In good company

When you read our about page we mention all the usual text you see on a company’s about section. You see the history of the company, the work we do, how we do it and so on. But something that stands out about us is the section about “we love what we do”. When you do work you’re passionate about you do a better job of it - plain and simple. And we really do pride ourselves in the work we get to do and the quality of the people we get to do that work with.

The Culture

Back when it was just Dave and I working at Coldfront full time we started our first Corporate Culture document. We got the idea of creating the doc after meeting some of the folks at DrupalCon San Francisco who worked at MariaDB. We wanted to put on paper (or at least digital paper) what was so special about working for Coldfront. Why it was better working here than our previous day jobs. So we created the doc and left it open to be edited by anyone who decided to join the team. It started out simple, adding stuff about the technology, the use of open source and openness in general. The transparency of how well the company was doing, the quality of the work and how happy our team was were all things we openly shared. Mind you at the time there were only two of us so all of this could be accomplished over a pint after work. But as we grew, we found that sharing this with new team members who were for all intents and purposes strangers at the time of hiring really struck a cord with them. We trusted them with information about the company as a whole, financial data, personal information, everything. We treat our employees as partners. When we make job offers we explicitly state this is an offer to “work with us” not “work for us”.

The openness of the culture adds a sense of ownership and pride. That your actions do have an impact on the whole of Coldfront. That we are only as good as the sum of our parts.

The People

Given the open nature of the company, the people which make up the company are very important. We share our corporate culture document with prospective employees before and after the interview. That way they can make the choice if ours is the type of company they’d like to work for. For some it isn’t. In fact for most it isn’t. A lot of people don’t want the pressure or responsibility of knowing exactly how their performance affects the company and their colleagues directly. It takes a special kind of person to take on that responsibility and at the same time trust the others to do the same for them. The benefits however are incredible. The cooperation and teamwork I see day to day from everyone is amazing. There’s never any blame, office politics or any kind of ill-will. We’re all here to do the job and do it well. If someone stumbles the rest of us move in to help. People aren’t afraid to make mistakes or push boundaries. The work being done is our work and we enable each other to do that work in the best way possible; we’re happy.

The Technology

The way we work and the type of people we work with naturally lead us to using open source tools. The openness of the company and the people naturally fit with using open source technologies. We started by using Drupal 6 in 2007, moved to Drupal 7 in 2011 and since then have expanded our toolkit to include Puppet, GitLab CE, Node.js, Vagrant, CentOS, etc. The community around the technologies we use and the capacity to share ideas and improve that technology is a driving force for us. We want to use the best technology in the world to do our work. And what better way to ensure that than by help build the best technology in the world. All the open source communities we work with (and especially the Drupal community) have welcomed us and our participation in those projects.

The Results

When you marry a culture with the right group of individuals alongside communities and technology which complement those individuals you literally have a winning combination. We’re proud to say that we’ve been listed as one of the top 10 web development firms in Canada by Clutch. It’s a real testament to the team we have and the pride we have in our work. Looking at the list of companies, we’re the smallest in size (less than 10 employees) in a list of companies of ranging between 50 to 250 employees. Because of how we do our work, the people we work with and the technology we choose to work with we provide amazing results and quality to our clients. I look at each one of our team members as a “container of concentrated awesomeness” that lets us do the best work we’ve ever done.

I’m proud of everyone that makes up Coldfront Labs and to be able to work with them every day.

Mathew Winstone CEO / Co-Founder