My First Month at Balsamiq Studios
Hi everyone, I'd like to share with all of you my impressions of the first month as Balsamiq employee. It was an exciting, productive, revolutionary, life-changing month. In one word: wonderful!
There are now three places where I work: the office, my home, and my father's office.
The "office" is a room in Peldi and Mariah's apartment. This little room contains all the equipments of Balsamiq: two IKEA desks for Peldi and myself, four big whiteboards, a printer-fax-copier, two bookshelves full of books, and a stereo system that plays mostly portuguese translations of David Bowie songs.
My desks hosts a PowerBook G4 12" and a good wide LCD DELL 20" as external display. Both are my own, if you care, and both will be replaced soon by new hardware. Yet, I'm very satisfied with the amount of work that the little PowerBook can still do after five years of life. It's true love between the PB and I! 🙂
Peldi's desk hosts a 17'' MacBook Pro with a 23'' Cinema Display. Even with the huge viewing area, he sometimes complains that the space is not enough! He is right: if you have to write code, once you get a second display you won't ever go back: tons of pixels FTW!
One more item you can find on Peldi's desk is Balsamiq's cash register: it is an old Mac mini G4 that plays a loud ca-ching! sound every time someone buys a license of Mockups. Though a bit distracting, it's a great motivator during boring or complex tasks and it reminds us that we work for some real people out there! 🙂
Occasionally I work at home. It happens in the morning, when I'm alone, or after dinner, when my wife Maddalena is tired and goes to sleep just after our baby daughter Caterina. Working at home is fantastic. You have all your stuff, your family (sleeping!), your music... it's very comfortable - but unfortunately there is no second display...yet.
When Peldi is away, like in these days before Easter, I work at a desk in my father's office. He is happy to see me quite often (I am too, papi!) and I have a place where to work in peace. Second monitor? An old 20" Sony CRT.
This may sound as a minor thing, but it is truly a big quality of life improvement. Now I bike every day, free from the traffic! As a consequence I'm re-discovering how beautiful Bologna is, I recommend a visit if you ever come in Italy.
Another characteristic of this job is that we are fully exposed on the Internet. What we do - if we do it well - is under constant attention by a lot of people...customers, blog readers, Twitter followers, enthusiasts of our company, competitors...
At my former job (a big company) there was no reason for the customers to see the faces of the Research and Development team's members. The results of my job made happy some people that I never met, so I felt like a spectator of what was happening on the outside, and it was absolutely normal. My professional World was around my desk.
Now things are totally different. My role requires openness and transparency. The product we sell includes our faces: people trust in Balsamiq if they trust in us. It's a big challenge, both professional and on a human level.
I have to admit that being pushed in front of thousands people excited about the outstanding work done by Peldi is not the most ordinary situation that a quite experienced C/C++ software developer can manage :), so I was a bit scared on my first day. But the welcome was so warm that I forgot suddenly the insecurities and enjoyed the new adventure.
What are my impressions of Peldi? You already know "how we met", so I'll keep it short. 🙂
You know Peldi from what he writes on this blog. Now let me tell who he really is. He is... exactly like Mockups! Creative, fast, effective, direct to the point: the product mirrors its creator perfectly.
I'm very happy to be part of Balsamiq, I couldn't fit better anywhere!