My take on being a small company

When I started Shugo a few years ago, I had a vision for the company.  I had a plan for what we would do, how we would try to differentiate, how we’d market and sell, our company culture, etc…  I look back now and probably about 50% of my plan came through.  Some things we tried and realized just weren’t going to work.  Other things sprung up out of the blue and we ran with it.

Even though much has changed since day one, I still have the desire to be “small and nimble”.  I think most people view having a small company (as in number of employees) as a bad thing. Some people will divert questions about company size or worse yet even lie about the number of employees on staff.  I’m quite the opposite.  I’m proud of our size.  Less people equals less to manage and greater opportunities to be more personable and nimble.

Less people really does highlight the need to have quality. To me, quality always outshines quantity (even when I discuss beer — but that’s a topic for another day). One day while talking with Lori Winters she mentioned how in the technology industry having a quality employee is like have five “regular” employees. Being in technology now for over 10 years, I can personally attest to this. Anyone whom I’ve work with in the past can attest I’m pretty tough on evaluating developers. I remember a friend and recruiter Marc saying to me one day, “I know if you’re vouching for someone — they have to be good”.

Since I’ve always wanted to stay small — quality is key within our team.  We don’t have 10-20 developers to build new functionality.  Secret is we have 2 (and I’m 1 of the 2).  But I’d put our 2 up against any others out there. A great example was speaking with a client a week ago and they shared a huge need. In 48 hours we had the need solved and deployed to production.  Yes 48 hours with just 2 developers. Pretty gnarly!

Our entire team here is top notch. Pretty funny saying entire when our team is really small consisting of just 4 full timers and a few helping hands sprinkled in every once in a while.  We respond to challenges immediately.  The team has answers before I can finish asking the question. Collectively we compliment each other so well.

So our plan has been and will be to stay small. Stay small to be fast, nimble and focus on quality.


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