The beginning of June marked the start of my journey at Quba - in the blink of an eye 15 years have passed.
I vividly remember going to the interview as a shy final year student. Other than my 3rd year work placement, it was my first "proper" job interview, and I was nervous to the extreme. Will they like me? Will they think I'm a fraud? (I still have imposter syndrome now to be fair). Will I spill water all over myself? All genuine fears.
Thankfully everyone I met was incredibly friendly and made me feel at ease - this is the underlying ethos of what Quba is all about. One of the interviewers was co-founder and current Marketing Director Matt Jones, and he continues to be supportive to this day.
Luckily, I managed to remain water free, and was offered the job. 15 years later, I'm still here. This could be considered somewhat unusual in the world of tech where people tend to move around frequently. However, it is not unusual within Quba - my colleagues Gareth and Ji are only 5 years behind me.
This got me thinking, why is that? What is it about Quba that makes people want to stay so long?
A cynic might think it's because it’s an easy and safe position, where you just turn up and get paid without having to think. This couldn't be further from the truth. If it was then I would not still be here - I get bored easily and need to be constantly busy.
Agency work just isn't like this. As an agency we don't have a tangible "product" so to speak. We're not selling our own software or goods. We are selling the expertise of our people. And this means that every project we work on is different, and we must continually learn and evolve. I have lost count of the amount of technology pivots we have made over the years; CMS platforms, frontend frameworks, ORMs, the list is endless. This can sometimes be overwhelming for new starters - you must take on board information about dozens of clients and their idiosyncrasies, and the software they use. This isn't for everyone, but for me it keeps me constantly engaged and enriched.
Outside of the actual development, a huge factor in play is the people we have. There is a specific type of person that fits the mould of a "Quban". This is hard to put into words, but a big part is being able to support and nurture other people. Every developer at Quba knows they can reach out to any other developer for help, and they will get it, no questions asked. Everyone helps each other out and wants them to succeed. This has been the same the whole time I have been at Quba, and I see myself as the guardian of this culture.
We never sit still, and the next chapter looks to be the largest change we have done for some time.
Historically we have been aligned with traditional CMS platforms, however the landscape is changing. Platforms are now in the cloud offering SaaS and PaaS structures, and this lends itself to a composable approach, i.e., connecting systems together rather than building huge monoliths.
This gives us more opportunity to build API-first systems, which are more interesting from a technical perspective. With new platforms to learn, such as BigCommerce and Contentstack, the future is certainly and interesting one.
There have been many highlights over the last 15 years, but I thought it would be fun to think of some of the more interesting moments. In no order…
One of our clients was a supplier of turf and topsoil. Someone did a test order, but the client didn't cancel it, so we ended up getting a few tonnes of topsoil delivered to the office. When you consider that the office was on second floor of a city centre block, the question asked by the driver of "where do you want it?" seemed a bit defunct!
Turning up to work to find a colleague had overindulged on their own leaving do and was fast asleep outside the main entrance.
Organising a multi-tier pool league in the office, with promotion and relegation. We even had trophies!
I have crossed paths with many people during the last 15 years, but it would be remiss if I didn't give thanks to Matthew and Matt who have given me endless support, as well as the great development team I have the pleasure of piloting.
Here's to many more years of building cool things!
Get more of this by subscribing to our regular newsletter