When I started BiteSite, I was really excited to see what I could do with the company. As a business owner, I found myself constantly looking for milestones that led me closer to running a 'real' business. I remember when I registered the business name, I remember when my friend got me a Freshbooks (http://www.freshbooks.com) trial for my birthday, and I remember purchasing the bitesite.ca domain. Each step along the way - I felt more legit.
But the ultimate was when I made my first hire.
Building the team was always a huge importance to me and still is. Even though it went against business sense, I was adamant about hiring an employee rather than a contractor. I wanted the sense that this person was really part of BiteSite and would help shape the company. That first hire was Ryan O'Connor.
I met Ryan at the University of Ottawa when I was teaching a Ruby on Rails course there. The first thing that struck me about Ryan was the way he helped others. Although becoming rarer these days, programmers can sometimes develop an ego and Ryan was the complete opposite. He clearly understood things better than others but never let that get in the way of helping someone out.
We were lucky to have Ryan say yes to working at BiteSite. He was taking a chance as the first employee of a new startup. But he did join us in 2015 and has been killing it ever since.
Ryan has brought so much to BiteSite. He brought strong development practices from automated tests to up-to-date frameworks, he helped create a welcoming mentoring atmosphere to new employees, he embraced our 20% Free Time Fridays and developed a lot of amazing stuff. On www.internationalsafety.com alone, he brought some stand-out features like e-Commerce, the Activity Feed, and real-time Task updates. He has become an incredibly strong developer in Ruby on Rails and React - but overall just an outstanding engineer, employee, and person.
The biggest thing an employer can ask for of his/her employees is trust - trust that they'll do the right thing, trust that they'll express themselves, trust that they'll do their best - and with Ryan, we had that in spades.
Today is Ryan's last day at BiteSite and it was amazing to have the chance to work alongside such a great individual. He starts his next adventure at one of our former clients, Splice (http://www.splice.co). I know he'll do amazing things there and wherever he ends up in life.
Thank you, Ryan, for all that you've done in helping me realize my dreams.