An Unexpected Journey

This is an email written for my team to remind them of the principles that got us this far.

As we enter the year with new hope, determination and soon a brand new office together with probably the most awesome 6-man team ever assembled in KK, it might be the right time to recount how all this began. 

In a time not that long ago, in exactly the same place where we are working now, John and I were just 2 developers trying to build MVP for startups in the most agile way we know how. Once in a while, we would enlist help from Isaac the mercenary, especially when it comes to dealing with server related skirmishes. 

Deep down inside, we always wanted to build our "own thing". That killer product that we hope one day would put us on the map and life would be good. So over the years, we built all kind of products on the side. Some of them were useful, some not so but none of them was the "one".

One of these however lead us to a chance, an encounter with Lord Wu and Emperor V. It turns out not only did they like the product, they liked us too. Sharing the same vision of the Empire, we decided to embark on this adventure together. 

Our first quest was to bring Omvana's meditation technology to the desktop. Now, we are on our second quest, building Elula - a platform that allegedly cures cancer if we do it right. We even did a side quest where we explore the wonders of content delivery with Overmind. 

And along the way, we enlisted more members into our team beginning with Isaac, then the poster boy Duane to dramatically lower our team's average age. And recently, we are lucky enough to have 2 veterans (Edham & Joshua) join our ranks to bolster our firepower. 

Even more amazing is that we are now completing the construction of our new home base. John have been busy making sure it is built and equipped properly. This is serious stuff as the Empire is sending us the "wings" to officiate the base. We are no longer a band of mercenary on a quest. We are now a team representing the Empire on a mission. A mission to push humanity forward. 

I didn't titled this writing "The Unexpected Journey" because I believe this isn't the only one we are going to have. I'm very certain there are going to be many more. In fact, I'm writing this to ensure that we will, as long as we remember these principles:

You are here to serve

It's not enough to be professional and good at what you do. We must have the heart to serve and delight everyone we work with. Treat every interaction with your team and colleagues like how you would treat your customer. The customer service department serves the customer. We serve the Empire as a whole. Everyone in the Empire is our customer. 


Communicate ocassionally and intentionally 

More communication can identify problems early and keep things moving more efficiently. This is why daily standup meetings are so important. It keeps the team in sync and let us identify and remove blocks early. However, don't fall into the trap of over-communicating. This applies especially to managers. Make sure every communication has a purpose and is intentional. The last thing you want is to bog everyone down with endless meetings and constant disruptions. 


Constantly adapt and improve 

Since we are expecting the unexpected, we should learn to embrace change. Take every opportunity to learn and improve from it. Obviously not all changes are good but no change isn't good either. Remember to be agile and do continuous innovation on your processes and yourself. 


Bring out the best in others

Too often we attribute successes and achievements to a hero figure. The truth is, it takes a team of like-minded individuals working together to achieve world-changing results. Remember that we are all in this together. Encourage and help each other to do the best work of their lives. You win when everyone in the team wins.

After all these years, John and I may not have built that ellusive killer product yet. But maybe the product we are after is this awesome team that we have right now. In that case, we got more than we bargained for. I can only begin to imagine the things we can do together as a team. 

Having said that, let us begin the year with these principles to lead us into greater adventures ahead. May we adapt to change, communicate effectively, be ever-ready to serve and push each other towards awesomeness. 

Happy 2015 everyone.