It has been possibly the biggest year yet for WorkingMouse! If you don't believe us check out our ranking on Deloitte's fastest 500 in the Asia Pacific (spoiler alert: we came 70th with 800% growth in revenue since 2015). WorkingMouse has had to grow rapidly to keep up with the growing demand for software in Brisbane. In fact our team grew by over 30% this year including developers, designers, community managers and partnership managers (stay tuned for a new office in the new year).
With so many awesome and talented people at the company we were able to attend some pretty cool events and achieve some even cooler things in 2017. I am so proud of what we accomplished this year so I wanted to share with you just some of our 2017 highlights. I also want to take the chance to thank everyone involved in our epic year!
WorkingMouse began the year with 27 staff and two separate offices. Excited to continue our work from 2016 we kicked off our famous monthly networking lunches in January. It was so great to talk to everyone who attended these events at the Regatta. We hope you all had as much fun exchanging ideas about the fourth industrial revolution as we did.
With our growth hackers in full swing posting great content, the team was honoured to receive third place on SmartCompany's Best Business Blogs 2017.
The team also got to enjoy Australia's premier innovation event, Pausefest. We flew down to Melbourne to hear talks on women in tech, AI and gamification. Of course we made sure we checked out the hoverboards too! The conference was really well organised and the talks gave us a few ideas for the remainder of 2017.We can't wait to do it all again at Pausefest 2018. If you are as excited as us you should grab one of only 1000 tickets here. I will be opening Day 2 of Pausefest 2018 talking about the future of work, so come and have a chat.
WorkingMouse was breaking down barriers all through March. The wall dividing our two offices was smashed down early in the month to create one big open plan space. We also got to welcome our first female developer Monika!
March also involved the rise and fall of Myriad in Brisbane. The team had an awesome time on the opening night. It was great to see everyone from the Brisbane tech scene out in full force. Unfortunately cyclone Debbie brought an abrupt end to the weekend, but thanks to the benefits of technology, many of the talks were able to be streamed online for those who couldn't make it in the storm.
In April we received the news that Codebots was a recipient of a $250K grant courtesy of Advance Queensland's Ignite Ideas Fund! This meant we were ready to hire even more team members and get more creative with our internal projects.
We also introduced the variation metric to the company and our partners. The variation metric is WorkingMouse's solution to scope creep. I have written a whole blog post dedicated to explaining how this tool is utilised by measuring the variation during requirements and comparing it with the original scope.
The WorkingMouse team was full steam ahead, with May being one of our busiest months of the year. The Codebots hype started growing, including a feature on page 4 of the Queensland Business Monthly Magazine.
May was the month for events at WorkingMouse with the whole UX team attending the Design Conference 2017. Our growth hacker Elena also spoke on the UQ Ideas Hub panel alongside some other big names in the Brisbane startup scene. Indi and myself were honored to represent WorkingMouse as mentors during the iLab Mentorblaze8.
In June the team was hard at work. We finished the very first Codebots internal MVP, had a ridiculous amount of new vision meetings and delivered three new scopes.
By the time July came around we were so excited about what was happening within the company that we launched our first ever WorkingMouse newsletter! If you haven't already done so, you should subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with all our events and news. For those of you who have been following us for a while, check out how far we've come by reading our first ever newsletter.
In July I attended the Venturer Program at the Whitsundays and somehow made the front cover of the Whitsunday Times (must have been my good looks). This program was designed to build character and so was extremely challenging and character building. If you want to know more about how kayaking in the deep blue lead to some deep thoughts you should read my blog post on my lessons learnt from the program.
However, perhaps the biggest news in July was the internal release of Codebots! This allowed project teams to utilise the benefits of writing up to 300,000 lines of code in 1 minute, while also working out some of the kinks in the lead up to the public launch of our product.
The month of August brought fibre internet to WorkingMouse (and coincidentally some much happier developers and designers). Another increase to productivity was the introduction of new Frank Green sustainable coffee cups. The WorkingMouse and Codebots branded cups have powered many of our client meetings since.
I also got the chance to speak on an episode of the Morgan's 40 under 40 podcast hosted by Chris Titley. Later in the month #Ventured visited the office and Codebots had the chance to feature on the series by our favourite videographer Hugh Whitehouse.
August also brought a new 457 visa employee, Nina from Germany! Nina has been an incredible addition to the UX team, bringing some impressive qualifications and talent to the company.
September is the month of waterfall. WorkingMouse has been a loyal agile follower since its inception. However, after realising the high risk of scope creep when using agile methodologies, I ended up researching alternatives. WorkingMouse is now an advocate of both the waterfall and agile methodologies. If you want to know more about my reasoning behind this decision, I have written a blog post on the differences between agile and waterfall and how to pick the right fit for your project.
In October we got to crack out our bow ties for the Lord Mayor's Business Awards where we had been nominated as a finalist in two categories (Product Innovation and High Growth Startup). Unfortunately we didn't win but it was an honour to be nominated considering the calibre of the other finalists.
I was also invited to speak at FuckUp Nights on the Gold Coast alongside Uber Eats' Queensland General Manager Susan Anderson and Mark Sowerby who was the previous Queensland Chief Entrepreneur. The event was a huge success, and as a big believer in learning from failures I have no doubt FuckUp Nights will only grow stronger.
Perhaps our biggest achievement in the month of October however, was our Partners' Handbook. This is the online resource we now provide to all our partners. It outlines the software development journey and highlights their responsibilities during the process. Providing our partners with this information allows them to make informed decisions and help mitigate the risks associated with software development.
I somehow made the news again in November, this time featuring in the Courier Mail to talk about our issues in getting NBN to our company office in St Lucia. I was also honored with the opportunity to speak about Australia's slipping position in the global digital economy at the National Digital Strategy Consultation Workshop at QUT.
This month it was Matty, our CTO's turn (alongside our Codebots representative Tiah) to attend the Venturer program, which was held in Tasmania. To learn about how going into the wilderness has anything to do with startups, you can read Codebots' blog article "Venturer Mission II".
No one finishes a year like WorkingMouse. We had such a great year in 2017 we wanted to make sure we went out with a bang. That's why we had our launch party and our first public live demos for Codebots this month!
Our first live demo was at my favourite kind of conference, Brisbane AI. I sacrificed a small lamb to the demo gods and crossed all our fingers and wires in the lead up to the event. While we had successfully used our Codebots application in client demonstrations and internally, you never know what's going to happen as soon as you stick a hundred or so people in front of your screen. Luckily it all went off without a hitch! Following that night we opened our beta applications to the public, so if you are interested you should apply to use AI that writes code.
A week later it was time for the Codebots launch! We had over 150 people in attendance including customers, potential customers, colleagues and staff members so the pressure was on. Massive thanks to everyone who came along and shared our excitement. It was very cool to finally show everyone how awesome our product is, after talking about it for so long. If you want to hear more about how the launch went, you should have a read of the article the Brisbane Times wrote.
To wrap up an awesome 2017, we had our Christmas party last week. In true WorkingMouse style we all went to the movies to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While I will let you all make your own minds up about the movie, it did include one of my new favourite quotes "the greatest teacher, failure is" (I won't spoil who that came from).
WorkingMouse finished this year with ten new clients, over fifteen scopes, a new product and 15 new staff members. We look forward to being even bigger and better in 2018 (we are hiring more than 10 new staff and Codebots is getting ready to go public)! I hope you have all had an equally great year. Merry Christmas and happy new year from the entire WorkingMouse team.
Let me know on Twitter what your favourite achievement, event or learning was this year.