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Change, Design, Growth

By Daniel Pasco

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As we’d mentioned before, our primary goal at the start of the year was making sure we could thrive with a bigger team, and that we’d be able to preserve our culture and process. It turns out that wasn’t a problem at all.

Change

Black Pixel now has a full-time internal products group with dedicated design, development, support, and QA staff. The group, which was formed in mid-June, is actively engaged in supporting the existing NetNewsWire applications and will be rolling out additional applications in the months ahead.

Note: We’ve had a lot of inquiries for product status updates over the last few months, but we’ve adopted Apple’s policy of not commenting on products we haven’t shipped, so we’re not going to be able to satisfy anyone’s curiosity at the present.

Questions about existing NetNewsWire features and issues can always be directed to our support staff.

Design

Despite our passion for great design, our company has still been very much a development company with a comparatively tiny design staff. We have known for a long time that we’d need to make a much bigger investment in design in order to have the culture we ultimately wanted to see: a balanced community of designers, artists, and developers, all united in the desire to create some of the best user experiences possible.

We are very happy to announce that we have already begun to actively shift this balance with the addition of some wonderful and talented people to the team, including Phil Letourneau, John Marstall, and Jaimee Newberry.

Growth

We’ve brought several new people on board in the last few weeks but we definitely need at least a few more. We are still seeking additional developers, designers, and artists to meet the needs of our product group and the growing demand of top-tier consulting customers, as well as project management to help us stay on top of everything.

We are, however, far more interested in growing better than we are in growing simply bigger.

A little bit about the culture at Black Pixel

Although we have a very skilled group of people, we learned a long time ago that one of our biggest assets was actually our culture. Our unique blend of talented, disciplined, and empowered individuals allows us to handle a variety of challenges easily, efficiently, and effectively. On the outside, it probably looks like we run fast and loose like a startup, but most of us have enough big company experience to work together effectively without the big company management infrastructure that we’ve collectively outgrown.

Likewise, outside parties have nearly gone crazy trying to fit labels on our methodology, including “waterfall” (after prototyping, we develop pixel perfect comps of every view in our applications, which allows us to create detailed and accurate project plans before we ever start coding), “agile” (once the project plan is in place we break it into several small milestones, which we then attack in sprints, and we love issue trackers), and “extreme” (we often program in pairs, sometimes in packs, and we make intelligent use of unit tests).

We were asked once what we called our methodology. I said “an evidenced-based methodology that efficiently draws on several different effective practices, without any of the dogma.” Kind of a mouthful. Oh well.

…and the coming cultural revolution

We have also identified at least a few different ways in which we want our culture to grow. As an example, years of working closely with Apple designers and engineers has given us a strong appreciation for many things about Apple’s culture that we’d like to see more strongly represented at Black Pixel. Our time in the Apple ecosystem has reinforced those same values at Black Pixel, and we want to attract people who want to produce that caliber of work.

As a result, we are specifically looking to hire people with previous, deep experience at Apple (or, for that matter, NeXT) to help lead our team and champion those qualities to help them more fully flourish here. On our end, we’re offering great pay, a high profile position at a company in the process of transitioning from good to great, and a great team.

Experience working with distributed teams has shown us that distance is not a factor for the right person, so we’re indifferent to physical location as long as they have the qualities and skills required to help make this company the best it can be.

If you are interested in the idea of working with some top tier clients and some great applications, please contact us at info@blackpixel.com or, ideally, reach out to us directly or through someone who knows us.

Daniel Pasco

Daniel Pasco

Daniel is the CEO of Black Pixel. He tweets at @dlpasco.