Thursday, November 08, 2007

Punching above our weight...

"Oh, we have eight Java coders working on our site..."

This is what the CEO of a small online organization told Mari recently at a conference. He does have a nice site. But I was floored to hear how many coders he had.

GlobalGiving has about fifteen staff, but we have only two Java coders.

And until about six months ago, we really only had one coder. Steve Rogers, our Engineering Director, pretty much single-handedly did all the serious coding on our site. (He had some backup from a great firm we use, and he was assisted by the renowned Neal Draves, who did the design and HTML for our co-brands. But he was pretty much the man.)

Everyone on our team used to complain about the pace at which we were introducing new features. Our users had lots of great ideas for what they would like to see, but it was impossible to implement all of them. Naturally, Steve was pretty crabby sometimes, since he was working like a maniac. I will admit it: sometimes I felt like wringing his neck for being so grouchy.

But when I think about the technical resources available to other online organizations and companies our size, I realize what an amazing job Steve has done.

About six months ago, Steve upped our coding game considerably by finding and hiring Kevin Conroy. While Steve began focusing more on the deep architecture of the site, he turned Kevin loose on the front end. Within a few months, we released an entirely new version of the site, and we have been steadily rolling out new features every couple of weeks.

Someone told me recently that "GlobalGiving punches well above its weight." In other words, our influence considerably exceeds our actual size.

Steve and Kevin are two of the rock stars here at GlobalGiving that make that possible.