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Building blocks of a multi-million dollar value creation, and then some more…

We recently crossed $1Million (by a huge margin!) in yearly revenues, and have officially become a multi-million dollar company…

Our #MichaelScott moment 😝

For a bunch of kids coming from very modest family backgrounds, with no generational business exposure nor sense, it was a dream come true when our account books actually reflected these numbers in the last quarter of FY21–22. For me personally, this magic number is a symbolic one. Maybe it has stuck in my subconscious since my early 20s, and though practically it is not necessarily a big number in today’s world; for a part of my subconscious it’ll always remain one 🙂

Though it might sound clichéd, the best part of this story is that we have achieved this as a side-product of what we truly wanted to build here at NonStop. We’d like to believe that the ever-famous Chapter 2 Verse 47 of The Bhagavad Gita applies to us in some way 😇

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन ।
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भुर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ॥

Whose English translation tentatively goes as follows:

You are not “entitled” to any benefits resulting from your actions. At the same time you are not entitled to a state of not acting at all. Thus, you should act according to your stature without any hope of enjoying the fruits of your actions.

Interestingly now that we have achieved it, the day in our lives does not feel any different; maybe with an exception of proving the skeptics wrong. I starkly remember a couple of potential discussions of acquiring NonStop back in 2019 fell apart since the other interested party couldn’t believe in our potential to hit this magic number by the year 2021 🙃

With this milestone past us, and almost all of the income reinvested towards the growth of the organization, the next most important thing for us as founders was to reflect on the things we thought we did right, and the ones we think we should be doing right in the coming days. So here are a few points to put things in perspective:

1. We Grew Organically

We never put the financial load of our dreams on anyone else, and rather chose to grow organically, slowly but surely learning the tricks of the trade. During the initial days of our journey, there were instances when people advised us to take loans to grow quickly. Some advised us to have swanky offices to “attract the right talent” and “potential clients”. Internally we did assess the pros-n-cons of the same and finally arrived at a consensus that we won’t take any external loan for our growth. The definition of “right talent” who would decide whether to join us in our journey based on the “looks of the office” didn’t really fit in our book.

Organic Growth of NonStop (Pic Credit — Pexels)

This decision of ours stood the test of time, and today we are under no pressure whatsoever from whomsoever. As of today when the world is at a tipping point not knowing whether we’re facing an impending financial crash, we can go to bed to a sound sleep knowing well that we don’t owe someone ginormous debt.

Also, the fact that our team members joined us for something more than a cozy office and a cushy end-of-the-month salary proved the fallacy of swanky offices anyways 🤓

2. We made the team part of the journey in a real sense

As founders of a services company, very early on we realized that the strength of such an organization was-is-n-will be its people. We tried our innovative best to reward the team for every success (big or small), announced the personal sacrifices & achievements of the individuals with the whole team, and shared our #Hero moments with each other.

Happy Salary

Every year we discuss what would be the “Happy Salary” expectation of every individual on the team, in order for them to invest another year or two of their professional life at NonStop. We discuss the responsibilities, challenges, past contributions, and prospective career growth if one decides to stay with us on this journey.

Happy Salary Discussions (Pic Credit — Pexels)

Over the years the concept of “Happy Salary Discussions” has had a very positive impact on how we function as a company. In many such discussions, it was really heartening to experience people putting complete faith in their leader’s judgment. There have been a few misses too, but overall I can proudly say that we’ve had a chance to lead people who work with us not (just) for money, but for something more meaningful.

Profit-Sharing

Through the years when the company reached certain financial health, we offered direct profit shares to the qualified members of the team who saw value in sticking with NonStop for the long term.

Profit-Sharing at NonStop (Pic Credit — Pexels)

A rather subtle idea here was also to identify the next set of leaders who would one day potentially shoulder the responsibilities of the founding team. The founders at NonStop have slowly but surely tried to delegate crucial responsibilities to these potential candidates. Sometimes we’ve failed, but most of the time we’ve succeeded. After all what good is a business or a leader, if it/(s)he can not identify the next set of leaders amongst them?!

3. We intended NonStop to be a compassionate group of human beings

Throughout this journey, we have found helping hands in each other when it mattered the most!

A few such heartening stories are as follows:

One of our teammates, Neeta (name changed as I’ve not explicitly taken her permission to share the story on an open platform) who was with us from the very beginning of NonStop had found her calling outside of software development and decided to pursue this passion of hers. It was her last day at the office, and we had gone for a small farewell party. Post lunch just as we were about to return back to the office, to our horror we came to know that the person who was going to replace her had met with an accident and wouldn’t be able to join us for a month or two. On hearing this news, Neeta who had no obligation whatsoever came back to us and said that she would stay back another couple of months so that the team wouldn’t get blocked, and would hang around at NonStop till the person who had met with an accident, would be physically capable joining us back.

When the Covid19 pandemic hit, a few people on the team had a hard time going back to their respective hometowns amidst the strict lockdowns. To add to the troubles one team member got seriously ill and needed immediate medical care. Unfortunately, he was unable to get the much-needed emergency medical care by calling the helplines. In times like these, we witnessed exceptional compassion and courage by our fellow teammates, who risked exposing themselves and breaking the strict lockdowns in order to ensure that this person got timely medical help.

These and many more such stories and sacrifices are not possible unless one has compassion. It makes me proud to share that NonStop stands on such strong foundational values of compassion and sacrifice.

4. We intended NonStop to be a group of (software) engineers passionate about their craft

Empathy, Creativity, Collaboration, and CleanCode are the founding principles of NonStop. Time and again the team proved that we meant them to be so. Through years of collaboration with the tech. startups across the globe, we’ve realized the importance of being fully invested in the vision of the product being built. It is for the same reason that we call ourselves an organization providing “Product Development as an Expertise” rather than just “Software Development as an Expertise”.

Founding Principles of NonStop

One of our goals at NonStop is to encourage every individual to be passionate about software development and computer science fundamentals. Our hiring process also tries to reflect the same belief system when we interview candidates.

When we started working together, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that some individuals’ hobbies at NonStop is computer science i.e. they like to tinker with new technology stacks, and computer science problems whenever they have free time. If this is not a sign of extraordinary software engineers, then I don’t know what is!

Over the years, we’ve witnessed how the discipline and passion for the craft have percolated from seniors down to juniors and new team members. The leadership at NonStop constantly strives to present the team with challenging problem statements, which potentially enables the team to broaden its technological horizons. The leadership also ensures that we fan these passionate sparks by means of exciting rewards and well-deserved recognition.

5. We always tried to stand for what is right, and have stood our ground when it came to matters of our beliefs

Flexibility

We’ve always believed that effective software products are pieces of art, and hence, everyone at NonStop essentially needs to be a crafts(wo)man. For this to happen, every individual needs to work in a setting that (s)he feels is optimal for her/him. This includes what time one works, where one works from etc. Of course, since we generally work in teams, there are a few rules one has to follow for efficient working of a team (Eg: Daily standups); but outside of that everyone has ample freedom to choose and work from the best possible work environment, one can create for herself/himself.

No wonder one of our teammates has this as his ringtone:

Celebrating Parenthood

We strongly believe that parenthood is something to be cherished and celebrated. As a team, we’ve welcomed new mothers and fathers with open arms in the organization.

SuperMommas of NonStop! 🦸🏻‍♀️

The Magic Words

We have strived hard to create a culture of humility, thankfulness, politeness, forgiveness, and apology. We have always owned our mistakes, learned from them, and moved on to build something bigger and better.

The Magic Words

What one says significantly impacts how one makes others feel. We’ve seen people say things that they didn’t mean; and mean things that they didn’t say. Personally, I’ve made foolhardy statements, which when I thought about in calmer times, made me rethink/repent/facepalm. On the other hand, we’ve experienced the positive power of magic words (Sorry-Please-Thanks) first hand. I’ve seen faces brighten up, smiles shape up, body language become positive, and much more when I used these magic words.

All good (and bad) things begin small, get traction by repetition, and slowly but surely define and then become the culture of a person, family, community and organisation.

We’ve realized that these magic words have the power of making small positive changes while working as a collective, and they go on to impact the brand that you as an individual and then as an organization build.

Encouraging Mavericks

We have always tried to hone and encourage the mavericks amongst us to pursue creativity and innovation in their own style. Obviously, it had its own challenges and required quite a lot of effort to fit them into the whole unit. Rather than branding the unconventional individuals as ‘brilliant jerks’ and letting them go at the first instance, we got, we as leaders chose to endure and attempt incremental changes in such individuals…coz that is what leaders should learn to do — Encourage the Mavericks to help create value for the whole community!

Mutual Respect

We’ve always maintained that mutual respect is essential for any successful relationship; be it between businesses or people. In past, we’ve chosen to call off an engagement where we saw a lack of respect and empathy even at cost of revenue.

6. We before Me

For most parts of our existence, we’ve tried to put “We before Me”. A peculiar thing about NonStop leadership is that we inherently carry very different perspectives towards life. However, whenever we have made any decision at NonStop, it has been with a “What we should do” perspective, rather than “What I would do”. One could argue that this is one of our biggest strengths and /or weaknesses. But then I strongly believe that it has been our super-strength to date! We also see the same culture percolate through to the newest members of the team.

As a team, we discuss and are aware of the fact that

In a weak culture, we veer away from doing “the right thing” in favor of doing “the thing that’s right for me.”

that is the kind of culture we’d want to avoid having as an organization.

At NonStop our goal was-in-n-will always be “We before Me”

7. Success ➡ Happiness ➡ Peace

All things being relative, IMHO a worthy goal of NonStop’s existence would be to help everyone associated with it to gain Peace, which is possible only if one is happy, which in turn is possible only if one is successful.

Inner Peace (Pic Credit — DeviantArt)

At NonStop we are constantly in pursuit of defining what ‘being successful’ means.

- Does it mean that you’ve mastered your craft?

- Does it mean that you can easily put yourself in someone else’s shoes and act accordingly?

- Does it mean that you’ve brought something innovative to the table?

and list goes on at NonStop…

We’d also talked about Finding our Ikigai at NonStop sometime back.

What’s next?

These boots are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do 😎✌🏽

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Sumit M

Sumit M

Technical Evangelist. #SoftwareEnthusiast

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