Running a Virtual Company

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These are the sides from the presentation I made at the CTO school meetup in the New York City.

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Running a Virtual Company

  1. 1. Running a Virtual Company Yakov Fain, co-founder of Farata Systems and SuranceBay, USA
  2. 2. “I  got  an  idea.  Let’s  create  a  startup”     A  friend  of  a  friend  
  3. 3. Early  2006   •  I’m  not  happy  with  Java  offerings  for  the  client  side   •  Met  two  seasoned  developers  who  were  not  happy  with  JavaScript   •  Adobe  acquires  MacroMedia  and  releases  a  promising    RIA  framework  Flex  2   •  Let’s  learn  Flex  and  write    a  book  about  it    
  4. 4. Let’s  create  a  consulKng  company  
  5. 5. Do  we  need  an  office  like  this?  
  6. 6. Or  like  this?  
  7. 7. Who’s  going  to  work  in  our  office?   Lawyer   HR   Bookkeeper   Accountant   Payroll   Salesman  
  8. 8. Who’s  going  to  work  in  our  office?   A  lawyer   HR   Bookkeeper   Accountant   Payroll   Salseman  
  9. 9. How  did  we  get  projects   Sales  force   1.  Tech.  wriKng,  teaching,   speaking       2.  Former  Customers  
  10. 10. How  did  we  find  people   1.  Personal  ConnecKons  in  Eastern  Europe     2.  Speaking  at     conferences  in     Ukraine     3.  Recording     audio  podcasts     (non-­‐technical)        
  11. 11. Where  to  Open  an  Office?  
  12. 12. Where  to  Open  an  Office?  
  13. 13. Recrui'ng!!!   “Ideas  are  a  dime  a  dozen.  People   who  implement  them  are  priceless.”     Mary  Kay  Ash  
  14. 14. How  we  Aaract  Talent  from   Overseas   •  Ability  to  work  flex  hours   •  Ability  to  work  in  your  own  town   •  CompeKKve  pay   •  Work  with  seasoned  developers  
  15. 15. Hiring   •  We  don’t  hire  teams   •  We  don’t  hire  juniors  (too  expensive)     People  must  be  capable  of  doing  independent  work     and  communicate  well   •  Each  person  goes  through  phone/skype  technical  interviews.     If  we  are  not  VERY  impressed,  we  offer  a  candidate  paid                  test  assignment   • 
  16. 16. Retaining  Good  People   •  Between  consulKng  projects,  they  work  on  our   product     •  People  need  to  be  moKvated:  pay  +  flexibility  +   challenging  work     •  Moving  people  from  development  to   maintenance,  if  it  beaer  fits  them       •  Encouraging  people  to  aaend  trainings  and   conferences  
  17. 17. Firing   •  Didn’t  become  producKve  in  2-­‐3  months     •  Prima  donnas   •  People  who  don’t  care  
  18. 18. Developers  should  be  traceable  
  19. 19. They  Need  to  Have  Self-­‐Discipline  
  20. 20. How  do  we  do  Time  Tracking?   We  don’t.  Developers  send  us  daily  reports:  
  21. 21. Managers   Manager’s  role  is  to  produce  realisKc  esKmates,  deliver  on  Kme     and  protect  developers  from  mean  clients.      
  22. 22. If  a  manager  can’t  tell  if  people  were   working  unless  he  saw  them  working,   he’s  incompetent  and  has  to  be   removed  from  the  project  (fired,   promoted  et  al.)    
  23. 23. Our  Always  Remote  Offices    
  24. 24. Our  Always  Remote  Offices    
  25. 25. Our  Always  Remote  Offices  
  26. 26. Our  Always  Remote  Offices  
  27. 27. Nothing  beats  face-­‐to-­‐face  communicaKons  
  28. 28. Nothing  beats  face-­‐to-­‐face  communicaKons   Photos  from  hap://imgur.com/bJnJN    
  29. 29. Nothing  beats  face-­‐to-­‐face  communicaKons   Photos  from  hap://imgur.com/bJnJN    
  30. 30. Nothing  beats  face-­‐to-­‐face  communicaKons   Photos  from  hap://imgur.com/bJnJN    
  31. 31. Face-­‐to-­‐face  rules!   Photos  from  hap://imgur.com/bJnJN    
  32. 32. “I  got  an  idea.  Let’s  create  a  startup”     A  friend  of  a  friend  
  33. 33. 2009       Let’s  Automate  Insurance   Industry   Yeah,  right!  
  34. 34. Let’s  create  a  product  company  
  35. 35. One  person  started  invesKng  money  
  36. 36. One  year  later  
  37. 37. Our  Product  Company  (front  office)   •   We  have  sales,  customer  support,  HR     •  During  4  years  everyone  was  working  from  home.       •  Two  months  ago  we  rented  an  office  in  Tampa,  FL   for  5  people  of  the  front  office  team.    
  38. 38. Our  Product  Company  (back  office)   •  No  specs  for  development.  Fail  quickly.     •  Sprints  for  maintenance       •  Wiki  arKcles  describe  processes       •  QA,  CI,  releases  twice  a  month  
  39. 39. Hardware   •  First  development  server  was  running  on  Verizon  FIOS  in  my   basement  in  NJ     •  Now  we  have  two  data  centers  (leasing  cabinets  in  FL  and  NYC  ).   Once  a  year  we  double  the  capacity/bandwidth     •  We  buy  2-­‐3  y.o.  hardware  for  25%  of  original  price,    works  well  
  40. 40. Smart  UI  +  Workflow  AutomaKon   •  More  than  50%    forms  are  autocompleted   (Geo  locaKons,  public/proprietary  DB/Web   services,  educated  guesses)     •  All  paper  forms  are  turned  into  PDFs     •  OCR     •  Digital  Signatures    
  41. 41. 2013  
  42. 42. Epilogue   In  10  years  most  of  the  of  small  IT  companies       will  work  remotely.  Large  corporaKons  should     find  a  way  to  work  in  the  same  mode  or  else...    
  43. 43. Some  URLs   •  hap://faratasystems.com     •  @yfain   •  yfain@faratasystems.com   •  hap://yakovfain.com       Read  this  book  for  free  now  at     hap://enterprisewebbook.com        

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