Happy new year! 2017 is now over, and it’s time for us to contemplate everything that happened in Octo Technology Australia and appraise our success and failures.
Hidden Tech Challenge
Late 2017, we launched a geolocated quiz game in Sydney, and it was a lot of fun. Not only did we build the product from the idea to the delivery, but we also handled the communication, animation and follow-up of the game.
We had a retrospective on this initiative and it revealed we were all happy with the technologies involved (Vuejs, AWS lambda, serverless, circleci, S3…), the friendly and self-disciplined team dynamic and the results (more players than we hoped for).
The changes we’d like to see for next time is to be more data-driven, to dedicate more office time to it, and to keep trying to communicate more effectively.
This was mostly a success, we are very proud of what we did and how we did it.
4 Coding nights
We’ve also had coding nights, a geeky time at the office where we try to build something fun and operational within an evening. Preferably not just a web/mobile app.
We had 4 of them:
- Ping pong game referee with Amazon Alexa, AWS lambda, React and an LCD screen plugged to a raspberry pi. This night also ignited 2 more Alexa projects, a BOF timer and Houston.
- Office presence detector with a magnetic reed switch, a Raspberry Pi and Slack
- Image recognition with an Android application, AWS lambda, AWS Recognition
- Rock-paper-scissors application with LeapMotion, React, Websockets, Nodejs, Express, EC2, AS3 … This one was a very special one, since we had a bunch of people from Accenture Australia with us and a lot of cheese (fondu party)!
These nights are always a good deal of fun and learning, and they are a good opportunity to work altogether.
We’ll definitely do that again, and we already have plenty of ideas to implement.
10 Meetup presentations
We did a few meetups presentations, including:
- MAPE Regressions
- Kata Bowling in Haskell
- Machine Learning using biased data
- Alexa Houston
- Elm hands-on
- Making the right product the right way
- Frontend tests with Vuejs
- Hidden Tech Challenge
We take pride of having in depth knowledge about these versatile subjects. Next year we plan to talk even more than that.
BOFs & BBLs
All year long we’ve had our BOF (Birds Of a Feather), a monthly ritual where some of us present technical subject they feel like presenting (new technology, return on experience, side project…). Every time almost everyone was attending. There were over 40 different subjects presented by each Octo (2 or 3 times each). We also invited 2 external speakers to our BOF.
Here are our top 6 favorite topics:
- Big Data (6)
- Software Craftsmanship (6)
- Frontend (5)
- REX (5)
- OPS (4)
- Machine learning (3)
Later this year, we also rebooted the BBLs (Brown Bag Lunch), and it was good. We talked about blockchain, why getters and setters are evil, database update management and JWT security flaws. We’ll try to keep it up in 2018.
This year we are happy to have 7 newcomers joining us. Welcome onboard all!
A few OCTOs visited us from France too, and it was great to have them here! They can come back anytime :)
Unfortunately we still have a hard time finding all the senior consultants we wish we had.
Another aspect we need to work on is to become a true English speaking company. We are mostly French (14 French for 3 non French), and switching back to French in private conversations is often the easy way out. This needs to be properly addressed to avoid any discomfort among English speaking employees.
Overall, managing recruitment is still a challenge and while the HR team is doing its best, we feel like we should be able to do better. We had a brainstorm on how to improve that with all OCTOz during the last plenary, and many ideas were raised. We now need to evaluate their feasibility and activate them.
During Winter we had an amazing Woctoz (Weekend Octo) in the Snowy Mountains. It was fun to ski in Australia, and the weather was mostly perfect. A picture is worth a thousand words:
We don’t know where the next Woctoz will take place, but this one will be hard to top.
For Christmas we had a plenary in the morning. It was a good opportunity to assess our performance, business wise and on an other aspects too.
Then we had a great Christmas boat trip in Sydney’s harbour. We had an onboard BBQ, some went for a swim and champagne was flowing…
This was preceded by a party at the CEO’s the week before. Of course there was also champagne, swimming and BBQ :)
Ali and Nicolas P. are organizing the first Octoz meetup soberly named Tech Share.
It will be a recurring meet-up where each event will have a different thematics. The first one is about Data, is partnered by Confluent, hosted by ING and will feature a presentation on Spark by Arthur and Nicolas G. And good news, it’s still time to join! This is a very excitinhg initiative and we’ll do our best for 2018 to see the Tech Share thrive.
Cédric’s ping pong victory
One of our clients organised a 3 weeks ping pong doubles tournament. As our most talented ping pong player (comment if you disagree), Cédric Nicoloso took part in the tournament, and with his also talented partner they ended up winning the tournament.
This was good fun.
That’s about it for 2017, see you next year for 2018’s retrospection!