Article

What is it like to work at New Things Co

May 26, 2021

Photo of Laura Toropainen

Laura Toropainen

We participated in a Q&A session with our friends from Talented on their Community Slack where Talented Community members were able to ask us the toughest questions and challenge us. Some of the questions we’ve heard time and time again in recruitment meetings, some of them were brand new. It was fun, and here’s the results.

The questions were answered by Sami Ruotsalainen, CEO & Founder, Laura Toropainen, Head of recruitment and human care, Tuomas Tanner, Senior Developer and New Thing no. 3, Oliver Lillie, Senior Developer and Designer, and Armand Dupuis, Senior Developer and the newest New Thing.

In the words of Talented

New Things Co was founded in 2017 and is owned by Reaktor, Talented and its employees. They describe themselves as “anti-hand-pair work, pro green field project, senior developer/designer company”. They pride themselves in the culture of freedom and transparency and the values they live by, and love to put time aside from projects regularly to learn new things and to develop the company forward together.

To the questions from the public!

About New Things Co

Where does the name New Things come from?

At first we were actually called “Lab of New”, but we rebranded. The original name was because the consultancy was originally founded on experimenting with new technologies. Both names are still valid as we like to build new things from scratch and keep experimenting and learning. That is still the core of our company.

What motivated you to start the business?

Sami: For me personally, I had been working in another company that was struggling to turn from a product company to a consulting company. Getting an opportunity to start from scratch and having Reaktor there as a strong partner was extremely interesting. Tuomas: I was really sold on the possibility of starting a new firm but with a helping hand from a big established player. That has worked out really well and we’ve been able to form our own culture and ways of working without the stressful hustle of scrounging around for any project that comes our way. In a way this is the best of both worlds.

What is your relationship to Reaktor, how does the dynamic work?

We are their subsidiary so they are our main shareholder. The cooperation works quite nicely. We have full independence of doing whatever we feel is the best for the company. But at the same time there is a lot of co-operation especially in sales and training.

What is the biggest difference between New Things and other software consultancies?

We have a focus on challenging projects that require our developers to have a lot of perspective from not only technical skills, but other areas too. We are training our people to be able to help clients in not only developing their products, but also with business, leading and coaching people and putting the right processes in place. From day one we’re thinking about how to make ourselves redundant.

How many are you currently?

21.

What excites you the most in the future?

Seeing our sales strategy working and actually landing cool projects in the short term. In the long term it’s super exciting to be building a consultancy to look like home to us. Everyone who joins brings a small piece of themselves to the company too, so every new team member gets us super excited about the future.

What has been a business decision you have been most proud of?

It was a really good decision to take everyone in New Things on board as shareholders. This way the people building us forward have actual ownership.

What kind of things make you proud of New Things?

We’ve been extremely successful in hiring super talented, empathic, intelligent people and created a really inclusive environment where everyone can be what they want.

The work

How do your projects differ from other consultancies?

Laura: It depends on the consultancy we’re comparing to. We don’t have a specific technology focus nor do we want one. Our projects vary a lot and most of our peeps are generalists. One thing we are focusing on in sales is finding green field projects, and more challenging problems to solve. One exciting domain we have gotten to explore is the industrial side, like working with these self driving vehicles/forklifts. Tuomas: To be honest, projects come in many different shapes and sizes. Not all can be sunshine and rainbows all the time. I think the difference here is that we really do care that people are happy in their projects and that we find great matches between doers and clients. The projects need to be interesting technically and domain wise as well. We have been fortunate enough to get some really interesting clients and form great long lasting partnerships so in that sense our aim to be close partners with our clients is working. Ollie: I have only been in two projects since arriving at NTC, but each has been greenfield and has had heavy direct involvement with the client, not just on a technical front. Fully understanding what the customer needs and wants is pretty key I think. For example I was actually doing recruitment interviews for my client, in order to help them replace me. Armand: From my point of view, having the developers involved in all the steps of the project is different from what I have seen before.

Any project you’re especially proud of? How have you made the world a better place?

Project Givsly (in NY, USA). They make the world a better place by getting money for charities. They have a goal to make 1million$ this year to charities. The idea is you register to the platform, select the charities you want to support and what is the cost to have a meeting with you. People can then request a meeting and the money goes to the charities!

How do you like to spend time together?

If there was no corona, we would be traveling, sailing with Sami, organizing Lab Times (our internal workshops where we go to a cabin for the weekend and learn something new for everyone), and having karaoke parties, BBQ’s and Friday Saunas at our office. We also have this habit of someone from the team inviting others to join their hobby, like fencing or CrossFit. We love spending time together!

Recruitment

What kind of people are you looking to join New Things?

We want people who are senior and know what they are doing, want to do things well, and also who do not want to be a “pair of hands” but be solving the difficult problems together with clients. One thing we also look for in people is if they share similar values to us – our values are empathy, curiosity and transparency.

What’s the recruitment process like?

Our recruitment process is a nice experience, you should try it.

In a nutshell there are 4 stages: 1. Getting to know each other via meets or zoom (hopefully live at some point) 2. Check your code (it can be a free time project on GitHub or you can do our assignment) 3. Technical interview 4. Offer

We’ve put a lot of emphasis in creating a friendly environment and our technical interviews are designed to mimic real life. We don’t believe in tech grills or interrogations.

What is your value promise for new employees?

One of the things we try to get across when interviewing potential candidates is to really express that you won’t ever just be a pair of hands sold onto some nameless project. You are involved in every aspect of the sales pipeline to make sure you are the right fit and the client is a right fit for you, both personally and technically. Moreover, we promise freedom, autonomy and trust from the very beginning.

What kind of salary model do you have?

We have a fixed monthly salary where everyone, even if they are on the bench receive their full salary. At the moment our range is between 4k-5,6K€ per month. We also have a share plan for all new team mates (probably during this year but no more than that), and a benefits package that’s worth around 400€ per month.

Want to hear more?

Shoot us a message and lets have remote coffees! laura.toro@newthings.co


About the author

Laura Toropainen

Recruiter of new things