It’s me again, this time with a recap of some of the coolest stuff we did this year @RebelDot.
For this article, I thought I’d ditch the usual format of listing all our achievements and rather talk about our core values and specifically how everything that we did in 2021 is, in a way or another, tied to each of these 5 values – togetherness, growth, care, fun and fulfillment.
Although I have tried to discuss them separately, keep in mind that they all exist in harmony and that each of the initiatives mentioned as specific to one value, can easily be interpreted into any of the other 4 of our guiding values.
Let’s proceed, shall we?
After almost two years of leaving the office to work in a hybrid setup, we gradually came to the realization that it is a blessing in disguise.
Having to adapt to this new context we started thinking creatively, more than ever, about the ways we can engage our people virtually.
With about 78 new people in our team, and an overall number of 150 rebels (70 more than last year, around this time), we started placing emphasis on the informal nuance of our interactions and gave our shot at extending this casual friendly vibe outside the office.
We did so by setting up events that broke the tech bubble and introduced people to new experiences, things that we’ve probably never tried or even thought of trying, moments of novelty that we got through together.
Ever thought about getting a sailing certificate?
Probably not. And neither did our 10 rebels who went to Croatia for a week to do so. Or going to a team building where you get to literally build something for the community around you? Or how about learning how to cook some gourmet pasta dish through an online masterclass thought by one of our full-time Delivery Managers, part-time “remote chefs”?
These are all just a fraction of the experiences that made togetherness seem less and less vague for our people and gave them more reasons to look forward to.
And, by the way, this sense of togetherness didn’t stop at our colleagues but was infused well into our client relationships too. In fact, one of our biggest clients to this day became our close partner after having spent a full day at our cozy office, sensing the “rebel” atmosphere, listening to our company’s story, our individual tales, and ambitious vision, all while enjoying a BBQ in our mildly popular backyard.
When it comes to growth, there are a couple of actions, part of our yearly strategy, which we do to make sure that we stay on top of our game, delivering state of the art digital product, and building healthy relationships. Yes, I am speaking of formal learning programs here: leadership & feedback trainings, workshops, and access to digital libraries. We very often even read books together, and later discuss them at our morning coffees, day to day meetings and of course, the #book-lovers Slack channel.
But these haven’t been the engine of our growth this year.
An important yet sometimes forgotten component of growth is the acceleration of growth that happens while spending time and overcoming day to day challenges with the right people. Now when I say right, I don’t mean likeminded and cultural fitted people. Think the opposite.
By adding 78 new people to our team, we’ve learned that real growth happens when we embrace our differences in opinion and culture. It’s when you stop doing thigs because ‘this is how they have been done before’ and consider new, rebel ways of doing things.
In 2021 we onboarded no more than 27 interns on areas such as React Native development, .NET development, People and Culture, Product Design and even Blockchain development. It is not a practice that we are new to, as we’ve been creating opportunities for students ever since the company took shape. Still, it is the most internship positions we have ever offered.
Here’s a word from our People and Culture department on why creating internship opportunities was an integral part of our agenda in 2021:
“We wanted to be more intentional in growing new talent through our internship programs, while also creating mentorship opportunities for our current rebels (as in RebelDot we also believe in the power of taking care of others). This year was particularly tough in selecting a limited number of interns, as along the recruitment process we realized that the competition was super strong and that we had to make difficult choices between many high-caliber candidates. And this is why we decided to add a few extra spots in our programs, as it would have been a pity not to continue with candidates who were fit in terms of technical skills, as well as from a cultural and values perspective.”
This lowered the company’s overall age to 28 and made youthfulness and adolescent-like energy a default vibe at the office. We probably spend more time on Tik-Tok than we did in 2020, and let’s just say that our parties have gotten a little bit more intense.
It would probably be a bit of an assumption to say that our clients felt these aspects of organic growth too, but one thing that is for sure when it comes to growing our clients’ businesses is that we made sure to always be there, from the napkin wireframes and all the way to releasing their digital products in stores. Just like we did in all these years.
Besides, we are now proud to have also amplified our service offering, starting 2022, we can run the products we are building, going beyond digital product discovery & design, product adding post-launch support as continuation of the full product development process we follow at RebelDot.
Some of our rebels also went on to land some important certifications, or pivot to roles that increased their responsibility but also catered to their ever-growing aspirations and potential.
For this aspect I am going to share my personal perspective for I became truly inspired by the way care for both my colleagues and the surrounding community is practiced here, at RebelDot.
I’ve learned at university that nowadays, each respectable company “has to have” a CSR plan. Basically, for those of you not fans of the corporate lingo, think of it as a carefully articulated plan to help others for the betterment of the world..
I’ve never really doubted that companies and the people part of these entities simply have a genuine willingness to do good, but “packaging” it in this super corporate practice just isn’t it for me.. I mean, it might be the norm, it might make doing good mainstream, which is very much needed, but this sort of “branding” simply put a superficial if not even selfish nuance to doing good.
And that’s totally not the norm at RebelDot.
Now don’t get me wrong. Obviously, the People and Culture department is making sure that we hold a solid awareness of the social causes, as well as the means in which we could support our community, extending well beyond just developing digital products.
Still, it saves plenty of room for random acts of kindness, the kind of unplanned help that you offer because you’ve been moved, inspired or asked for in that particular moment.
I remember when I started working here, ready to start showing off my academic skills to create a fancy CSR plan then seeing Tudi, our CEO, casually approaching me and my colleagues on a daily basis to let us know about social causes that he found and that needed our immediate help.
Imagine how great I felt to have some of my (once esteemed) university learnings disregarded in such a beautiful way. To have this reality check and observe that acts of generosity happen naturally here, without really planning months ahead for causes that maybe need urgent actions. This was one of the first rebel plays I noticed and loved and adhered to ever since.
There was a time when we used to say that coding is fun. Eventually we started to dust off the vague industry cliches and really dig into the essence of our values. We realized that building apps is more challenging than it is fun. But being part of an atypical team navigating a big mess is what (truly) makes it fun.
It is the process and the people. The ways in which the seriousness of a project is alternated with the informality of your colleagues in what is supposed to be a stiff, professional stand-up meeting. It is the inside jokes that you and your team develop, the endless memes on “that Slack channel” or the shamelessly extended lunch breaks where you bond together over some cheap takeaway noodles.
Not to mention about the periodical after hours or late Fridays at the office, where roles start to dissolve and where the authenticity of each rebel somehow harmonize into an almost identical collective willingness to share stories, get to know the protagonists, and build genuine friendships.
It wouldn’t make sense to start listing the fun initiatives that we participated in this year, because, really, you’d probably finish reading this article next year. It is not something super specific, like coding or a team-building, but more like onboarding the right people and simply letting them be.
Having a fulfilling job clearly is not just about the work itself. While we constantly try to take care of this aspect by handpicking ideas and founders we truly believe in, matching them with rebels who show an interest in those particular visions, there are other aspects which, taken altogether, can ignite a deeper meaningfulness to the job.
We do believe that you are much more than your role which is why we strive to create a context where your true colors can surface and where you can progress on all levels. Take the example of Vali, one of our day 1 colleagues, who actually started out as an intern and is now a veteran React Native Developer.
He also happens to be a very talented beach volleyball player, competing regularly in both local and national tournaments. This year we found out about his intention to compete in the biggest national contest so we sponsored the entire freaking competition. Hell, we even designed the jerseys for all the participants. No second thoughts, just straight action. It wasn’t even part of a strategy of some sort, but a spontaneous wish to do so right after the moment we found out about this. Just like our “CSR” initiatives.
Come work with us!
If you consider yourself a kind & supportive human, you have a sweet spot for all things tech and you’re up to new challenges, you might have a home with us. 🏠
What we are looking for is not know-it-alls, nor ideological fits.
We want to grow together while creating a space in which diversity is important and your different perspective will contribute to building great digital products. 🚀
So if you think we might be a good fit for your personality and career ambitions, have a look on our careers page and give it a shot!
As we continue to expand our web and mobile apps development team to support more companies with our technical expertise, we have around 20 open positions and an internship in the works, so plenty of opportunities for you to become part of our team of rebels.
We look forward to meeting you!