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HR

All the pieces matter - Visuality DNA

Michał Piórkowski
Founder

Coding our DNA

As some of you may know, over 11 years ago me and my partner - Marcin Dąbrowski - started Visuality. At first, it was just the two of us, doing everything, acting as a large company so that larger companies would be ok with hiring us.

Then we met Michał Młoźniak, our first CTO and also a partner in Visuality. That moment changed the vision of the company a lot. We have decided we didn't want to be an Interactive Agency, but a Software Development House instead. As first clients appeared we also felt that it was impossible to do it properly just with us on board.

And this is where the true history began - because we started hiring people.

As a person responsible for most of the HR I must say that we were truly lucky. All of the people we hired so far were good choices (short or long-term). When I look back I tend to wonder - how did we do that, and what's even more important - who actually came to work with us. To answer that, let's focus on few basic things:

Why do we run a company

So the first thing is really simple and extremely important, as it will influence all of your future hires. We always knew that we wanted to achieve one goal - quality. Not money, nor size or fame but the best quality.

That is the first and the very important factor that influences all of the company. Because, if you focus on quality you invest in people and in the company itself (such a truism). You don't think about expanding your business. You do it when you feel that you can do so, without jeopardizing the one and only goal. To reach this goal you are actually forced to concentrate on the people - treat them as a family and trust them.

What kind of people do we want to work with

"... a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal."

So once you know what's your actual purpose in business you can start thinking about the kind of people that will let you achieve that. There is a saying, pretty cliche, running around the business world "always hire people who are better than you". Personally, I think that this is the essence when it comes to their potential - but not knowledge.

Since day one we believed in hiring people who have a gift. That is why I barely look at CVs. I try to talk to everybody, even if it is a short email or a phone call. It's amazing how much you can actually feel about any person when you talk to him/her - instead of wondering which school did he/she finish or what was his/hers exact experience. Don't get me wrong - knowledge and education is important - but we have already proven many times, that some people will get to a given level of expertise very fast - and those people are the ones that you want to work with.

So we have potential - what's next? I would go for being responsible.

Seems strange, right? But if you think about it - it absolutely isn't. Remember - we're after quality - not money, fame (oh yeah, there are people like that!) or size of the company. We need to work with people who are responsible. Not only with their work, but also with their words. In the tech-world I sometimes meet people, that are amazing in their area of expertise, but are total jerks in life - they are not able to communicate with their co-workers or clients. There are also people that treat their work just as a next opportunity to earn money and exit whenever they can.

Both of these features would ruin our vision. We, people of Visuality, are (and I'm not afraid to say it) good with people as much as we are with our technical skills. I'm never afraid when our clients talk to anybody in the company. I'm also never worried about of our commitment to the project.

These two traits of character combined, make a perfect team member. But there is something else, something different...

Do you like your team?

That part is tricky - as a lot of people believe that this is the way to ruin your business life - but I find it a bit different. I'm talking about getting closer with the people that work with you.

I truly believe that working with people you actually like helps in building a great company. I think, that the better you know your team members and the more you like each other, the better relationship you will have when it comes to business. And what helps in getting to know each other? Common interests for example - and this is the part when it gets interesting.

Whenever I hire somebody I try to understand what are their interests. This way we can incorporate them into our everyday life. So far we worked together with people that are experts in shooting, physics, poker, long-distance mountain hiking, playing instruments (actually few people), sewing old time dresses, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, politics, cooking, rock climbing, making electronic music, sailing, pro-fishing, Japanese language and culture, pro-chess, heavy partying (quite a few), IoT stuff, teaching languages, teaching programming, dj-ing, chemistry and many other areas. And having such inter-disciplinary team is one of our greatest strengths. At Visuality people do like each other - we party a lot and spend time together - not because we have to, but because it's always fun!

Conclusion

I wanted to write this article for a long time now, but only today I have found the true inspiration and the ultimate meaning of what we do here. I don't know if any of you watched the tv-series of all times "The Wire" but in any case, I encourage you to watch this small fragment:

Best part at 1:10 - "We're building something here, detective. We're building it from scratch. All the pieces matter."

And at this point, I would like to thank every piece of this Visuality puzzle for being here and for allowing us to create this amazing place.

Michał Piórkowski
Founder

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