Why I joined FikaWorks

March 10, 2021 — by Jason Smith

Why I joined FikaWorks

We get asked a lot why we formed FikaWorks and what we have to offer a Cloud Native Engineer. Since FikaWorks is founded by engineers my answer is the same to both questions.

So this is why I joined FikaWorks

What I don’t enjoy

I will unfortunately start with some negative experiences I have had.

I don’t like being assigned to clients I cannot help because:

  • our company needs to meet its utilization numbers
  • some sales agent sold our abilities as something they are not
  • some sales agent sold a pattern that is a poor fit for the customer
  • A deal has been negotiated where we are woefully understaffed
  • A deal has been negotiated where we are woefully underskilled
  • being rotated off a client where I am doing good work, because we are needed to fill a gap somewhere else, or because the other client pays more
  • The lead came through a vendor (so that is really the customer)

I don’t like to look at the bill our company charges the client and being acutely aware that I won’t see half of it, when I am the one bringing the value.

I don’t like being driven by growth just to grow, so my salary can grow in pathetic increments, have empty leadership positions or small bits of equity dangled in front of my face, while I finance someone else’s “vision”.

I don’t like my labor paying for some C-levels vanity project.

I don’t like “corporate career coaching” and I think it is degrading.

I don’t like forced socialization Friday beer and wine.

What I enjoy

I enjoy being a contracting consultant. I love helping my customers in their journey and nothing is more satisfying then walking away from a job well done. I also enjoy the variety of customer problems I am able to solve.

I enjoy being able to vet the project myself and being able to decide if I could bring value to a client.

I enjoy choosing my own career path, and having open discussions about my possibilities.

I enjoy the fact that every member is inherently a leader in their own fashion, and this can manifest in any number of ways such as some technological skill, business acumen, moral compass, conflict mediation, cooking, drawing, contract negotiating, etc. From this group leadership comes the mutual respect amongst members. This respect is how we are able to reach internal consensus. These disparate skills that can run the gamut of life experience means the organization is stronger as a whole. The respect also harnesses our own self worth, which feeds into our strengthening the bonds of collaboration.

I enjoy the collaboration I get from our cooperative members as we bounce ideas off each other, and we explore our own journey as Cloud Native engineers. Even if those ideas are some times controversial.

I love that we get together for beer, wine, food or any other socialization organically. It is not mandated team unity.

I enjoy building a brand with people I trust to represent me at a client. A brand that is based solely on the quality of our service. A brand that has no motivation to exist but to serve that goal of high quality delivery. There is no group motivation to compromise the brand in the service of growth or C-Levels paycheck or share holder profits.

Every client dollar goes straight to the engineer, and if FikaWorks as a whole democratically decides we should broadcast our brand we all contribute financial and labor efforts.

I love being democratic. I enjoy that no one person can by force of will make FikaWorks into something it is not.

It is “Open Sourcey”

Interestingly, if an engineer came to us and decided we were not a cultural fit or if their domain of skill was not a great fit, we are open to sharing our model, and showing them how we built it. We encourage others to take this and build their own FikaWorks, anyone can fork FikaWorks, and we will share our lessons learned.

It may be counterintuitive to some, but as a founder, I enjoy that eventually FikaWorks is not just mine. With each new member I lose a piece of the voting pie. I helped found FikaWorks but after it was founded, through pure democracy and the fact that we bring on new members, I have in a way let it loose into the community. Like an open source project.

Hopefully Fikaworks will take on a life of its own, which is why I joined FikaWorks.

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