Winn Jewett is the Lead Architect of Oxbow Labs, based in Colorado Springs. Winn’s startup career began in New York City helping build MarthaStewart.com and iVillage.com.
1. How does working with a small startup lend itself to opportunities?
Oxbow Labs has grown organically over the past 9 years. This measured growth has allowed the company to build our client and talent pool without the risk of over-extending its resources. In the past two years, Oxbow Labs has doubled in size, bringing with it new opportunities and challenges. One such challenge is to build an efficient project management system. As a small startup with just 6 employees, we have been able to try out new techniques, tools, and strategies, adapting rapidly to those that work, and gutting those that don't.”
2. How does the team work together? What qualities are major influencers?
We are a team of highly skilled technical web developers. We value quality, consistency, but above all else, innovation. The web industry is constantly evolving with new trends and techniques. As Lead Architect, my role is to help solve problems, and make sure that our techniques and ideas don't stagnate. In the end, it's a team effort, and the quality of our final product, along with the satisfaction of our clients is what drives us.
3. What are some of your opinions about the flexibility and work environment?
Flexibility in the work environment is a balancing act. As a general rule, the team is most efficient when all of us work together in the office, but there are times when one of us needs to put our head down, and get work done without distractions. Some times, we work from home. Other times, we head down to Jives, our local coffee shop to let the white noise focus us. In the end, we try to create an environment that both fosters collaboration, and allows each web developer to work in a manner most efficient for him.
4. How would you characterize your personality and work style?
As a web developer, it's important to always keep the big picture in mind, whether it's architecting a new website, or fine-tuing the user experience of a mobile menu. This often means keeping an open mind, and letting go of previous work when a better solution presents itself.
5. How is being part of the developer community exciting?
The Drupal community is one of the most supportive communities I have been a part of. Each month, competitors from half a dozen Drupal agencies meet to share technical knowledge, and stories with each other. We definitely don't feel like competitors. It's an exciting time to be a web startup.