Some days ago there was this thingie in Twitter where some devs were tagging others asking them what was the moment when their careers skyrocketed and what was the cause for that to happen. I was too lazy to try to condense my answer in that microblogging format… this is the kind of thing WordPress.com is for.
For me, that magic moment when everything changed was in December of 2012. The reason? I joined Youzee. Back then I was a frontend dev who could do some work on PHP or python. I thought I was an amazing developer, but for my current standards I wouldn’t even have reached the ‘decent’ mark. I could build stuff, of course, but my code was messy, unelegant, and I was too centered in being good in my own little part of the stack and too willing to ignore the rest. But I couldn’t help it: I haven’t worked along anyone way better than me who could show me everything I was doing wrong.
And that was what I got when I started working for Youzee. If you are from Spain you probably remember the company. If you are not, we were a small startup trying to clone Netflix (which back then wasn’t available here) success in the Spanish market. The biggest movie theater chain in the country was our main investor, so we had a lot of free promo and exposure, which made us kind of the golden boys of the Spanish startup scene…
But well, that’s not the point. The point is the ~20 person product team I joined to. The talent there was astonishing: after the company crashed, my colleagues went to work for Atlassian, Spotify, Yammer, Google… My impostor syndrome was out of limits. But also, each day there I learnt more than a whole month in any of my previous companies. Working along Sergio Arroyo, Dani Ripolles, Sergio cinos, Matías Surdi, and everyone else was humbling, but also, a career-transforming experience.
Youzee went under less than a year after I joined them. The company ran out of money before we could get a big enough paying userbase, so everyone but 5 persons was laid off while they tried to sell the technology as a white-label platform to other companies. By then, I was more than happy with what I have achieved: I was ten times better as developer. And what was more important: I was finally aware that there’s always going to be people who are ten times better than you, and that finding them should be your main career goal, always.