Since 2012, I’ve been developing websites and web apps, mostly on WordPress, Laravel, and Gatsby, mostly for clients (that is, no real personal projects). I’ve worked on my own as a freelancer and now I work with an awesome group of folks at The Digital Ring in Madison, Wisconsin. The the team of people with whom I work are some of the best human beings on the planet, not kidding and not exaggerating!
It’s in this environment I see many of my colleagues thriving, and I’m not surprised. We have a great culture and every single person goes out of their way to help each other out and give our clients a great experience.
So, why am I tooting our collective horn?🎺…
The environment the partners of The Digital Ring have created is the exact environment I thrive in. It is the environment I tried (with some success) to create for myself as a freelancer. Whenever someone asks me “Nate, why did you become a developer?” or “Nate, why do you like working at The Digital Ring?”, my answer is typically the same:
The Trifecta of Goodness…Me
What is the “Trifecta of Goodness” you ask? Well, it’s…
Learning New Things
My dream job, seriously, would be “professional student”. If money was not an issue, and I had the choice, I would literally go to school or some kind of apprenticeship program every day for the rest of my life. I love learning new things. Whether it’s language (spoken or programming), a new way to cook something, or a new revelation about a friend, I love to learn. As a developer, the landscape around me is shifting, and I’m constantly learning new things to keep up and meet the needs of our projects. On a typical project, I’ll hope 10% to 20% of the project is something I know nothing about. It brings me great joy (and plenty of frustration) to learn and apply a new solution to a problem. Which leads me to the next point in the trifecta…
Potentially one of the greatest rewards and endorphin hits is when a previously vexing problem is solved. Clients come to me/us all the time with problems:
- An out-of-date ticketing system that is broken most of the time
- A website or marketing strategy that isn’t converting like they need
- A greenfield project that needs a quick turnaround and custom design
- API integrations to cut down on manual work
- And on and on…
Clients and people in general have plenty of problems that need solving. There’s just about no greater joy in my work than, after I’ve built something for a client, it’s presented to them and they sit back and breathe a sigh of relief. “That’s just what we needed.”
I LOVE that feeling, which brings me to the final piece of the trifecta…
When our clients are not only passably satisfied by our projects, but there is literal relief and maybe even joy in using what we’ve built for them, I can’t help but feel a sense of deep joy and pride in our work. Plain and simple: I love helping people. If it’s a client with a problem to solve in their everyday work, I’ll learn whatever I need to in order to build and give them a better software tool at their disposal to make their lives easier. If it’s building something for one of my colleagues, I’ll make sure whatever new feature they have to manage is intuitive and efficient so what they need to do is simple, straightforward, and easy.
While I’ve felt the Trifecta of Goodness defined my approach as a freelancer for a long time, I also know the company I now call home encourages and expects the same.
I hope the framework of the trifecta is helpful in defining your development journey, whether you’re a lone freelancer, or function as part of a team. It’s also a good litmus test for any team, agency, or company with which you find yourself working.