After almost three years, today was my last “proper” day at Ackee. In this post, I’d like to take a quick look back about my experience there and what I have learnt. Some comments are more specific to Ackee, while others are more about development agencies in general.
I am not sure how exactly I’d define a startup culture - one could say it’s defined by move fast and break things attitude. That was not the case at Ackee. We have definitely tried to do things properly whenever possible (and I believe we have usually succeeded in that). I’d rather define it as being lean and nimble - what I mean by that is that you don’t impose on yourself long and tiring processes, if you need to do some change quickly, you actually can. This often results in an innovative company where you as a developer can mostly occupy yourself with actual coding (although leanness is definitely not the only measure of success).
The other thing Ackee excels at is maintaining “Ackee Spirit”. The regular events where we could get together and share a good laugh translate to being a better team (of course, the current pandemic has made that a little bit harder). The summer teambuildings that took place at a resort outside of Prague were usually the best - in my opinion, these were also the events that have contributed the most to good inter-relationships. It is hard to truly make friends in the office only. If you run a remote team, these events will be even more important for you than for companies that work from the office. Otherwise, the team members could get quite detached from each other in the long run.
Ackee is a development agency. This comes with all its pros and cons. What I have loved the most about the agency development is that you get to take part in a lot of projects - I have had the pleasure of contributing to projects for WWF, Bundestag (German’s parliament), Ethereum and more - that means apps that use navigations, leverage live streams, Swift code generation and working with blockchain and much more. For me, as I was still relatively new to the app development when I started at Ackee, this meant that my growth just skyrocketed. You also get to create a lot of new projects and in each project you can try some new technology - of course, only to a degree as it is desirable to have the tech stack across the apps relatively similar.
This constant change can also be exhausting for some people and it is more than understandable if some want to rather concetrate on a single project. On the other hand, Ackee has been successful at keeping some projects for a very long time, so there are still some apps that you can work on for a longer period.
I have grown so much in the last three years at Ackee. I have come to Ackee straight outta high school and was just 19 years old and thus Ackee will always be imprinted in my memory as it has been a big part of my formative years. Now, I have been talking about Ackee as a company for the whole post but rather than the company, I mean the individuals that form the company and of whom I have fond memories. I also hope that I can stay in contact with at least some of them 💙
I already know what I will be doing next but that’s a story for another time - for now, I will be enjoying time off and live the life fully.