decently wrote code myself).
- Commencez à suivre des cours Français (mon Français est terrible).
Brussel's office, sneak peak, more pictures coming soon.