Although our headquarters is near Pittsburgh, our developers all work from home. We’ve been doing the virtual dev team thing since the dawn of the company when two of the founders lived in Chicago and the third lived in Pittsburgh. In 2004, when we decided to hire our first new developer, we hired someone we knew from the Chicago area, and he worked from home too. Still does.
Keeping the developer role a work-from-home position has allowed us to recruit great developers from all over the U.S. It’s worked out well for us.
While there are great benefits to working from home, every now and then it’s nice to engage your fellow teammates in meat-space, or IRL, as the cool kids say.
Hence, TrackAbout DevCon was born.
You may be familiar with Google’s policy that each employee is granted 20% free time to pursue their own interests. Some projects become real Google products like GMail, Google News, Google Talk, and AdSense.
Google has nearly infinite resources, and with thousands of talented developers trying so many things, once in a while one of them is going to be a winner and create a major new revenue stream.
Obviously, TrackAbout does not have infinite resources. But we admire the spirit of Google’s free time policy and would like to emulate it to the degree we can.
As the CTO of TrackAbout, one of my jobs is to hire and retain awesome developers. We used to be horrible at this, and today I’m happy to say we don’t suck. This post looks back at the evolution of our approach to recruiting.