What’s the secret to setting up a successful tech company that clients love and developers love to work for? In the case of nearForm, the Waterford-based Node.js leaders, it’s simple. The company’s founding partners have simply put what they know to work.
A Tech Company run by Tech Experts
Paul Savage, COO, explains: “We’re all developers who spent years writing code and we’ve tried to stay close to that. And it’s important to what we do at nearForm. We believe in bringing in great people and allowing them to do a great job. They are incredibly talented so it’s about allowing them to succeed.”
The brainchild of founders Cian Ó Maidín and Richard Rodger, the company has been at the forefront of driving the global demand for Node.js – and in contributing to the open-source community surrounding the technology.
“They essentially spotted this massive trend around Node,” Paul explains. “It’s part of a much bigger change that’s happening from a tech point of view. You have this massive shift in terms of what you can do with tech at the moment – the programmatic ability of environment, the rise of dev-ops and the cloud.”
He adds: “It’s very simple, with Node there are a few key ways it allows you to work faster. You can do more with less lines of code.”
With companies across the globe now turning to Node to build new services and sites, the community is focused on developing the open-source libraries. A key part of working with nearForm, Paul says: “We support open source so at our conferences like NodeConf EU, it’s not about spin. It’s about what people can get out of the conference, and what that gives us is a means of engaging the developer community worldwide. And having open source means people who are involved in nearForm get credit for the amazing things they do.”
Growth of the Company
Part of the tech sector since the late ‘90s, Paul has been on the front-line as the industry has enjoyed huge growth and development in Ireland. And since the opening of nearForm, Waterford has emerged as a key player. “We were very, very small initially,” he says. “We have around 100 people at the moment after five years, which is fantastic.”
“It’s a fairly good story in terms of growth and success. They are great people as well. Everyone is very friendly and good fun. You spend a lot of time with people you work with so it’s important you like them.”
With rapid change ongoing across the globe in tech, Paul admits his astonishment at the growth of the sector in Ireland. “We’ve gone from my first company where I went home and told my dad about my work. He said: ‘That’s lovely but when are you going to have a real job?’ And now we have young people who are graduates and are already talking about setting up a start-up, and that’s brilliant. We really encourage that.”
“It’s the most incredible thing to me and we’re lucky to work with the IDA who do great work. And Enterprise Ireland do incredible work around supporting start-ups,” he explains.
Finding the Right Talent
With reluctant dads convinced, the challenge now facing the team in nearForm is identifying the right talent for each specialist role. And along with its staff based in Tramore, the company work with employees based in different time-zones. Enabled by technology, naturally. Paul explains: “We’re about 50/50. 50% of the team are in Waterford and 50% are anywhere in the world from India to the West Coast of the US, along with people in Germany and Italy. It’s nice that you can leverage all this great talent. Being the same type of people, we all communicate in the same way.”
“Sometimes the time difference can be bit difficult, but for the most part it’s been easy. We believe in bringing in great people and we work hard to find them. We’ve had a lot of success in getting those people. If you think about what developers love, getting to work with some of the newer technology is very good and we’re very much on the leading edge.
He adds: “It’s all about being out there and you genuinely get the chance to play with brilliant tech and you get the chance to solve real-world problems. The code that you write is used. There is nothing more heart-breaking than writing code for a year that never gets used.”