Life Lesson’s – Does your startup have the right gear?
I remember my first big IT role in 2007, it was junior consulting job with a company dealing with the development of software solutions that allow online web development using offline software. We were coding mainly in JSP and our company was mainly catering to the UK and Scottish governments. The job profile had me pumped; it was a tough interview where I later came to know that I had beaten my teacher to get in.
I came to work on my first day and they gave me this IBM laptop probably running on P4 processor. The moment I opened it I felt it was too tiny to work on, too slow for my job. In my head I thought you’re paying me a good salary and I deserve better. I asked my boss that I wanted to work on a desktop and he said no. I even offered him to buy my own and bring it to office and he must have thought I was a little weird. I had to let it go or they would have re-considered hiring me.
I accepted the machine and learnt to live with it. But over time it burnt me out, I used to get tiered faster and my work just became slow. No one realized it but it affected not just my work but me.
While some tech companies think of this as the standard, I have worked with many startups over the years and observed the founders have almost always gone for laptops or all in one solution as their main choice. Mainly because they save on space and are mobile.
When I started Mindmyweb in 2012, I made a pact that I will always give my employees the best machines. Over the years I came to realize how right I was. How important it is to have a good machine that gives you freedom to work and code. A lot of web development teams I work with do not have full HD monitors. I don’t really know what they are coding and who they are coding for but today I can never imagine a 20 hours coding session on a 1260 px wide screen. I have friends who are in startups and they complain about how messed up their machines are just because they don’t know how to maintain them. The understanding of hiring a professional system administrator develops only once something goes wrong.
We have duel monitor setups on every machine as standard and developers get a third as they progress in the company. The world is changing, fast good machines are too important to ignore. You cannot get 500% output if you do not have the right tools. I have seen this with my designers and my coders. Above all my concern for their needs makes them feel respected which above all is the most important thing in the IT space.
Building my own computers is one of the most rewarding things I ever did. No matter where technology is today, custom built machines are always cheaper and more powerful than what is out there.
I love to stuff cases with 5-7 fans and always get good graphic cards that can run on 350 watt power outputs. This has been my most powerful efficiency booster over the years. You can always delegate this work to someone else but every IT leader must know how to respect his technology.
If your employees are coders and you are tight on budgets use i3 or i5 configuration and if they are working on graphics and videos then you have to invest in good RAM (over 2000MHZ) / processor and GPU configurations.
For improving efficiency make it mandatory to use duel monitors, even with laptops in the office. Work on office ergonomics early and see results over time.
The software called ULTRAMON improves your dual monitor experience significantly. As a technologist I am always looking for ways to improve my pc experience and then applying the learning to improve the experience and productivity of my office staff.