I feel extremely proud to have been the very first employee of Just Develop It, and now both I and the company are ten years older. Together we have grown tremendously, becoming larger and stronger, with battle scars over the years bringing much wisdom. So, if one thing is for sure, it’s that we are forever changed. One thing that hasn’t, however, is my awareness of where we came from, and, most important of all, my appreciation for those who helped us achieve our successes, however big or small they may be.
I smile fondly when I reminisce on how we once filled a tiny office specifically designed for startups, with three desks and five people squeezing into what seemed like a glorified broom cupboard. There we all were, rubbing shoulders, fighting for oxygen, and gritting out ninety-plus hour weeks on space-saving laptops, with zero in the pot to cover salaries. Yes, we worked incredibly hard, but respite came in the form of trips to the local Subway and – save your judgment – tanning salons. We felt like we could take on the world back then, but looking back, the awful aroma from our bronzed bodies always hammered home the reality of our naivety.
I smile fondly when I reminisce on how we once filled a tiny office specifically designed for startups, with three desks and five people squeezing into what seemed like a glorified broom cupboard.
I’ll admit that we were immature, in our attitudes, thoughts, approaches and actions. As people, we had miles to grow, personally and professionally, as did the company itself. But on reflection, the hard graft, blood, sweat and tears, was worth every second, and, every ounce of energy. Because through those countless hours in the office came countless unforgettable memories. Memories that, to this day, I still cherish dearly.
A quote that’s become a favourite mantra of mine is “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”. It struck a chord, perhaps since I’m a Portsmouth, seaside-born lad from a Naval-based family. Those wise words have taught me to face adversity head on, fight for excellence, and never retreat from adversity, no matter how daunting or formidable the obstacles in my way may seem.
By embracing the chaos, and accepting that there has never been a reluctant champion, it allows you to remain focused, even when you’re at breaking point with no visible land on the horizon. This is the time when you find out the most about yourself. About your resolve. Your spirit. It’s the time to dig deep, working harder until finally you succeed. And when you do, you’ll have learnt invaluable skills that can be called upon to survive future storms.
A quote that’s become a favourite mantra of mine is “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor”
Of course, every captain has a supporting crew, and my biggest achievements would never have been realized without their ceaseless efforts, understanding and support, both professionally and between the ears. And so I now express deep thanks and gratitude to Just Develop It, my coworkers and teammates, past and present. They’ve made my time here compelling, profoundly rewarding, and, most of all, unforgettably enjoyable. Just Develop It, over the past decade, has continued to believe in me and always have my back, praising my triumphs, allowing me to fail, and helping to steer my own unique course through the corporate world.
None of us are normal, including myself. And that’s fine. That’s how we like it, and we wouldn’t have it any other way at Just Develop It. If you consider yourself to be normal, that’s because you haven’t embraced what makes you different before breaking the mould and beginning to master your world in a way that only you can. By leveraging this, you can fulfil your optimal potential, achieving excellence in life.
Here at Just Develop It, we are fortunate enough to have the means to give back to our community, a talented, inspiring city which we have relied on time and again for its skills and expertise. We take pleasure in carrying out charitable work, such as the donation of a literacy lab to Petersfield School and a new Enterprise Awards project designed to give local startups the best possible foundation to build companies and realize dreams. We are in a position where we can make a big difference, the kind we’ve fought hard for and want to give back.
We are fortunate enough to have the means to give back to our community, a talented, inspiring city which we have relied on time and again for its skills and expertise.
For as much boldness in business as we can display, we can often be introverted. Just Develop It has won many regional Business Excellence Awards, among many national awards, such as The London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’. But we can feel a little apprehensive walking up to collect them. Of course, we still highly value this recognition from our peers. In fact, it is this recognition that grounds and motivates us to wake up each morning, aiming to deliver the best of our abilities day in, day out.
We are the stereotypical millennials, you might say. We thrive in a relaxed working environment, one as far removed from a run-of-the-mill 9-5 setting as possible. If a customer were to knock on my door with an issue, I would be the first person to make time for them – just don’t expect me to apologize for standing there in my humble socks. As for our unusually comfortable, somewhat recreational environment, it never ceases to surprise visitors and outsiders.
Pool and table tennis tables, a basketball court, food court, and fridges stocked with beer (from our own brewery), may seem like flamboyant luxuries for the workplace, but they are never taken for granted. We know that they were born out of continued hard work, dedication and loyalty – something that has never been forgotten.
Our unusually comfortable, somewhat recreational environment never ceases to surprise visitors and outsiders.
These are our core values; values that we have nurtured, sustained, and encouraged for ten years. They are the very foundation of who and what we are, and what motivates our employees, allowing them to set their own course, with the freedom to fail, knowing that their fellow coworkers have their back, and that in time they will succeed, becoming an even greater asset to the company, and, to themselves.
Unfortunately some of us millennials have had the misfortune of unwittingly becoming a corporate “old-timer” – in fact, I fear that I might fit that pigeonhole a little too well myself. The days of ‘work hard, play hard’ are now over, and so I must admit that life now tends to be more of the ‘work hard’, with less of the latter. But as I grow older, and life gets a little slower, it seems to bother me less and less. So I guess that’s OK.
One thing I am certain of is that I will continue to encourage and cultivate our values and ethos in our employees for years to come. I am enormously proud of Just Develop It, who we are, what we do, what we stand for, and all that we have achieved within an amazing decade. We may be older – even a little greyer – but we’ll never forget our humble beginnings and the strong roots of the Just Develop It family.
DIRECTOR OF SUPPORT, JUST DEVELOP iT