I’ve received a few job offers in my life, but none of them had ever been followed up with, “So, when can you come to New Zealand?” It sweetened the deal that I could catch the tail end of New Zealand summer after one of the most horrendous Ontario winters in memory.
photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Melanie Baker
Turns out that was just the first of many welcome changes that came with working for iwantmyname. By the time I returned to Canada I was in love with New Zealand, with Wellington, and with the kind of company and coworkers I’d been looking for (or trying to build) for most of my career.
I’ve weathered a few boom and bust cycles in the tech industry, and I’ve worked for household name corporations and startups where we worked at folding tables and you could count all the staff on one hand.
Over time you get a really good sense of what works for you (me: autonomy, innovation, fingers in lots of pies…) and what doesn’t (me: grey cube farms, endless levels of bureaucracy, Lotus Notes…)
I recall Lenz and I getting a bit off-track in one of my interviews reminiscing about the foibles of startup life, and knowing that yeah, these folks get it. (I also learned that a blog post about a local brewery served as one of my references…)
I remember asking questions of one of the guys in the office, who didn’t have answers, because he was almost as new as I was. And now, just shy of five years in, I’m the old codger answering questions from the newbs.
photo inside the former iwantmyname headquarters in Wellington, NZ
For us inveterate techies, the greatest working joy is to be able to build things, or make them better. I’ve gotten to do that consistently since I started.
I didn’t come to iwantmyname from the domains industry, but I’ve learned what the broader industry is often like, and have come to greatly appreciate why our founders wanted to do things differently. As we humans online become ever more data points and revenue opportunities thanks to social platforms and advancing tech, I appreciate it even more.
I’ve experienced the eureka moment of feeling competent regarding to the broader DNS ecosystem… and then realizing after another year that I was such a clueless (yet confident) newb the year before.
I’ve also used that hard-won knowledge to train everyone on support who’s been hired after me, which is satisfying. I’ve become comfortable being the The Adult in situations that need one, which is invaluable. (Though on occasion still comes as a bit of a surprise.) Happily, I also have the luxury of having total faith in the abilities of the rest of the support team.
I’ve learned plenty about hiring, that I have no problem working from home, that 15+ hour flights aren’t that bad, and that good folks will understand and pick up the slack when your cat dies. I’ve learned that there will always be messy aspects when building a business with a bunch of misfits, but that it’s never the end of the world.
I’ve learned tonnes about how people tick and how business works in various places around the world. I think it’s especially important for us North Americans to learn that not everyone’s like us, or wants to be, and that everyone knows useful things that you don’t (yet).
And I’ve learned how important it is continue to give back to those who helped you get where you are, and who will help you get where you want to be. So even as we grow globally — thanks, Wellington techies and customers! Imagine what could be if every tech scene had folks as passionate, fun, and helpful as you.
In the past, planning for a company’s future has typically been above my pay grade. Not so here. I appreciate being part of the company’s first ten years, and, along with sharing info from our customers, helping to build the next ten.