Posts Tagged ‘Working at LeaseWeb’
As LeaseWeb approaches its 20th anniversary, I’ve recently had a quote from Chuck Yeager stuck in mind, “If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off.” As a pilot myself, and someone who spent his early life working as one professionally, this line resonates. When you are flying, there is little room for error. Expertise, teamwork, and precision, mean the difference between a safe and enjoyable flight and one that could place people in real danger.
While the risks in the field of cloud hosting may not be as dramatic as those in aviation, they are no less real. Much like in aviation, deep knowledge of the field and the right team are important. But, expertise and teamwork are not enough in themselves. They need to be brought together in the right way to provide a framework for success.
When we started LeaseWeb in 1997, I could have never imagined what the company would become. The field of technology was quite different. The internet as we understand it today had barely emerged, dial up modems were the only way to get online, and no one had even imagined the possibility of the smart phone. Access to the internet was limited and at times hard to come by. I remember being in Nairobi after a flight with our 747 and trying to find a way to get online. There were actually no local connections, so I ended up paying nearly € 800 in calling charges to South Africa just to get access to the internet.
LeaseWeb kicked off its sixth quarterly Hackathon on Thursday, July 21st. The Hackathons are a chance for employees to step outside the usual routine and allow them to get creative, work together in new ways, and have fun. Participants are given two full days and nights to work on any kind of project whether it’s to solve a work problem, learn a new skill, or try out a personal project they’ve had in mind. Whatever it is, they have the complete freedom to try something new with the goal being to present a functional demo at the end of the second day.
Hackathons begin with a presentation where all of the participants gather to kick things off. Everyone receives a Hackathon t-shirt designed specifically for the event and then they hunker down to start work on their projects. Hackathon isn’t just for the engineering department and individuals from all parts of the company are encouraged to participate.
Perhaps someone in marketing has been thinking about a new tool that could help them do their job better. They might team up with an engineer to try and create that tool. New ideas and collaborations that might not have otherwise fit into the usual busy schedule are given the opportunity to be developed and tested. Several projects and tools that have been created during Hackathons have been integrated into day to day operations.
After working hard all day Thursday, participants took a break to have dinner and some fun. A barbecue spread was set out and there was plenty of chicken, burgers, salad, and beer to go around. A 45 meter inflatable obstacle course was set up in the parking lot and participants competed with each other to see who could get the best time. The winner completed the course in just over 30 seconds. After a bit more relaxation everyone was ready to get back to working on their projects. Some stayed late into the night and crashed at the office, others went home to grab some sleep before coming back in the next morning to finish up before the afternoon presentations.
Three years ago, Shaina Prabhakar wrote a blog about her work at LeaseWeb. A lot has changed since then, so let’s take a look at where she is now.
It’s fascinating to see how technology is innovating in ways to help and serve people. Before LeaseWeb, I used to work at a company which manufactured servers and networking devices. During that time I never got to speak to the end users, to see how they benefit from these products. At LeaseWeb I get that opportunity.
After three years of as part of the LeaseWeb Sales team I became the team manager of our Sales Support department. I interacted directly with our customers, learning what they’re looking for and how they like to buy and manage our products. One of the easiest ways for our customers to do this is through our website and Customer Portal. As I hold a degree in Information Sciences, my experience in sales together with my IT skills meant that I was in the unique position to become the Product Owner of our website and Customer Portal.
Take 15 projects, 40 developers, 30 pizzas plus 20 NERF guns and what do you get? A whole lot of creativity and innovation, that’s what!
Growth is something everyone who runs a business agrees on is a good thing, and over the past few years LeaseWeb has grown tremendously. This week we reached another milestone when Hans Rakers became our 300th colleague. Of course we celebrated this memorable moment by presenting everyone in the office with a large cake to enjoy. While I sat down to eat a piece of the tasty pie, I was reminded of a very inspiring Ted Talk I watched a while back by Shawn Achor, who teaches about positive psychology.
They are the unsung heroes of every IT company: the people that write the software, provision the servers, provide support and all the men and women that form the beating heart of the organization. That’s why we felt it was time to put them in the spotlight. Welcome to Working at LeaseWeb.