From Freelancer to CTO. Conversation with Adam Fenton, Nolte Co-Founder and CTO

We continue our series of tech talks with entrepreneurs and C-level decision makers running software development agencies in different parts of the world. In this interview we’ll talk about Nolte, a digital product development company in Mexico that specializes in building and maintaining web apps, mobile solutions, and business tools.

Nolte’s team has expertise in product strategy and design, engineering, testing, managed hosting and preventive maintenance. What better way to learn about the company than talk to one of its co-founders directly, right? Let’s begin!

Meet Adam!

In this conversation, Redwerk’s founder Konstantin Klyagin talks to Adam Fenton, co-founder and CTO at Nolte, about Adam’s way from a freelancer to a tech entrepreneur, life in Mexico, pros and cons of doing business in Mexico, changes because of COVID-19, billing models, talent acquisition, and much more. Read on to learn all the tips!

— So, now I’m in Mexico City, and here with me is Adam Fenton. He is the owner of Nolte, a digital agency that has been running for how many years?

— We’ve been around for about 11 or 12 years in total.

— You’re an Englishman, right?

— Yeah. You can probably tell that I don’t sound very Mexican.

— Tell me about your industry. What brings you to Mexico?

— So my wife is Mexican, and we met on a tour. Actually, about nine or ten years ago. I was working in London in a bank, and I just decided to do something else. So I quit and went traveling all around Latin America and spent about a year just moving around. I lived in Bogotá for a little bit, and then we met in Costa Rica. She was on a trip, like the last day of her holiday with a friend, and I was just there. Actually, my parents would come over to see me. We exchanged Facebook details, and three months later, I arrived in Mexico and am pretty much still here.

— Nice! When was it?

— Well, I would have been in Mexico for nine years in April. So, long ago.

— How do you like it so far in Mexico?

— It’s pretty good. Still here, it’s nice. Compared to London, it’s a much more laid-back style of life. And the weather’s better.

— And life should be cheaper than in London.

— Oh, it’s definitely cheaper.

— Just like me, your background is software development. Tell me about your main technology. What do you work with?

— I studied Computer Science and started work about 20 years ago in a movie post-production company. I actually started working with a system called PowerBuilder, which not many people have heard of, by Sybase. And I don’t think it exists anymore. That was my first introduction to professional programming. There, I was also looking after their system for work tracking. So that is a system where they actually printed like big wheels and film, and I had a system that checked that through the lab.

So I was looking after that firstly from PowerBuilder, and then we moved on to bb.net. And then I moved into banking in London and went to work for Morgan Stanley for five and a half years, and that was again with some .NET and also Java. And that’s when I also moved into a business analysis model for a bit as well.

After that, the crisis happened, and it wasn’t so much fun working there anymore, so I decided to go traveling as I told you. Spent a year traveling, met my wife, and ended up in Mexico.

And here, you know, I had this idea of starting my own business or freelancing to start with.

So I did that. Then, I learned WordPress and started building websites. Actually, when we got pregnant with my first son, I realized I just like being more stable than freelancing.

It was hard to get a good, steady income. That’s when I started looking around, and I met Jeffrey, my business partner. He was looking for an engineer, and I obviously joined as his lead engineer or a CTO, and we kind of formed a partnership. And then, I moved to being a COO for a bit and then moved back to CTO again, back with running the technology for the company.

— All right. So your main expertise is Microsoft’s stack?

— Oh no, not at all. I haven’t done any .NET for a long time. Now it is more PHP, WordPress, and more recently, we worked with Google Cloud, JavaScript, a lot of Node, React. Now, I haven’t had much experience personally, but as a team, we’re working with Flutter, and Laravel quite a bit as well.

— Do you still code sometimes?

— Sometimes. Not enough, actually. Sometimes I feel like I miss it. But yeah, I do, just a little bit. And you? Are you still actively developing?

— Well, I have loved this stuff since I was eight years old. I’ve been building the software and I have a lot of projects of my own. First, it was a BBS software back in the day, in the pre-internet era. Do you know what a BBS is?

— No.

— A bulletin board system. When you connect with other nodes, other computers use your modem. So the software that served your call, one of them was mine. I was 15 years old, and I was processing feature requests and pretty much spending all my time and effort in front of the computer. Then I got very excited about Linux, and I had a few open-source projects, and this is how I found my first job, my first project, my first customer because my name was here and there, and it became pretty well-known in the community.

What is the main difference between England and Mexico for you?

— It’s a lot of things. I mean the language is one – having to think and work in Spanish takes more energy. I think another one that my wife and I find is how direct English people are compared to Mexicans. In Mexico, people often see us like a personal threat when you do it, I find. And that’s something that’s hard to work around in business as well, sometimes.

I remember when I was freelancing, I had problems with some clients. I was too direct with them, and they got upset by it. Then it was me learning how to navigate things in Mexico. But it’s also something we as a company don’t want. In our culture, we want to be direct. And so that’s something that people who join us who maybe aren’t used to working with the US or the UK or anyone else of that kind need to learn. It’s nothing personal. It’s just we’re just trying to get the best result.

— Before Nolte, you had another company called Solnamic, right?

— Yeah, but that was my freelance gig, really. So when I arrived in Mexico, I started freelancing, and I decided to put a name on it because I had the idea of growing it, and it never really worked out that way.

— Why did you change the name?

— I didn’t change the name. I started working with Jeff, and he already had a company with a name that he’d set up in New York. So I joined him as a partner. So we didn’t change it.

— Oh, all right, I thought you started the company and then established it in New York.

— No, actually, Jeff established it in New York, and then together we established a company in Mexico a few years ago. Now all of our team is here in Mexico.

— I see, so it was the other way around.

— Yeah.

— At first, he had all his manpower in New York?

— Well, he had a few people in New York, but a distributed team in general, might have been people in Mexico, Argentina, in Europe in a few different places. So we actually decided that we wanted to form an office in Mexico. Well, forming an office in New York wasn’t really an option because of the price and the salaries.

So we decided on Mexico, and we focused a lot on hiring here. So, now all our team is here. Of course, with COVID, we don’t have an office anymore. And that has been a really good move for us because before we had an office but a work-from-home policy and some people who live a long way away never really came to the office. And so we had this split of people in the office and people at home, and now that is eliminated by just going fully remote. Now everyone is at the same level playing field, which has been really good for us.

— So, how old was Nolte when you joined it?

— I think Jeff had been running it for like five or six years, maybe even more. I think it started in a similar way to my Solnamic. He started that up and then had some freelancers and maybe over time started contracting them, making it a bit more permanent. So, yeah, he’d been running for a bit because when I joined, we took it where it started from and started building from there.

— Is it an outsourcing business or do you outstaff people? How does it work?

— No, we’re not in an outsourcing business. We are a product agency, so we produce digital products. We have a big focus on design, so we have a strong UX, UI design. We also took branding, which is something quite new to us. We do overall product strategy and then of course the engineering side, QA, and long-term maintenance. But we generally work on product engagement, and it’s not like an outsourcing sort of engagement.

— Well, you can do a product in-house or you can outsource it to an agency that has all the means to deliver.

— Yeah. I mean, we are the agency that does that.

— It is sometimes called outsourcing. At least in Eastern Europe.

— It’s a different model, because outsourcing for us, like generally what’s used in the US and what we’ve got in Mexico, is that you get the people and maybe a PM to help organize them. You don’t really get the overall strategy.

— We call it outstaffing when you just give tasks to individual people to work with the customer. So it’s more like an outstaffing model, but of course, there is room for different interpretations.

— Sure.

— So, is it difficult to do business in Mexico?

— Uhm, yes and no, some things are harder and some things are probably easier. And it’s also actually hard for me to say because I’ve not owned a business in the UK. I guess in the States, I have some experience from the business we do. I find that in Mexico when it comes to sales, it can be easier in some ways. They are much more open to being guided but because they don’t have as much experience with digital products in general.

— Tell me about 2020. How did the pandemic affect you?

— You know, probably like most people we started the year with certain goals and then in March we changed them because we could see that things were not going to pan out the way we expected. But overall, I think we made some good decisions with hindsight. One thing we did is look at our cost, for example. We managed to reduce like 10-15% of our cost back in March without letting anyone go. Just cut the costs of things and services that weren’t strictly necessary.

— Just ditched the office?

— Yeah. That was one thing, but that was not a whole saving process. But also culturally, I think it was more important than cost savings. It made a difference to our culture that people who normally worked from home were now on a level playing field with those folks who used to be in the office. Also, as a company, as a leadership team, we actually put effort into thinking about how we can make work from home better for everyone.

So we gave people an allowance to buy the desk and equipment that they need for the home office, that kind of thing. So that was good. And over the last year, we’ve really been working on the way we work and making this becoming more efficient and more organized and, it’s been paying off in that respect. We’ve seen less waste and that the team feels less stressed, which is a good thing.

So I think the year turned out revenue-wise probably not as good as we hoped, but it turned out pretty good in terms of some of the changes we made and how we improved our business and our culture.

— Now let’s talk about sales: where do you get your leads from?

— So most of them come by referrals or networks. From the US, mostly from Jeff’s network and some from Mexico from my network as well. So we had experimented with it a little bit, with some digital sales strategies, but in the end, we were able to find enough businesses through referrals and growing our existing accounts.

But our focus over the last few months has really been on growing new accounts rather than finding new ones.

— Don’t you think this is not a scalable channel?

— Sure. After some point, we wouldn’t be able to scale, but we’re also not driven to grow it into a massive company.  That’s not the idea. At some point, we might look into other strategies, but for now, that works pretty well.

— It had been working well for me, and then when I wanted to scale more, I had to introduce marketing in-house and sales not to do everything myself. By the way, are you the only one who does sales with your partner, or do you also have dedicated sales specialists?

— We just moved one of our PMs to account management because that’s our focus at the moment. He also deals with new business as well. But yeah, up to there we’ve mostly been heavily involved in that process ourselves.

— Now for some financial questions. How do you price your work?

— We basically build Time and Materials, and then we price. Before we would try to work out approximately how many weeks of work we would need to get something done and give an estimate to the client based on that.  And now we’re moving more towards a model of continuous, like iteration. So we also use a process called continuous improvement design.

Say whatever client we want to do some kind of initial analysis and then move forward into a project phase of continuous improvement, and we try to price that in monthly buckets: this month – this number of hours, next month – a bigger number, and for the next two or three months, they’re going down.

So we’re trying to work out cycles like that. This way we can help our clients plan out their finances and plan out our finances too and our capacity.

— Yeah, well, we do the same. At first, we tried working on the fix quote basis, and it was terrible because of the scope creep. I think everyone has that. Because they are too sure about their abilities to predict the future. And no one can, so all your estimates just go down…and it’s very difficult to predict. So Time and Materials is very common.

What do you consider a good margin on a project?

— We aim for 55%. What about you, guys?

— Well, we have 40, and 40 is considered to be really good. I mean, if you do a very serious analysis of all of your expenses.

— Yeah, that’s really just thinking in terms of the people cost. Maybe the way we classify, it’s a bit different from yours.

— Well, at the end of the month you do a table with all of your income and all of your expenses and the difference – that is your margin. You just calculate the percentage.

— Yeah. In our case, there can be other costs, like Jira, for example. It is hard to divide that by projects.

— We, too, calculate that as well.

— Okay. We just do it separately.

— Where are most of your customers located?

— In the US.

— Where in the US?

— All over, actually. We have some in New York, California, and Texas. These are the main ones that come to mind. But yeah, we don’t have very specific geographical locations. Just places where Jeff lived, like New York and Texas, and some other contacts, and then we have a few in Mexico as well. But it’s just a handful, most of them in the US.

— What kind of companies do you work with?

— We’re pretty mixed. We don’t have a very specific protocol, so we work with some other agencies, like creative agencies, and we do like to do the digital engineering side for them. On the product side, we’ve worked with construction companies, food & beverage, health & wellness, so yeah, quite a mixed pack.

— What are the main services that you provide?

I thought we just got a product development, but within that, there are obviously various things. So we do branding and product strategy and design – UX research and UI design, and then engineering.  We will build out like the architecture in Google Cloud probably, as far as engineering the back- and frontend, and the QA side.

So QA automation as well as manual testing and then continuous improvements in that. We also have a product management role that oversees all and provides some strategic insight.

— Okay, what if someone comes to you for just one development piece? Say, just for the quality assurance or just for the UI design?

— Ideally, we look for clients that are looking for full product development teams, but we sometimes do just design. Often we have partners that do the design, and we do the engineering. But when I say engineering, I mean like the QA and the continuous improvements and that’s in product management as well. We don’t normally do very small items of work, but that can depend on the client. If it’s a cool client to work with, we might do it.

— And what about the extent of those products? Let’s say you take a typical software as a service solution, where you have the backend, frontend, and mobile apps. Which parts are you best at, and can you handle the entire thing? 

— Yeah, we can handle the entire thing. I don’t know how to say: we have engineers who are stronger at the backend and those who are stronger at the frontend, but overall we can handle it all.

— Tell me about Nolte Care. What is it? 

— That’s our continuous improvement plan. So, it is actually something that we put together more for our WordPress clients, and it really just focuses on keeping your site running and then continuously improving it. With WordPress, there are certain things you need to keep it running like updating the plugins, for example. So we manage all that kind of underlying basic stuff to keep the site running. So if a server goes down or something like that, then we’ll have alerts, and we’ll react to it and sort out the issues.  

And then on top of that, we then are looking to work with our clients on how they can really improve the websites to achieve their goals in a better way. So we have a continuous improvement, where they generally have a bucket of hours each month, and we will work with them to prioritize and iterate on their website. That is basically what Nolte Care is.

— So those are different packages that are priced with a fixed fee?

— Yeah, it’s actually a model we’re moving away from a bit this year; we’re looking at different models. But yeah, that has been the model we have with most of our clients. It’s normally like a fixed fee of, say $500 a month, which is just a basic fee to keep the site running, and then on top of that would be a number of hours and the total fee would depend on the number of hours the client has in their bucket.

— How do you handle objections like ‘you have done this site, and it has to work forever’?

— It is a good one. We just need to explain to them how technology works and the fact that it doesn’t just keep working forever if you leave it. We usually try to have that conversation upfront as well. So it’s normally part of the sales process when we’re bringing in a new client and building a website for them or designing and building a website. We really like telling them in the beginning that they will need to budget for a certain amount each month after what we launched, and explain to them why. Most clients get it actually, but occasionally they go off on their own, and sometimes they come back to us. Sometimes they end up hiring a freelancer or someone to help them.

Generally, we try to bring in clients who will stay with us for a long term. We’re not so much interested in just building a website and saying off you go. That’s not as much of our model.

— All right, how big is Nolte now?

— 17 people.

— And what are their roles?

— So we have both engineers and product managers. We have product designers: like UX, UI, and general strategy as well. And then we have a strategist as well, who is a new person that has joined our team and is working on the product strategy and the branding side. 

— Who does all the customer communication?

— So the PM is the main one who’s day-to-day talking to the client. But, we also generally have our team talking to the client at some point in different parts. Quite a few of our clients actually are in our Slack organization. We will communicate with them by that means. We find that pretty good way to collaborate. We really want to build close collaboration with our clients, not have a single point of contact so they never speak to anyone else. That’s not really the way we work. 

So, it’s generally the PM but with other people in the team joining in and asking questions and even going off to have a meeting on the line where it makes sense. 

— So Mexico City is such a big place. Is it easier to find talent here?

— No, it’s not, actually. And it’s hard for a few reasons. Partly, because there’s competition from the US. I heard a statistic recently that something like 25% of the engineers in Silicon Valley are Mexican, or something like that. I don’t know if that’s the truth, but I think it goes to say that a lot of the good engineers can go live in the States.

— And how about Indians and Russians and Ukrainians?

— I don’t know the numbers, but it is probably higher. Then you know that the competition in Mexico is going well. More companies are starting IT offices here, like Google, Microsoft, Lyft, and so on. I could say the competition is heating up.

And then I think the other thing that we found is the cultural differences. We’ve talked a little about this before. Various things in the culture here are different from, say, the US. So our clients expect a certain level or style of communication, and that is different from the way people may communicate or approach work in Mexico in general. So that is also something that can be hard. Oh, and the other thing is language as well. We always look for people who can speak English because we want them to communicate with our clients that are mostly in the US, so that also limits the pool. 

— How did you get the New York Women’s Forum project?

— I’m sure that was a contact of Jeff. I can’t remember now,  that was a few years ago, but yeah, it was a great contact. They have a really good organization.

— What’s the gender balance in your company?

— Probably about 30% to 70% where 30% are women and 70% are men. We actually had a really good balance in engineering, like 50/50 in the engineering team for a bit, but not anymore. You know, it is even harder to hire women engineers in Mexico than men. So, it’s been difficult to balance that.

— Is it easy to retain talent? What’s the average time an employee spends in a company?

— I don’t have numbers, but I know that in Mexico people do move around quite a lot. From what I see, when I hire people looking at their CVs. It’s kind of common for people to be applying for a new job even within a year. I think our retention is better than average. We do try to build a really good culture so that people will want to stay. But there’s always competition from the outside, especially from other countries. We’ve had people and engineers who have found jobs in Canada or the US. And it’s hard for us to compete, not just moneywise, but with the opportunity for them to go and live somewhere like that. 

— How is your culture different from the competition?

— So we really focus on the people, and it’s really important for us that people are happy, but also that they have a chance to grow, and they really take responsibility for their work. One thing that’s very common in Mexico, especially in bigger traditional companies, is the kind of micromanagement approach, where almost every decision has to go by your manager. And that’s something that people when they join our team, are lost and asking ‘Can I do this, can I do that?’ and their managers are like: ‘Yeah just do it, don’t ask me. If you think that’s the right thing, then just do it.’

And that’s something we really strive to enable people and empower them to do things on their own, for them to be able to take ownership. I feel really grateful for those people, that’s the feedback I’ve got as well because it gives them a chance to really learn and grow, as opposed to feeling like they are being pushed into doing exactly what their manager tells them all the time. And also it is not a good way to manage for a manager and for the results you get. 

I’ve seen it myself. I’ve made that mistake plenty of times, telling someone you do it this way, and then you don’t explain something, and then it turns out not to work exactly. So, a focus of ours is personal responsibility and on top of that, we want people to feel good about their work, love their work, and integrate well into their lives.

Another thing that is growing a bit, especially with the pandemic, is people just working different hours based on what works for them. Like I get up very early for example, and we finish by four o’clock, so I can take the kids to the park in the afternoon or something. Other team members have been doing the same thing just to make more time for themselves and their families. That’s also something I am very supportive of. We actually encourage people to figure out how to meet their responsibilities at work but have a great life as well. 

— Work-life balance. That’s very important, I also promote it.

— Yeah. How do you guys promote that? Do you do anything special?

— Well, first of all, we don’t welcome overtime, because we know that this path always leads to burnout. We ask people not to do overtime, send them on vacations when that happens. In general we support this relaxed working atmosphere where you only work eight hours a day, and then you are free to do whatever you want.

What do you like and dislike about Mexico?

— So what do I like? The weather, the food, the prices, the people. Like you’ve mentioned before, Konstantin, they are really friendly, and it’s pretty easy just to chat to someone. And generally the way of life, I find, is pretty nice and chill. You’ve got a lot of opportunities as well. As an entrepreneur there are lots of things you can do and there’s lots of space in the market for a lot of products that may be more mature in other countries. 

And what do I not like? Well, we’ve touched on the bureaucracy before, so that can be a pain. Also, customer service. There is not much national customer service. You can go to a shop, and they will just ignore you and chat to a friend. That can be frustrating. There are the things that can annoy you but if you just go with the flow, I mean, it’s pretty cool and pretty chill. 

What’s your favorite project?

— It’s a tough one. There is a cool one we’re doing at the moment, called Stompy. It is a wine club with a difference. They send people a box of wine every month or every period, and you like the wines and it learns, and you get a better selection each time. I like the product because I like wine, but also technology-wise, it is pretty interesting. We’re building out the architecture in the Google Cloud, and it has been a good way to get deeper into that. 

— Once I was traveling with my friends in Napa Valley, and in every winery we went to, there was a bartender who was drinking with us. Like, every bartender in the Valley was drinking with us. For us, it was wine tasting and for them, it was a full-time job. And then, at some point, I started asking how long they were on the job. I didn’t meet a single person who worked there for over a year. I guess they went straight to rehab.

— Sounds like a tough job.

— What are your plans for Nolte?

— Right now, our focus is on growing all the accounts we have now. We don’t really have a long-term plan in terms of an exit or something. We don’t really have a plan like that. We just want to focus on doing really good work and growing a bit more based on our reputation. If you can call it a plan, then that’s our plan. 

We also want to make the business more stable. We’ve talked about that earlier, about billing models and making some changes we’re making there, which I think is going to be super helpful for everyone. But really we just want to do really good work. That’s our biggest plan.

— Do you have plans to start any other businesses or invest in something?

— Maybe. It is interesting you ask that now because this year I have thought about something like launching another business. I have been thinking about that and talking to some people, but I haven’t really done anything yet.

Are there any new technologies or trends that you follow?

— JavaScript is always changing. There are things that we’ve been looking at like Next.js and Node.js and things like that. We started using Tailwind CSS about a year ago now. And that’s been really great actually for us. We are also looking to do some more in the machine-learning space. It’s something I haven’t done a lot of yet, but it is pretty interesting for me.

— What do you think about cryptocurrency?

— Yeah, I mean it’s an interesting topic right now. Like I told you earlier, this month, I was worried I didn’t buy more Bitcoin 5–10 years ago like everyone else in the world. I think it has some future. It is interesting the way that it’s moving some of control of the monetary system away from governments more to this decentralized model.

Um, which, you know, I think can have some benefits, but also it’s kind of what we have a ton of risks that would come with it. So yeah, I think it is an interesting thing, but I guess we have to wait and see. Who knows? What about you? You are a crypto fan?

– Well, I had never been a crypto fan before a customer paid me in Bitcoins and prepaid me for a huge amount of work. Then I decided to just hold it. I didn’t need the money and let it just sit there. And I was gasping every time I was looking at the exchange rate. Because it changes so much practically on a daily basis.

— What have you heard about Ukraine?

— I’d actually been to Ukraine.

Nice! When?

— Probably about 15 years ago or something, we went to Odesa and Kyiv for a few days. I remember Odesa was really cool with all these clubs by the sea, that was fun.

— This summer I was there three times, and I was like super relaxed. With, like, super crowded bars. I was sure I would bring back the coronavirus, but I didn’t.

— Yeah, so it was just no more. 

— No, maybe because it’s a southern city, or I don’t know why. But many people from Kyiv went there for holidays and for weekends, and it was full of people from Kyiv, actually. But everyone came back super healthy.

What do you think about Ukrainian developers?

— From what I can see from my experience, Ukrainian and other developers from Eastern Europe are very skilled and can do good work. I have worked with some, and generally, they are really good engineers. Sometimes I struggle more with some communication issues, because like with that micromanagement we’ve talked about, they might have taken something too literally and didn’t think it through.  But in general, they are good engineers, and I sometimes feel that it would be much easier to find a good engineer in Ukraine or somewhere like that than here in Mexico.

— I think the landscape should be very similar because Mexico is a big country, and I’m sure there are universities that people graduate from, and there is talent. But also in Ukraine. For example, in our company, the bar is set very high. In this light, we cannot hire just anyone. So the English skills are required only for specific roles like project managers, and for the rest, if they can express themselves at least a little, then it is fine. 

It’s certainly a challenge to find a really good technical talent, but it’s feasible. For that I have two recruiters in the company who are constantly sourcing talent, not only in the technical field but also in sales, marketing, and everyone else you need.

By the way, how do you hire: do you have recruiters or HRs?

— We don’t have any internal HR, but we use external recruiters. It is a mixture of external recruiters and our networks. I try to hire through recommendations for a bonus for teams from referrals. We’ve had quite a few good hires that way. Other than that, we publicize different places where engineers, depending on the world, might look, LinkedIn or Stack Overflow. But it’s challenging, I think.

— Well, from my experience, hiring an in-house recruiter pays off. First of all, they are dedicated to your business, and they don’t help other companies, and it’s also cheaper.

— I mean, like right now we aren’t hiring fast enough, I think, to justify it. In the past, we did have a people and culture manager, and she did hiring as well as sourcing as well as helped improve our culture in general. We have done that. But now she left, and we didn’t feel the need to replace her because we weren’t growing this fast. So now I don’t think it makes sense to us. But yeah, I do get that working with external recruiters can be more expensive and also harder to communicate exactly what your culture is, what you are looking for, and it takes more time. 

We’ve been fortunate to find a few recruiters in Mexico who now understand us, and we just keep going back to them.

Finally, what would you recommend to all the entrepreneurs and founders?  

— In general? Well, perseverance is one. Maybe obvious, but important. It can be scary, there are some fears to get over, I find. Like, ‘Is my idea going to be stupid? Are people going to laugh at me? Is it just gonna fail?’ And if you work full time or have an income, think carefully before you give that up. Can you bootstrap and build something and get momentum before you do that? I definitely think that’s a good idea. 

One thing that I definitely found is to focus on people, and culture, and your management style. If you understand what your culture is, and you hire the right people, then it makes a huge difference. Because if you hire the wrong people, you would spend a lot of time and effort, and it’s very painful.  And that’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. But when you get good people, maybe take care of them, and keep the communication to understand what they need and what they’re looking for in their careers and in their lives so they want to stay with you.

— Thank you for this conversation. I think it’s very insightful and very interesting to hear about your experience. Very unusual, by the way, that an Englishman does business in Mexico in the IT field. I certainly will bring home some interesting information and insights from you.

Work with Ukraine

This interview was recorded before russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The war has already stretched for a year, yet we at Redwerk and many other IT companies in Ukraine keep working to hold our economic front and support local communities.

With work from home, flexible scheduling, and distributed teams so common among IT services agencies here, Ukrainian ICT specialists are able to comply with the clients’ obligations and deliver the work on time. So if you’re considering hiring an IT vendor in Ukraine but fear war-associated risks, please don’t let the media sensationalism or russian propaganda blindfold you. Here is how our clients feel about our work during times of war.

If you truly want to support Ukraine, work with Ukraine. Besides relieving your internal team or taking work off your plate, you’ll positively impact average Ukrainians who can’t leave the country but still need to provide for their families.

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Learn how Redwerk manages war-related risks.
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