Turning Two!

A week ago, we celebrated our second company birthday. Two-thirds of the way through the 3 year danger tunnel for startups. Sixty-six percent on the way to long term survival. One hundred percent on the way to making impact and change.

I wrote this last week and thought I would share the story here as well.

Tonight, we’re celebrating our birthday and our community. I’ve just finished writing out and signing all the of the diplomas for the past year. The gifts are arranged. Bjorn, Sumana and Amber are all prepared with their speeches. Everything is setup downstairs at the Heilige Boontjes. Really I could get hit by meteor and the show would go on. That’s redundancy planning for you 😉

This morning, on the bike to the Lab,  I spent some time thinking about the past two years. I started asking myself some questions. How would I describe them? Would I do it all over again? How did it feel to be at this point?

I can tell you, it’s a high. The freedom that I have experienced in the past two years is absolutely something I never want to give up again. This frequently results in a feeling of tremendous pressure to constantly find ways for the company to survive and to keep people employed. I don’t think that one side can exist without the tension of the other. I would like to see us get to a point where the tension is a little more in balance!

Another word that comes to mind to describe the past two years is one of my favorite Latin words “invicta”. As in unconquerable. That’s one I sometimes have to chant under my breath. What we do here is long term work, not instant change. When the frustrations rise because of national short-sightedness, I remember that what we are doing changes lives, today and tomorrow.

We’re also together. The community that we are continuing to build is home to all manner of characters and personalities. Last week, someone described that working here “felt like being at home, where you could be yourself all the time”. That’s high praise indeed and a reminder that the culture I wanted to build when I started to two years ago, is real. This company is a place where everyone feels like they can be themselves.

I would do it all again. I plan to keep doing it for as long as we can. We are able to celebrate this day with our community due to the following:

  • my team of wildly motivated and uniquely capable people who are not afraid to learn and push the boundaries of their own competencies to be an example for others. For their willingness to explore radical candor and open communication with everyone in our community regardless of their feelings of discomfort, we’re able to move fast and with positive energy. Thank you.
  • our cohort graduates who excelled personally, challenged themselves and honored their commitment to the community by opening the doors for others after them. We appreciate you and we are so looking forward to all of the steps you will be taking after tonight! Thank you.
  • to the bold thinking changemakers who have trusted us with their business projects and supported our ability to offer paid traineeships to our cohorts. For the willingness to take action with us to genuinely make change when it comes to IT and society. Your willingness to take the risk on us keeps us open. We could not do this without you, thank you.

If you know a little about our history, then you know that my mom was the inspiration for our name. My son’s legacy is in our logo and our font. The memory of both of them fuels my determination that we are working everyday at dismantling the walls of the status quo and creating space for all, in tech and in society. You can expect that we will continue to do this, this year and beyond. After all, as Henry Rollins says “My optimism is loud and wears heavy boots.” 😉

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