Last month I journeyed away from my office den at SmartBear headquarters in Beverly, Mass. to visit our posse across the pond at SmartBear-Sweden. As I walked into the Stockholm office for the first time, I was overtaken with joy at the sight of thousands of tiny plastic bricks, many of which had been pieced together to resemble legendary video game characters - Mario, Yoshi, Pacman, etc.
I've got to be honest with you. When I first laid eyes on that collection of artfully crafted LEGO statuettes lining the windowsills and meeting rooms of our Stockholm office, I didn't immediately consider their significance to the business strategy. Not even a little bit. In actuality, my reaction was something slightly less-eloquent, like, "I get to play with LEGOs during meetings? This is the best day ever!"
Thankfully, I wasn't wrong about playing with them during meetings (although, I must admit, my technicolored brick wall wasn't exactly anything to write home about). However, it wasn't until I sat down with Niclas and Ole - who coincidentally has the same name as the inventor of LEGOs - that I really got a grasp for how cool those little bricks actually were.
Not only does each individual brick represent a sale that the company has made, but they're also a great way to materialize - as Niclas pointed out - software itself. Both writing software and playing with LEGOs boil down to the same basic instinct: the desire to build something awesome. And it's that same desire that many developers attribute to getting them interested in development to begin with.
"I think it was the creativity that really got me hooked; the feeling that I can create something. And then I just wanted to see what else I could build and how I could expand it, and all that," exlained Erik Yverling of SmartBear-Sweden.
Check out this video to get a little more insight from Ole and Niclas about the reward system they created at the very beginning of soapUI, and how it evolved and grew along with the company itself. Enjoy!