Flight Risk

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When you’re hiring people, there’s this notion of “flight risk,” the idea that people will be with you for a while and then they’ll move on to another job. Some people look at that and say “pass,” but we look at it a little differently. 

Business is like life. There are amazing people that you connect and share the path with year after year. Together, you build something remarkable…  something that you can be immensely proud of. You grow together. You lift each other up in the victories and you prop each other up through the failures. It’s a lot like a close family, and if you run your business like we try to, then you look out for one another and you deal with all the good and the bad together.

But there are other members of your family, maybe not the ones that you see every day or even every year, but people who play incredibly important roles in your life. Folks who get you over hurdles, who fill critical gaps in your growth, who get you to run harder and faster than you ever thought imaginable… and when they’ve played the part that they were uniquely positioned to play, they move on to something else that’s awesome. It sucks not to spend your days with them, but you look at the things they move on to and you take pride “I got to work with Chris you know? I was lucky beyond belief.”

So a couple of weeks ago when we heard that some of our most remarkable alumni were putting together a conference here, well how do you even measure that kind of happiness? Greg and Gavin started the Explode series while Greg was at rtraction. It was initially as a series of coding meetups; since Titus and Karen (also distinguished alumni) have gotten involved (together with equally fabulous non-alumnus Savannah), it’s blossomed into a two-day event at Fanshawe College’s beautiful, state-of-the-art, downtown campus… and it’s packed with awesomesauce. But wait, there’s more! Three more of our alumni - Denise, Damon and Chantelle - are taking the stage as presenters.

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We can’t take any credit for any of the fantastic things these six people are doing, but as we see them doing what they do best — which many of us look forward to doing as attendees on May 5-6 —  we  are incredibly proud to have shared the stage with them for a while. While our hearts break a little every time we lose someone, they soar when we see see those people spread their wings.

Our deepest respect to all of our alumni (and there are far too many to mention in one blog) who have gone on to make their mark on the world. You rock!

So go ahead and see flight as a risk, we tend to see it as something beautiful.


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Shawn Adamsson is Chief Culture Officer and one of the founders of Ellipsis Digital and Engine SevenFour. He spends most of his time working with, learning from, and hanging around with a lot of smart, thoughtful, passionate people.