Steeped in light, swaddled in lush, leafy plants and set to the quiet hum of hard work, SmartLogic’s workspace has been finely-tuned for productivity.
And, it’s been paying off.
The Baltimore-based custom web and mobile application company has made a name for itself within both the tech startup scene and the Fortune 500 crowd.
It may be all the extra oxygen floating around from its 70+ plants, but how SmartLogic managed to carve its own niche and earn trust within the crowded custom software space is all thanks to trustworthy practices and constant learning.
The company works hand-in-hand with its clients, offering transparency by involving them in weekly stand ups, enabling them to communicate directly with developers and adding services — most recently in the form of UX/UI — to continually raise the bar of its own work. And, because the proof is in the puddin’, today 40% of SmartLogic’s business comes from repeat clients.
With one eye always set on where the industry is going, SmartLogic has been able to employ the capabilities of new, progressive technology, like Elixir/Phoenix. In addition, attending conferences, encouraging software mastery through side projects, sponsoring as many as 74 grassroot events in a year and producing its own podcast — Smart Software with SmartLogic, featuring interviews with devs around the world on emerging technology — are just a few of the ways SmartLogic invests in growth and development internally and externally.
As the nimble team of 12 looks to double itself over the next year, it looks for smart, independent, self-directed individuals who are as passionate about technology outside of the office as they are inside of it. And, if any of said individuals suffer the daily heartbreak of leaving a pet at home, SmartLogic also offers Work From Home Fridays, as well as features your fur babies on our Instagram. How furr-ific.
“SmartLogic is collaborative. It’s a good place to do great work with people who care about what they’re doing. From a public standpoint, we’re flexible, we adapt to changing situations that our clients have and we’ve built up a lot of expertise around our core technology stack.”Dan Ivovich Director of Development Operations
Talk to us about your tech stack.
We make it a priority to always use the latest tech. For instance, we won’t use something that will be useless in a few years.
Elixir/Phoenix is our go-to choice for all new projects. Modern web applications demand both real time communication with end users (i.e. chat, live updates, notifications, etc) and background processing (i.e. transaction handling, reporting, external integrations, etc). Elixir’s use of the Erlang VM brings a great multi-process model to these challenges. We do still use Ruby on Rails, as well, primarily for legacy apps and in some cases for new apps where Elixir doesn’t present a clear advantage over Rails.
We use React and React Native for web and mobile app development, respectively. React Native lets us develop Android and iOS apps that look and feel native but that share a codebase, making the build faster, more efficient and easier to maintain.
What are some internal or client projects that you’re proud of?
An internal effort we’re excited to introduce is our in-house product development investment program: SmartVentures. The program provides $400K of product development and mentorship as an alternative path for startups looking to scale up.
We’ve also worked with OrderUp, a national food ordering company, to build an internal menu builder tool (which cut data entry time in half) and an Android app. Not long after, OrderUp was acquired by Groupon.
We’re proud of our work for Spotcrime, a crime data aggregator that has been a client since 2008. Most recently, we built an infrastructure that enabled the app to handle a large volume of data for much lower costs. It is visited by one million users a month and sends over five million email alerts a month.
We’ve even built software that ran on the International Space Station.
What do you look for in new hires?
We make very driven hiring decisions. We’re looking for devs who are solid technical talents — people who understand software to their core and computer science from an applied perspective. We look for people who are deeply interested in programming; for them it’s more than a job, they read about it in their spare time.
We look for people who are smart, capable, truly interested in the work and excited to come in every day.
Our team is very self-directed. We’re not going to micromanage you here. So we seek people who are self-managing and very independent.
Tell us about your internal culture.
Our office is quiet and organized. Our processes are well thought-out and streamlined. Never wanting to become stagnant with old tech, we make a concerted effort to keep up with the modern tech landscape. The people are our team have a variety of skill sets and we value that.
In terms of career growth, we encourage you to pursue things that you’re interested in learning or trying out. We keep the lines of communication open so that team members can discuss their interests, find a way to explore new ideas, learn tech stacks in between client projects, etc.
Many folks here have their own side projects so we have a side project club that meets once a month, where employees can update the team on what they’re building.
What are your company values?
● Be trustworthy — We want happy, repeat clients, and that happens when they know we have their best interests in mind.
● Collaboration and Communication — We’re very collaborative and transparent; our clients own the accounts we create for them, and they invite us to access their accounts. There aren’t any non-technical PMs sitting between us and our clients. The devs communicative with them directly.
● Be pragmatic and intentional — We don’t wing it here. We come prepared and use time judiciously.
Do you have any special company and/or community traditions?
We host a company lunch once a week where we socialize and pick topics to discuss. About once a month we do a company outing, such as a happy hour, craft night, axe throwing or go-carting. During the holiday season we do Secret Santa and host a great party for the team and their plus ones.
As part of growth and development, we send everyone to one to two conferences a year. This year five of us are going to ElixirConf and four of us are going to the React Conference in NYC.
One of the things we’re most proud of is our effort to sponsor and produce grassroot events. In 2018 alone we sponsored 74 events. We’ve been a longtime sponsor and supporter of Technical.ly’s events. We program and host on our own lineup of Meetups, including the Baltimore Elixir Meetup. And, we also hosted the Baltimore Women in Tech Micro-Grants Program and gave away $12,000 to women-led initiatives.
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