Insights, product development agency, Humans

2018 Year-in Review [Visual Nuggets]

Anything that starts with a challenge has a fair chance of becoming interesting.

Nobody famous or wise said this, it's just me giving my 2 cents on how 2018 at Around25 looks in hindsight.

It started with Weightloss Challenge, the 3-month race for who-cheats-the-most-for-better-health. Believe me, it was intense. So intense that it generated a winning startup (TL;DR the whole story here - it's pretty cool if you ask me).

What happened in the remainder of 2018 is the kind of stuff occurring in transition years. The challenges had to do with our trials of growth and exploration - and in fact, I'll let our CEO put it in smarter words:

In 2018 I realized we need more decentralization - and thus more roles within the company structure.  Also, the fact that it's better to have people deficit than project deficit, or that we need to build a stronger sales&marketing department to prevent project deficit.

Aside from that, we kept doing our thing - let's have a walkthrough.

New website

Don't know if it's because of our affinity for Star Wars but our new website theme is very space-y. Worked on it for months, at the end of which we had a new tagline that's more in line with what we do (i.e. fullstack product development a.k.a. covering the whole galaxy of frontend to backend to UI/UX design):

Team for the Win

As I said earlier, we kept doing our thing - something that wouldn't have been possible without team players who are all in.

And so, I surveyed my fellow Around25ers to understand what made them vibe at the office. Was it the Friday Trivia Board that helped us uncover all the light and dark secrets about each other? Or maybe the countless meetups on Open Source, freelancing, or startups? Or maybe just the small side stuff happening each week (i.e. accommodating creatures - tiny or large - in our office, getting exciting deliveries or doing the serious stuff in a less serious dress code)?

Results are in and:

Fullstack Hackathon took the cake, maybe because it brought that extra something - the civic tech stuff that has never been done at a hackathon and so people loved it since they had the occasion to connect in a more meaningful way.

N.B. it was our first attempt at organizing a civic tech hackathon with our dev community Fullstack Cluj and while the process was fun, we learned there's huge room for improvement. Stay tuned for this in 2019.

Then there was the quiz night we have every once in a while, and then on 3rd place the teambuilding. I won't dwell on this (because what happens in teambuilding stays in teambuilding) but here's a map of our adventures in Apuseni land:

Then I got a different kind of response - someone considered the best thing that happened at our office was the thrill and the sweat of startup growth:

All the struggle of making a tech startup work was a highly challenging professional experience. You can go somewhere to relax, you can eat as much cake as you can, but nothing compares to all the experience of working in a tech startup.

2018 in Extra Miles

It's funny how - in a company our size - roles often complement each other naturally. In my work as a digital marketer, I got to see an overflow of blockchain-related keywords - only to realize our developers had already started sharing their knowledge on blockchain and - even more - built blockchain components ready to be used.

Apart from writing about blockchain components, we dabbled in topics like IoT, organizational culture, meetups, or our secret-not-so-secret read-sharing club that made it to 1 year 🎉🎉🎉.

We wrote about a lot more topics this year, and here's a top 5 with the most appreciated pieces:

  1. How to build a trading engine
  2. Around25 startup story makes it to Hackernoon
  3. React Native navigation
  4. Building an Ethereum wallet
  5. Mobile app development process 101

To shift now from the online to the offline, we had Venture Cup, Startup Safari, Codecamp, Kickstart Your Freelancing Career (meetup #2, meetup #3, meetup #4) - these are events hosted at our office that are proof of our go-the-extra-mile philosophy in terms of bringing the startup and business community together.

Another extra mile we're proud of is the reviews we got on Clutch or the way we're involved in growing Hookfy - the Spanish startup we're CTO to:

And since we're also a bunch of restless creatives (Paul would call us hippies), we couldn't stay away from doing the extra mile for clients with a product photo session.

In 2018

We created more

Did stuff like


or, uhm,

T-shirt design

learned new skills

experienced small victories

...or used memes

I made history with the first meme in Around25 content - spot it here.

All the while, we got inspiration and productivity from

good music

Oh Wait

As I'm writing this, I'm realizing this article has been a hot mess, visuals-wise: tweets, Spotify, YouTube, gifs, God knows (apologies to all designers reading this).

While wondering how to fix it, though, it dawned on me: hey, that's actually an accurate illustration of how this year has unfolded for us: experiments, optimization, trying business stuff out, putting puzzle pieces together. Some did not fit, some did, and some others we're still trying to adjust.

These visuals - just like everything we did - were not purposefully created to fit a frame. Rather, to try and sketch a more optimal way of going forward.

Will we succeed with this in 2019?

Coming back with an update in January 2020.

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by Ioana Budai

  • Cluj-Napoca

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