Speak your mind whenever

A solid foundation

We are more than professional. In fact, we are hobbyists and while we do not take anything for granted, we find this gives us a lot for free. And what we do not get for free, we work hard together to acquire.

Loosely organized but tightly knit we tackle complexity and control chaos. While we are a diverse bunch there is a solid foundation of shared values and mutual respect, which has provided a steady footing through the years. When you put great care into the simple things, then usually great things happen naturally.

Understanding the fundamentals, doing the basics really well and being expressly adaptable, means we are free to go anywhere.

Meet the nimble blob

More than anything we are a malleable bunch. Understanding the fundamentals, doing the basics really well and being expressly adaptable, means we are free to go anywhere. This makes us free to let our goals, rather than any existing knowledge, dictate our choices.

Being an R&D outfit, we are required to frequently shift direction and tempo – as we can never be fully certain of where we should be going. So, while we have learnt from everything that we have done before we recognize that there is no universal recipe to be applied and little reuse to be had. We are after all doing something genuinely new.

This makes us humble that we may fail fast, and try again, ensuring we spend our valuable time where it counts. This has made us believers in the power of being few – making us nimble and flexible.

Pretty much everyone here is a developer, without much further typecasting, which avoids the usual resource puzzle. No one gets mock tasks to keep them busy, and everyone is on the critical path together.

As play and progress are intertwined, so are personal development and the success of the company.
As play and progress are intertwined, so are personal development and the success of the company.

Professionals at play

Science tells us that too narrow a focus on the goal and its rewards severely reduces creativity, so we make sure to have lots of play time and a big sandbox.

Intrinsic motivation and play inevitably unlocks possibilities, which we can irreligiously and objectively pick from to move forward. As things start manifesting as hard deliverables, there is bound to be a stream of user data to guide us forward.

While data does wonders to guide us forward, it can also confine us within the space of the known. To come up with something truly inspired, data is rarely the sole answer. We therefore need something unexpected, something creative … we need playtime.

As play and progress are intertwined, so are personal development and the success of the company. We endeavor to make any year at Combination more valuable to the individual than a year anywhere else, so that people stay long and feed all that value back, creating a positive spiral that benefits everyone.

Things are quite simple when you do what you love and you love what you do, when you share a common pleasure. And, of course, “the noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding”.

Going to work should be like coming home.

Work sweet work

Going to work should be like coming home. A real home is not where you happen to hang your hat; a real home is where you feel safe, where people care about you, where you can be yourself.

Caring personally is at the heart of things. Caring personally for each other, the product, the process, the workspace – because everyone has a responsibility and mandate to make and keep this the place where we all want to work. And while most people reciprocate kindness, someone needs to go first, so from the onset we treat each other like friends should.

Caring personally is at the heart of things.
Caring personally is at the heart of things.

Constants

In a world where almost everything is replaceable and software changes rapidly – at least on the surface – many of the field’s foundations have proven enduring and stable. While the hippest of frameworks might enjoy a short stay in the limelight, things we have learnt from the likes of Giuseppe Peano, Alan Turing or Robert C Martin continue to provide insight into challenges we face today.

And while we have come a long way since the birth of our field, no silver bullet has yet emerged. For which we are thankful, since complexity is perhaps the very thing that keeps things interesting as it favors human craftmanship and mastery over reductionistic Taylorism and mindless repetition.

There is something romantic, perhaps nostalgic, about having a small team of qualified individuals being better fit than an army of unmotivated, unskilled and anonymous people for a task – maybe because it cannot function without passion.

We like it when things are hard, when we are challenged by our own little contemporary enigmas to decipher. You might say, we do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard”.