Be sharp

— 3 minute read

What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months.

Fred Brooks

We're not a body shop: we'll never try to sell you on getting as much headcount onto a project as possible. We view that as a complete perverse incentive, one in which we're favouring our own coffers rather than the fate of the project as a whole.

That's why we're obsessed with empowering each individual to be as sharp a knife as possible. Sharp knives are expensive, they need more care and they need constant sharpening, but they'll beat two dull knives any day of the week. It's the same in software.

So how do we do it?

The best tools permalink

We buy the best tools we can to ensure that everyone is as productive as possible. We're all working at sit/stand desks with at least one 32" monitor, a top tier laptop that gets changed every 3/4 years paired with an obscenely powerful desktop.

With respect to software, we choose the best tools we can find for our particular tech stack and view the fixed costs as worth it. If it's a choice between scaling up output through headcount or through improving our setup we choose the latter every time.

No martyrdom here permalink

There are no prizes at Happy Valley for being a martyr. It's about value added, not time spent. That's why we don't work sick for an extra day of billing and we're not going to do crazy overtime at the expense of quality.

We work a flexible 35-hour work week where people can start anytime from 7AM all the way up to 11AM. It's very cool in tech to offer catered lunches, but we'd rather offer flexibility and time. We want to provide the space that people need to make sure that they're firing on all cylinders every day.

We need that downtime to shine during the day. We play piano, garden, train in martial arts, bake, go the gym and go on many long dog walks.

At the end of all this, you can be confident that we'll give you every ounce of brainpower we have.

Align interests permalink

How do we ensure that we're doing something that we feel personally connected to? We think there's a couple of ways to go about it.

The first is putting our money where our mouth is. We believe in paying a good liveable salary and then supplementing by giving every employee a slice of the pie in the for of a profit-based bonus scheme. While working, no one should have any money worries. We also give a portion of revenue to Trees for Life every year.

The second is in behaving in the way that we can all be proud of. We're committed to using straightforward language and speaking honestly with each other and our clients. This might come across as blunt, but it's done with the express intention of making sure we're being as open an inclusive as possible.

Conclusion permalink

Fundamentally, this is how we believe in building great software. Forget the bodyshop, forget the global arbitrage play and forget the software boiler room. Let's build something artisanal in the most professional way possible.

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