tl:dr version: New venture Endocode, we are hiring!
Skill and the will to remain in control of one’s own future seem to come in pairs. I consider myself an expert coder with sugar on top, and a darn good manager, too. Working for the man is nothing more than an acceptable means to the end of making ends meet. If you are a knowledge worker and you left average behind a while ago, chances are you feel exactly the same. However, we all need to eat, and that usually means accepting to do paid work. So what is there to do? Well, for one thing, put that gray matter to use and design a company to your liking, that’s it. Challenge accepted, and we are almost done with it. Meet Endocode.
For work to be motivating beyond getting paid, it has to be meaningful to us. Almost everything that determines how meaningful a job is has to do with participation. Real participation is not about installing an office hour where employees can complain after filing their TPS reports. For each individual, it is about being a part of decisions that are made, being an integral, equal part of the team doing the work, and about receiving a part of the benefits from it. On one hand, there is the good old self-employment bug, where those who have been infected often say that even though being self-employed may be stressful, they would never go back to not being their own master. But there is also the Open Source bug, where contributors to communities have tasted the collaborative ways, and say they would not go back to a place with a traditional, rigid, do-as-I-say model of working. And we think this is a good thing.
Participation and meaning are built right into the corporate setup of Endocode. There are five founders, and even the company name is the result of a lengthy collaboration (believe me, it took a looooong time). Besides that we maintain a close relationship to Open Source communities and products, there is no technological focus. Instead we invite those to join us who have passion in their hearts for something awesome. Well, something awesome related to software engineering, because we are a software company. However, there will be no discrimination. If you are from Pluto and you can code, please apply. And Pluto is not even a planet. Every person that joins Endocode will have the chance to become a partner in the company.
But… when building a collaborative business, when trying to build ideals into the setup of the company, there is always the danger of striving towards some egalitarian utopia which in the end undermines the stability and profitability of the company. We designed Endocode with this experience in mind, and added instruments to maintain long-term operating efficiency. There will be well-documented, collaborative, transparent decision making processes, but we still will get to a decision. Profit sharing mechanism are in place, but we will keep an eye on profitability. This balance is tricky to strike. But the fact that these fundamental problems are understood and actively tackled in Endocode will be reassuring, will help to convince talented future partners to join us.
We are trying to build a company in which knowledge workers can feel right at home and that implements a coherent, profitable business strategy. There will be more details on how the people engaged in Endocode will work together later. The company has been incorporated, and we are now finishing the remaining formalities (hence the “almost done”). If you are wondering what kind of work we do, here is that our partner Chris Kühl has to say about it. And this is our first job opening (still on the old site, it will move soon).