When you’re in the middle of running a growing business, it’s easy to blow past big milestones in a rush to get everything done. When you actually do take stock, well, it’s humbling.
That’s why we took a moment this January to ask everyone about their biggest successes of 2017. It’s extremely satisfying to work with a team talented enough to accomplish all this — and a little bracing, as we seek to do even better in 2018.
Without further ado, our biggest moments of 2017:
A new CEO
Logically, we agreed that Josh stepping down as CEO and me taking over is the biggest piece of “news” that happened at Table XI this year. But in truth it didn’t feel like that much of a change. I took over as CEO gradually, moving into the role from my job as COO as our founder Josh looked to spend more time on strategy and new projects. Josh covered a lot more of the why and what’s next in his blog post on the transition, and I wrote a little about what it means for me personally. The long and short of it: Josh and I are now both more focused on what we're best at, and eager to support our team and our clients in 2018.
A rapidly growing team
The most exciting part of this year for me was all the amazing people we added to our team:
- Santiago Quintana Garcia, developer
- Irene Jang, designer
- Patrick Turley, developer
- Jess Mean, project manager
- Claire Podulka, project manager
- Meara Charnetzki, developer
We already know 2018 will be a big year as well, because our last hire of 2017 was Kelsey Haywood, who we brought on to help us with talent development and recruiting.
... And a family that’s growing even faster
We’ve added people to our team, but our people have also added people to their teams …. That may be a weird way of phrasing it, but this year we’ve had so many weddings and babies it’s starting to feel like it might be contagious.
- Mobile developer Quinn and COO Rolf both welcomed babies in February
- Chef Mark got married in April
- Mobile lead Ed got married in June
- Developer Pat got married in July (and he’s expecting a baby soon!)
- Developer Robin got married in August
- CTO — and one of our first employees — Matt Lineen got married in September
… And we had three furbabies join the TXI family and dramatically improve our #pets Slack channel. Digital Director Rex adopted Clark the cat, project manager Jess adopted Cali the dog and developer Andrew adopted Kona the dog.
2018 will welcome even more additions — including founder Josh’s first child, born Jan. 3.
2 spots on Clutch’s top 15 global developers list
If you’re a client of ours, there’s a good chance we’ve reached out over the last year or two to see if you’d serve as a reference for us on Clutch (and if we haven’t yet, we will). Clutch is like Yelp for professional services companies: We create a profile, and the team there interviews our clients independently to offer an unbiased picture of our work.
We’re thrilled to say that 20 reviews in, Table XI still maintains an almost perfect 4.9 ranking (out of 5 stars). Your kind words helped us earn the ninth spot on Clutch’s list of top Ruby on Rails developers and the eleventh spot on Clutch’s list of top mobile developers. Both of those lists are global, an honor that’s truly mind-blowing. We’re incredibly grateful.
A podcast to push our industry in the right direction
Our own Noel Rappin was an industry leader long before he came to Table XI, and his reputation has only grown here, with two books published in the last two years. In 2017, he started thinking about ways he could have an even bigger impact, and decided to launch the Tech Done Right podcast as a way to give big, important issues in the industry their due. He’s found plenty of advantages to podcasting since — it helped us hire Santiago, after all — but the real joy for all of us is getting more insights from thought leaders in design and development across the software community.
- Episode 10: Kai Haley, leader of the Google Sprint Master Academy, joins us to discuss Google Design Sprints and how they provide a structured way to explore a problem, create a solution and get user feedback, all in five days.
- Episode 15: Doc Norton, CEO of CTO2, explains why velocity isn't always a useful project management metric ,and we all get on soapboxes for our least favorite Agile anti-patterns.
A sense of responsibility to create an inclusive environment and industry
Creating a diverse, inclusive workplace has long been our goal, but in 2017 we pushed those efforts even further. We started our training with an unconscious bias workshop at our all-company retreat and ended with a Second City workshop on how to use improv as a tool for diversity and inclusion.
Around all of that, we worked to educate each other and participate in conversations in our larger community. Judith taught us about her native Catalunya’s efforts for independence. Erin led a talk called “Loss is More,” about how to be a good ally to people struggling with life changes and mental health. Noel shared Carina Zona’s work on creating insightful algorithms (and strove for gender equality and diversity with his podcast guests). And Aly shared her knowledge with other women in the industry at the Chicago Women in Tech conference.
We also put systems into place to take better care of all of our people. Rolf applied all of his design thinking and data science experience to do a clustering analysis of our team and create personas based on our health care needs. Then he researched all the options on the market, finding the best plans, and ways to supplement them where they fell short. The results serve everyone better, with extended coverage to include families and better mental health benefits.
A new way to share our love of design and food
In trying to figure out new ways to share what we know with other communities, we came up with a brilliant plan in 2017: Invite people to learn about Google Design Sprints and, to make sure they come, offer them a dinner prepared by our chef. The events have been a huge success, helping us teach more than 120 people how to identify, prototype and test potential solutions to user problems in just five days.
… And many ways to share our experience with everything else
We’ve also taken our educational show on the road, so to speak, with Table XI experts showing up all over the world:
- Noel published another book, Rails 5 Test Prescriptions, to teach people how to build healthier code. He also presented at Windy City Rails in Chicago, RailsConf in Phoenix and RubyConf in New Orleans.
- Quinn taught a session about React Native mobile development at the Anita Borg Institute
- Several TXI folks volunteered with Code Platoon, teaching veterans how to build new careers as developers
- We hosted the third year of Ops Conf, our conference for the management teams of small and mid-sized development and design firms. And we extended our efforts in the software industry by launching our first “Walkshop”, an executive retreat for CEOs at similar consulting companies to share knowledge and build relationships while hiking through spectacular landscapes.
A global footprint that stretches from L.A. to Singapore and back
In 2017, we came as close as we ever have to a truly round-the-clock business. Thanks in part to happy clients from past overseas projects, we earned several jobs outside of the States, working with an entrepreneur in London, a startup in Singapore and a mission-driven business in Tokyo. We also worked all across America, tackling gaming projects in California and Texas, an edtech project in North Carolina, health care projects in Chicago, and an IoT project in Washington D.C. Our crack team of project managers kept everything running smoothly across time zones and geographies.
The first Table XI product launch in many years
In 2017, we launched Table XI Labs to support employees who want to pursue entrepreneurial endeavors that relate to our business. One of the first products, Everyone Onboard, just launched in beta at the end of 2017. Its software connects people within companies to grow culture, and it’s already finding a foothold. It’s also helping our partners — in fact, it was a client who pushed us to pursue the project in the first place.
You can read all about Everyone Onboard and why we’re choosing to get back into products here. As we go into 2018, we’ll be looking for more opportunities to make everyone’s lives a little better.
Published by: Mark Rickmeier in Culture