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April 17, 2015

A new job, like a new branch of code, is an opportunity for change, reflection, and gratitude.

I'm grateful to my peers at Acquia who brought me on board when I had more passion to offer than skill. They taught me what it meant to be a professional--that it's important to expect nothing but the best work of yourself, and delivering business value is what truly matters.

They taught me that you can't solve a problem you don't understand, and you don't understand a problem that you can't reproduce.  We don't guess. We test our assumptions, dig through the layers, and ask question after question. We do whatever it takes to understand. Solid understanding takes time, but not as much time as it takes to "solve" the same problem over and over again.

They taught me to claim the moral high ground. We were there to bring unprecedented levels of transparency, openness and collaboration to the government entities we worked with. It can be hard to remember that when you're nudging pixels or cleaning up poorly formatted data. But over time, having a vision like that yields fruits.

They taught me the value of continual improvement. When I started at Acquia, our team had entered a new engagement where employees worked 55+ hours a week writing poorly versioned code for one-off campaigns on a complex website that lacked technical conventions and didn't empower it's content creators. It would be easy to accept this situation as "the way things are here" but my team didn't. We iterated on process, workflow, communication, and technology, and by the time I left nearly every aspect of the work was better than we found it. The world is full of chaos, and the ability to transform that chaos into order is highly valuable. It's ok if it takes time.

So when I told my peers I was leaving my rapidly growing company to work for a small web agency in Dayton Ohio, they were confused.

"Ohio?!?", one person responded.

Here's why I'm excited about joining Sparkbox.

They have a great team. I know, everybody says they have a great team, but you know one when you see it, and now I can say I've seen it. A great team is one where everyone is valued and everyone belongs. It's one where there's an environment of openness and honesty, one where people care about each other and trust each other. It's a team that pursues excellence, but retains humility.

They make good investments. In my opinion, poorly-run companies meet milestones in the present by borrowing from the future. They prioritize shareholders over customers, they delay awkward conversations, they bury their contact info, and they burn out employees. Incurring these debts works for a while, but it doesn't last. Sparkbox does the opposite. They bring on paid apprentices who learn and grow their web skills. They educate themselves and share what they learn with others. They give back to their community through sharing thoughts, process, code, workshops, and meetups. Those investments accrue, and they pay off.

They care about the details. From pull requests, to commit history, CSS class names to jQuery selector performance, they study the details to ensure they get it right. They care about solid implementation, using the right tools, and mastering their domain  Maybe it's an attitude that grew out of the Clean Coders meet-ups. Wherever it came from, it's here, and I'm glad.

If these traits sound familiar, then maybe it's because you've read Jim Collins' "Good to Great". "Getting the right people on the Bus," "Pushing the Flywheel," "Level 5 leaders"... all of it is happening here and I'm really excited to be a part of it. If you want to be a part of it too, then get in touch... we're hiring. ;)

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