2013 Volano Retrospective

December 23, 2013

So we’re coming to another year end at Volano Solutions and I wanted our team to think back on 2013 and their big takeaways for the year. This is the blogging equivalent of a sit-com playing footage of past episodes in absence of creative plot ideas. But Volano has had a strong year and it’s important to take stock of where we’ve come from and what we’re learning. Volano nearly doubled in size this year and it wasn’t just the company. Our procreative staff brought three new babies into the world (two girls and a boy). We worked on innovative, challenging projects with long term clients and new ones. We developed Action Card (www.actioncardapp.com) and got some early buy-in from some prestigious names in the franchise world and are planning a booth at our first trade show. We added people to our staff whose strengths complement each other and whose differences enrich the culture and environment of our newly expanded office space downtown. Here is what some of our developers had to say about 2013, from the heartfelt to the not for the faint of heart.

“2013 was a fantastically transformative year for me. I joined Volano Solutions in April after spending the majority of my IT career in positions that felt like dead ends, in one way or another. I can’t express how thankful I am for being part of such a great team of smart, funny, and talented people. Plus, the technology I get to use and skills I learn every day are an order of magnitude beyond what I could have hoped for with my previous employer.”

– Rob Larkin

“In 2013 I applied qualities learned in my career to my Jiu Jitsu, and qualities learned in my Jiu Jitsu to my career. At work I started applying the principle of blending with an opposing force: if a software tools package wants you to code it a certain way, just do it the way it wants and use it to its full advantage, instead of trying to shoe-horn it into your pre-conceived idea of how it should work. On the mats, I became more resolved to impose my will on my opponent, to set expectations and make it be the way I want it to be. I won a gold medal in a Jiu Jitsu tournament, but so far have not medaled at work.”

– David Carnley

“2013 has been an awesome year for Volano and I am thankful for the many things that have made this so:”
• Working with clients that are long time partners.
• Working with new clients and partners.
• Building a great team adding six new employees.
• Expanding and opening up our office space.
• Putting a new product, Action Card, into beta.
• Adding customers to Steelwool.

-Don Stavneak

For me I think 2013 was a year of discovery. As someone who does not build software applications, I have an outsider’s perspective looking in. I’ve come to realize that many factors are at play when seeking and fulfilling projects whose end result makes the daily work life of our clients’ employees easier. Finding clients whose needs meet our area of expertise and whose culture allows us the room to do our job well are imperative. When you combine those two, you’re well-positioned for success. Communication, as in any industry is imperative, from expectations to ongoing management. Finding and keeping software developers who are agile, curious and collaborative technicians and can also effectively interface with non-technical people is a must. It is intellectually dishonest to categorize all technical staff as being only capable of hammering out code at a desk. We say ‘no’ to a lot of otherwise capable software developer candidates and go after the ones that can walk and chew gum at the same time and that leads to a lot of ongoing work with very happy clients. We build software as a competitive advantage for our clients and our competitive advantage in the marker is our people.