Posted on by David

Information Technology Craftmanship

Over the past 3 and a half years, TenTwentyFour1024 has been thriving on word-of-mouth – and jobs well done – alone.

OK, granted, we sponsored one or the other technology-related event in the past and we’ve been moderately active on Twitter and other social media platforms [0, 1] as well. But a step we’d never taken – until this month – was to actually publish an ad. We had never really felt the need to, and had it been exclusively to attract new customers, we still would not have felt it, but here was something that we wanted to communicate to our customers, but above all – and most importantly – to ourselves.

Ad published in the monthly Forum in December 2016
From web-based applications…

A question that has recently been on our minds was: “What does TenTwentyFour1024 want to achieve? What are our goals, or rather, what is our purpose?” – Yes, doesn’t that sound awfully philosophical? – But in a landscape with tens, if not hundreds of web agencies and consulting companies, being #101 is not a goal worth getting up for every morning. Even though, from the very beginning, we were pretty sure what we did NOT want to be – yet another web agency – at some point it sure looked like we were heading that way. Convincing customers that going about their project in a test-driven way will pay out in the long run – even though it may appear more costly at first – still takes a lot of convincing, and so software got written that did not have the test-coverage it should have had. BAM! there goes one part of your identity…

So what does TenTwentyFour1024 stand for and what sets it apart? Is it really the TDD approach? Is it the cyclometric complexity graph we generate for our projects? Yes, that helps, and yes, code quality is at the heart of what we do at TenTwentyFour1024, but we doubt that’s what attracts you as a customer in the first place, or is it?

Might it not rather be the fact that you can call us up at virtually any time of the day – and for some of you even night – and get a thorough, personal and friendly reply? Perhaps though, you respect that we’re all about Free and Open Source Software and you decided that’s something worth supporting? (That’d be absolutely fabulous!)

At some point we thought that maybe, just maybe, we should convey to our (potential new) customers what to expect from us, or what to hire us for, so that we could be sure to be able to continue working on exactly the type of projects that we enjoy. It’s not so much about having not enough work – we’re very good there, thanks – but rather about having the right kind of work. And that is when we decided to start redefining what TenTwentyFour1024 is and to start by publishing an ad in our favourite monthly magazine – Forum.

… to Information Technology Craftsmanship

One question worth asking was: Did we put too much stress on the software development part?. Sure, we are developing web-based applications, but we’re doing so much more. I could say we were doing IoT long before it became hip and trendy – and it would be true – but that’s a story for another time.

On one hand, we had to focus. Back in 2015 – at a rather difficult period in TenTwentyFour1024’s timeline, – we decided to drop everything related to networking and above all Windows™ support. We had kind of slipped into doing these things because customers had asked us to, but it had never been something that we tremendously enjoyed, and we’re aware that, at some point our customers began to feel that we weren’t doing this with all our heart – and that was the end of that.

On the other hand, having stripped away some of the things that were nerve-wrecking to us, we had some resources we were able to spend on the more interesting things: Containerization and Micro-Service architectures, Configuration Management and above all Monitoring, and then there are so many other frontiers waiting to be explored…

Something that also always disturbed me personally was a lack of time to support the Free Software projects that we were and still are building on. OK, let’s be honest, companies contributing to Free Software are truly awesome, don’t you agree? So building and maintaining expertise – as well as reputation, true – by contributing to projects that we were using ourselves was another goal that we wanted to put on our bucket list.

Coming up next…

So, all things considered, we decided to both narrow down and widen our focus at the same time. Dropping all things Windows™ and proprietary on one hand and broadening our scope from Web Application Development to offering – and finally publicizing – services built on top of Free Software.

These tiny course corrections have brought about two changes, one cosmetic, one in terms of content:

  1. We changed our baseline from the pretty narrow Web-based applications to a much broader Information Technology Craftsmanship, which will hopefully help to convey the following three things:
    1. We’re not only about software development;
    2. We still have a pragmatic and down-to-earth approach to problems and their solutions;
    3. We do what we do with loving care and precise skill.
  2. Shifting from web application development to a broader offer of services also means that we should communicate more about those things. We have thus added a couple of keywords to this ad that ought to help define who we are and what we do: software, hosting, infrastructure, and monitoring. We have also extended the list of our Services and will progressively add more infrastructure-related projects to our Project and Product Portfolio.

And finally, having outlined in which directions TenTwentyFour1024 is going to evolve, more challenges await us in a not too distant future, such as leaving the Technoport which has been hosting us for the past 3 years and finding an office of our own – hint: we’re still looking – or growing our team by yet another colleague.

Maybe it’s you?