I’ve been doing a lot of outward thinking* lately about Wizard Development’s vision. “Vision” means a lot of things to a lot of people, so I should specify. To me it means the general principles and goals by which everyone in our company should guide their actions. I believe that, in general, everyone is a nice person and will try to act accordingly. However, having specific and clear goals will help everyone work together. Here are Wizard’s:

Outward Vision: To help small businesses’ dreams come true by building tools and applications which allow them to be more impactful in their business.

Inward Vision: To teach ourselves and each other to be the best developers we can be, and for our company to be a model of how we’d like our industry to operate.

People are solving problems all around us all the time. Small businesses are usually local and employ our friends and neighbors. By meeting the needs of their community small businesses  strengthen them. By moving their operations out of clunky tools (like Excel and email) and into custom applications, we enable them to do a lot more with a lot less. This should, in turn, benefit the communities they serve.

I speak a lot about wanting a diverse team. When I first explored starting Wizard Development, I wanted to hire a small and diverse team of senior developers so we could hit the ground running and tackle gigantic, complex problems. When you have a diversity of people, you get a diversity of ideas and ultimately that leads to a stronger team, stronger products, and just maybe stronger people. Unfortunately, diversity in senior developer roles barely exists. Software development has abysmal numbers in the categories of age, sex and race. This means that in order to get that senior team, I’m going to need to hire a diverse team of junior developers and help them grow.

I don’t think I could do this without the help of my developer community. These people, many of whom I’ve worked with professionally and in Open Source software, have become my friends. A lot of them run events with the goal to educate and empower. Some of them have become amazing teachers. Others spend all their time solving problems for all our benefits. I want to link you to some of these people’s work, but they have so many projects I don’t know where to start. Most importantly we share some common values: Teaching, Learning, Inclusivity, and Acceptance.  I’ve already tapped a few of these wonderful people to help Wizard grow in both our business and our training. I can’t wait to see how we can start giving back.

And so I’m putting my money where my mouth is and hiring a diverse junior team. My partner Sara just graduated from the Flatiron School’s Brooklyn Web Development Fellowship (BK-000). During her 5 month course she introduced me to the brightest minds I’ve ever met. The Fellowship did the hard part of diversifying the industry –  they selected a class of students with a population representative of New York and gave them a fundamental understanding of computer science and web development. I had the luxury of watching them learn and seeing their curriculum, and I’m excited. They graduated two days ago and they are now entering our industry. My first job offers are going out to them.

I’m really looking forward to refining these two visions as we work together. =)

-Francis

* It’s when I think about something and tell everyone about it, over and over.