Want to hire and retain high-quality developers? Give them stimulating work

Software developers are some of the most in-demand workers on the planet. Not only that, they’re complex creatures with unique demands in terms of how they define job fulfillment. With demand for developers on the rise (the number of jobs in the field is expected to grow by 22% over the next decade), companies are under pressure to do everything they can to attract and retain talent.

First and foremost — above salary — employers must ensure that product teams are made up of developers who feel creatively stimulated and intellectually challenged. Without work that they feel passionate about, high-quality programmers won’t just become bored and potentially seek opportunities elsewhere, the standard of work will inevitably drop. In one survey, 68% of developers said learning new things is the most important element of a job.

The worst thing for a developer to discover about a new job is that they’re the most experienced person in the room and there’s little room for their own growth.

Yet with only 32% of developers feeling “very satisfied” with their jobs, there’s scope for you to position yourself as a company that prioritizes the development of its developers, and attract and retain top talent. So, how exactly can you ensure that your team stays stimulated and creatively engaged?

Allow time for personal projects

78% of developers see coding as a hobby — and the best developers are the ones who have a true passion for software development, in and out of the workplace. This means they often have their own personal passions within the space, be it working with specific languages or platforms, or building certain kinds of applications.

Back in their 2004 IPO letter, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page wrote:

We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. [This] empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.

At DevSquad, we’ve adopted a similar approach. We have an “open Friday” policy where developers are able to learn and enhance their skills through personal projects. As long as the skills being gained contribute to work we are doing in other areas, the developers can devote that time to whatever they please, whether that’s contributing to open-source projects or building a personal product. In fact, 65% of professional developers on Stack Overflow contribute to open-source projects once a year or more, so it’s likely that this is a keen interest within your development team too.

Not only does this provide a creative outlet for developers, the company also gains from the continuously expanding skillset that comes as a result.

Provide opportunities to learn and teach

One of the most demotivating things for software developers is work that’s either too difficult or too easy. Too easy, and developers get bored; too hard, and morale can dip as a project seems insurmountable. Within our team, we remain hyperaware of the difficulty levels of the project or task at hand and the level of experience of the developers involved.

Startups – TechCrunch

Local refining; A panacea for Nigeria’s reliance on imported refined products – Nairametrics

Local refining; A panacea for Nigeria’s reliance on imported refined products  Nairametrics
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

Factsheet: Between venture capital and private equity investments in African tech – TechCabal

Factsheet: Between venture capital and private equity investments in African tech  TechCabal
“nigeria startups when:7d” – Google News

WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: New Businesses Are Being Started Amid Pandemic (Episode 121)

On today’s WJR Business Beat, Jeff discusses various reasons why entrepreneurs are starting new businesses during the pandemic. Perhaps surprisingly, a new survey of 428 entrepreneurs by Just Business found that more than one in five entrepreneurs are starting businesses that were not planned before the pandemic.

Tune in for more!

“Entrepreneurs are a tough and resourceful bunch, and this is further validation that entrepreneurship, whether in good times or challenging times, is alive and well.”

– Jeff Sloan

Tune in to News/Talk 760 AM WJR weekday mornings at 7:11 a.m. for the WJR Business Beat. Listeners outside of the Detroit area can listen live HERE.

Are you an entrepreneur with a great story to share? If so, contact us at editor@startupnation.com and we’ll feature you on an upcoming segment of the WJR Business Beat!

WJR Business Beat Transcript

Good morning, Paul.

As we know all too well, as a result of the pandemic we’re facing, businesses are closing all around us. Startup funding is tougher to come by and the fear of not knowing where the new normal will land us has entrepreneurs sitting on the sidelines, right?

Well wrong. Think again. Actually, a new survey of 428 entrepreneurs by Just Business found that more than one in five entrepreneurs are starting businesses that were not planned before the pandemic.

What’s making entrepreneurs decide to start a business?

Here’s the results of the study: 52 percent identified new business opportunities as a result of the pandemic that were too good pass up. Twenty seven percent said they’re starting a business because they were laid off from their current job, and 21 percent indicate that they’re starting a business during the time of the pandemic as a way to get out ahead of the competition.

Entrepreneurs are a tough and resourceful bunch, and this is further validation that entrepreneurship, whether in good times or challenging times, is alive and well.

I’m Jeff Sloan, founder and CEO of StartupNation.com, and that’s today’s Business Beat on the Great Voice of the Great Lakes, WJR.

The post WJR Business Beat with Jeff Sloan: New Businesses Are Being Started Amid Pandemic (Episode 121) appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Don’t miss the Q&A sessions at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020

It’s nearly October, startup fans, and that means TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 is right around the corner. On October 6 & 7, you’ll experience an incredible two-day agenda packed with the top leaders, visionaries, makers and investors, and they’re ready to drop serious knowledge about crucial trends, issues and challenges related to mobility and transportation tech.

Attendees tell us there’s only one problem with all these great interviews and panel discussions. They generate a lot of follow-up questions and the desire for even more conversation. We hear you loud and clear, and that’s why we’re excited to offer several different Q&A breakout sessions featuring speakers who presented on the TC Sessions: Mobility main stage. They’re the perfect place to get answers to your burning questions.

And there’s nothing that prevents you from initiating a whole new conversation. You never know what opportunity might arise when you engage and interact with some of the top minds in the business.

Here’s the answer to burning question No. 1: Which top minds are heading up the Q&A breakout sessions? Here are just a few, with more to come!

Fresh from their main stage discussion, Investing in Mobility, Reilly Brennan (Founding General Partner, Trucks Venture Capital), Amy Gu (Managing Partner, Hemi Ventures) and Olaf Sakkers (Partner, Maniv Mobility) will take your questions related to VC investment.

Do you have questions about micromobility? This is your moment. First, check out the main stage presentation, The Next Opportunities in Micromobility with Danielle Harris (Director of Mobility Innovation, Elemental Excelerator) and Dmitry Shevelenko (Co-founder & President, Tortoise). Second, head to their Q&A for a deeper understanding of this timely topic.

Finally, don’t miss Peter Rawlinson’s Q&A. It’s a chance to follow up on his main stage discussion, The Road to the All-Electric Air. How often do you get the opportunity to get answers to specific questions on this — dare we say it — electrifying topic?

There’s so much to do and experience — more than 40 early-stage startups exhibiting in our expo, networking made simple with CrunchMatch and live pitching from the main stage.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 takes place October 6-7. Buy your pass today — prices increase on October 5. Don’t miss your chance to learn, explore ideas and new trends, and meet and connect with the people who can help you build your business and launch your dreams.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Startups – TechCrunch

In the 1990s, internet usage experienced rapid growth in its usage. What areas today are experiencing similarly fast growth?

Obviously the internet was the new big thing of the 90s. Are there any areas which are currently growing massively in the number of people using it? Off the top of my head I can’t think of any, but I’m interested to hear about any domains whose usage is rapidly increasing.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

Weekly VC Overview: All 80 European funding rounds we tracked this week (Sept. 21-25, 2020)

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EU-Startups

HumanForest suspends London e-bike sharing service, cuts jobs after customer accident

UK-based startup HumanForest has suspended its nascent ‘free’ e-bike service in London this week, after experiencing “mechanical” issues and after a user had an accident on one of its bikes, TechCrunch has learned. The suspension has also seen the company make a number of layoffs with plans to re-launch next spring using a different e-bike.

The service suspension comes only a few months after HumanForest started the trial in North London — and just a couple of weeks after announcing a $ 2.3M seed round of funding backed by the founders of Cabify and others.

We were tipped to the closure by an anonymous source who said they were employed by the startup. They told us the company’s e-bike had been found to have a defect and there had been an accident involving a user, after which the service was suspended. They also told us HumanForest fired a bunch of staff this week with little warning and minimal severance.

Asked about the source’s allegations, HumanForest confirmed it had suspended its service in London following a “minor accident” on Sunday, saying also that it had identified “problems of a similar nature” prior to the accident but had put down those down to “tampering or minor mechanical issues”.

Here’s its statement in full: “We were not aware that the bike was defective. There had been problems of a similar nature which were suspected to be tampering or minor mechanical issues. We undertook extra mechanical checks which we believed had resolved the issue and informed the supplier. We immediately suspended operations following the minor accident on Sunday. The supplier is now investigating whether there is a more serious problem with the e-bike.”

In an earlier statement the startup also told us: “There was an accident last week. Fortunately, the customer was not hurt. We immediately withdrew all e-bikes from the street and we have informed the supplier who is investigating. Our customers’ safety is our priority. We have, therefore, decided to re-launch with a new e-bike in Spring 2021.”

HumanForest declined to offer any details about the nature of the defect that caused it to suspend service but a spokeswoman confirmed all its e-bikes were withdrawn from London streets the same day as the accident, raising questions as to why it did not do so sooner — having, by its own admission, already identified “similar problems”.

The spokeswoman also confirmed HumanForest made a number of job cuts in the wake of the service suspension.

“We are very sorry that we had to let people go at this difficult time but, with operations suspended, we could only continue as a business with a significantly reduced team,” she said. “We tried very hard to find a way to keep people on board and we looked at the possibility of alternative contractual arrangements or employment but unfortunately, there are no guarantees of when we can re-launch.”

“Employees who had been with the company for less than three months were on their probation period which, as outlined in their contract, had one week’s notice. We will be paying their salaries until the end of the month,” she said, reiterating that it’s a difficult time for the startup.

The e-bikes HumanForest was using for the service appear to be manufactured by the Chinese firm Hongji — but are supplied by a German startup, called Wunder Mobility, which offers both b2c and b2b mobility services.

We contacted both companies to ask about the e-bike defect reported by HumanForest.

At the time of writing only Wunder Mobility had responded — confirming it acts as “an intermediary” for HumanForest but not offering any details about the nature of the technical problem.

Instead, it sent us this statement, attributed to its CCO Lukas Loers: “HumanForest stands for reliable quality and works continuously to improve its services. In order to offer its customers the best possible range of services in the sharing business, HumanForest will use the winter break to evaluate its findings from the pilot project in order to provide the best and most sustainable solution for its customers together with Wunder Mobility in the spring.”

“Unfortunately, we cannot provide any information about specific defects on the vehicles, as we have only acted as an intermediary. Only the manufacturer or the operator HumanForest can comment on this,” it added.

In a further development this week, which points to the competitive and highly dynamic nature of the nascent micromobility market, another e-bike sharing startup, Bolt — which industry sources suggest uses the same model of e-bike as HumanForest (its e-bike is visually identical, just painted a more lurid shade of green) — closed its e-bike sharing service in Paris, a few months after launching in the French capital.

When we contacted Bolt to ask whether it had withdrawn any e-bikes because of technical issues it flat denied doing so — saying the Paris closure was a business decision, and was not related to problems with its e-bike hardware.

“We understand some other companies have had issues with their providers. Bolt hasn’t withdrawn any electric bikes from suppliers due to defects,” a spokesperson told us, going on to note it has “recently” launched in Barcelona and trailing “more announcements about future expansion soon”.

In follow up emails the spokesperson further confirmed it hasn’t identified any defects with any e-bikes it’s tested, nor withdrawn any bikes from its supplier.

Bolt’s UK country manager, Matt Barrie, had a little more to say in a response to chatter about the various micromobility market moves on Twitter — tweeting the claim that: “Hardware at Bolt is fine, all good, the issues that HumanForest have had are with their bespoke components.”

“The Paris-Prague move is a commercial decision to support our wider business in Prague. Paris a good market and we hope to be back soon,” he added.

We asked HumanForest about Barrie’s claim that the technical issues with its hardware are related to “bespoke components” — but its spokeswoman declined to comment.

HumanForest’s twist on the e-bike sharing model is the idea of offering free trips with in-app ads subsidizing the rides. Its marketing has also been geared towards pushing a ‘greener commute’ message — touting that the e-bike batteries and service vehicles are charged with certified renewable energy sources.

Startups – TechCrunch