Paola: Hi, I’m here with JC Grubbs, CEO of DevMynd. JC, please tell me what your company does.
JC Grubbs: Sure. We’re an agile web and software solution provider. We do custom solution for a lot of industries and we really focus on the higher end of consulting, so a lot of niche programming problems that really require a set of senior development talent to execute.
Paola: Can you tell me an interesting story about your business?
JC Grubbs: Sure. We’re in a building and it’s only one of two buildings in Chicago that still has a manual operated elevator, so the building dates back to the 1920s, so it has a lot of character and we love it.
Paola: Tell me about some interesting projects you’ve worked on.
JC Grubbs: Sure. Since last year we’ve done a ton of really cool things. We’ve had a couple different clients in men’s fashion, which wasn’t really a business area we sought out, but sort of fell in our laps and as part of that we got to do some pretty cool machine-learning, algorithm programming, recommendation engines and things like that. And some really cool math based problem sets that were challenging for the team, that really helped us step up our game on the core computer science kind of meat of programming.
We’ve worked with a couple of education platforms as well, which is really cool. We get to do some mobile app developments focused on teacher training, so you’re really building your bridge experiences for educating teachers and getting their feedback on their teaching process. We’ve done some awesome user interface challenges this year. We’ve really grown a lot in our front-end development and focusing on really rich user experiences both on the web and mobile platforms.
Paola: What would you say makes your services better than your competitors?
JC Grubbs: Sure. I’d say our focus on client communication and collaboration is just something that I think sets us apart from a lot larger firms. We are very, very high-touch. We maintain pretty strict agile principles, which allow customers to kind of react to the new code that they’re seeing on a very, very regular basis; make just-in-time decisions, which really take a lot of weeks out of the process. I’d say our real skill on the process is maintaining high collaboration levels with the clients.
Paola: What do you think is one thing that you really attribute to your success as a company?
JC Grubbs: Oh, wow. I think the only thing that any company can really attribute their success to is their people. We focus a lot on hiring the best and brightest in the industry and really taking care of them. We do a lot of maintaining our company culture and the quality of our employees. We really focus a lot on continuous learning. Everyone is challenged everyday with something that they need to learn and grow and I think that keeps developers happy. It also continues to build our services to be more and more robust.
Paola: What are some tactics you use to create a strong company culture?
JC Grubbs: We maintain a very strict 40-hour work week, so work/life balance is really important. We focus less on levels of billable hours as delivering value to customers, so there’s not a, “you must fill 40 hours a week.” kind of stipulation. It’s really around delivering value to the client. What that does is, it gives employees purpose and purpose is really the thing that we find drives people.
If they feel like they’re delivering value and the customer is happy with their work and it’s being turned into a valuable product for the customer, then employees are motivated and happy. Really, I guess, maintaining balance and picking great clients to work with that have challenging projects and give us that opportunity to really learn and have some purpose, I think those are the core mechanisms we use to maintain culture.
Paola: Okay, great very cool. JC, I know you’re busy, but I have one last question for you. Tell me your predictions for your company in the next year.
JC Grubbs: Sure. We are kind of on a hiring spree right now. We’re really growing and we’re taking on a lot of new clients. We’re hoping to almost double the size of the company in 2013. We’re really looking forward to a strong year. We also have some goals to get into some other industries and broaden the base of clients that we’re able to take on, so we’re looking to focus on a few niche areas; finance, health care and a couple places where we haven’t done as much work as we like. It’s important for any consultancy like ours to have a really broad base of skills and past experiences, so this year we’d like to grow that catalog of experience.
Paola: You’re looking to do some major hiring and also broaden your industries. What are some ways that you plan to broaden the industries that you currently work with?
JC Grubbs: Sure. We’re doing a lot networking; it’s one of the best places to do that. A lot of our business comes in on referrals, so we’re really focusing on our own network. Beyond that, we’re also doing a lot of community events this year, so workshops on lots of different technologies, things that we kind of have some expertise in. We’re going to be doing those for free for communities and we’re going to be targeting those towards the industries that we’d love to break into. Those kinds of mechanisms are what we’re going to use for that.
Paola: Okay, very cool. Well, JC I thank you so much for sitting down and interviewing with me.
JC Grubbs: Sure thing.
Paola: If you’re interested in learning more about DevMynd and connecting with JC, go to Fundology.