The first days of 2020 are underway and we reached that time of year when all things are still a bit slower than I’m really used to. Most people are still making the most out of their holidays, spending times with family and friends, travelling, etc. The mailbox is not busy as usual, so it is perfect time also to slow down and reflect back on the previous year.
2019 was a big year for Locastic – we did a bunch of new projects, invested a lot of time and resources into employee engagement, won awards, but the main focus was to make Locastic a better company for both employees and our clients. In mid-2019, we also formed the so-called Fun Committee, a small team of five members that’s in charge of creating personalized events for Locastic employees.
On the business side of things, we focused on being a truly agile company and on providing our clients with better, more transparent and better services.
Focusing on these goals resulted in becoming a better organization with a stronger structure, with better-planned career paths and a lot of time invested in better management and internal organization that can adjust quickly to any changes.
We developed more effective communication between teams, management and between each human inside our organization. This also resulted in becoming more open for remote work options and remote employments.
The first one onboard is our colleague Stephane from France who filled the Symfony position in late-2019 and I’m so proud to see that he fits the team perfectly since he instantly joined a late-stage project and the whole team delivered it with flying colours.
Projects, partners and awards
Money is an important factor in developing a digital agency, but the biggest joy occurs when you work on a project that helps humans with special needs – and that should be the main goal of technology.
OmoGuru Reader fits the description of one of those projects. The first few lines of code were written during 2018, and in January 2019, we released the first version of the mobile (iOS and Android) application. OmoGuru Reader immediately got tremendous traction and a lot of great feedback.
A lot of people with dyslexia stated that OmoGuru Reader is helping them be more productive and that they can finally read in normal way and pace – and that was a huge win both for the client and for our design and development teams.
Meanwhile, OmoGuru Reader received a few major investments and won a lot of different awards, including the Digital Business Leaders award in the socially-responsible category.
Following the initial success of OmoGuru Reader, throughout 2019 we developed on a new version that’s tailored specifically for the market in North America.
The strength of partnerships
For the past few years, we have been working a lot with our lovely partners from Netgen, and I think it’s safe to say that our collaboration blossomed in 2019 where we joined forces to develop a few notable projects for both A1 Telekom and Cedevita.
A1’s main goal was to simplify the purchase process experience for existing and future customers of their prepaid-based sister company called Tomato. They decided to combine efforts from Netgen and Locastic, to join forces with their usual partners CROZ and OptimIT.
The end results were impressive! We managed to save loads of working hours for A1’s sales team, while increasing overall sales by 95%, with mobile sales boasting to a stunning 160% growth.
This project landed us the first-ever SoMo award for Locastic and Netgen. SoMo Borac is a ceremony which celebrates software professionals and their companies that achieved outstanding success in this fastest-growing industry. Receiving this award was a great recognition for our work as this is considered as one of the most prestigious digital awards in our region.
Locastic team performed exceptionally on other projects as well – we developed a new website for Cedevita (partnered up with Netgen once again), we delivered a number of new releases to the GFNY project, which is now used in 20 different countries with more than ten currencies, languages and letter types, and also we’ve built a fresh new website for the Joker shopping centre.
Lastly, we delivered a challenging b2b platform called Brands For Employees targeted for the market in Switzerland, a platform that is based on the top of Symfony and Sylius framework that displays weekly offers at discounted prices, exclusive to employees of participating companies. Meanwhile, we cooked something amazing with Bots&Pots (we will write about it soon, it is quite tasty).
Locastic website – almost there!
2019 was also the year when we partially developed our new website – but why partially, you might wonder?
The initial goal was to build a blog feature that we will use to write about how we develop stuff, followed with the careers page that will display the perks of working in Locastic.
Obviously, we failed a bit in the development department, since we didn’t manage to release the entire website in 2019, but we did create a few features that will be released in 2020. The main reason for the delay, as per usual, was that we got a bunch of new client work coming our way so we had to put that as a priority.
Although we kind of failed our “Agile experiment”, our Blog section was getting filled with quality content as we released more than 35 blogs in less than 8 months, and some of them contain really valuable information for everyone who’s trying to leave a mark in the software development world – check the section out.
Litto gets in the ring!
The previous year was challenging for our sister-company Litto as we spent most of our time developing a revolutionary platform for travellers. The platform provides a perfect booking experience for tourists who strive to make the most out of their holiday.
Soon enough we learned that laying new foundations in a saturated industry such as tourism can be quite challenging, but it didn’t take too long for us to receive some proper recognition.
In the first year of Litto, we managed to add more than a hundred partners to our offer, and everything culminated in December when we participated in “Get in the Ring” competition in Split, ultimately securing a spot in the grand finals. All in all, we won the 6th place out of 27 participating startups, securing a money-award of 10.000 HRK.
2020 is going to be really important for Litto – we are currently completing the new platform based on Sylius headless solution (SyliusShopApi) on the back-end part, while on the front-end we use GatsbyJS. We aim to achieve the best possible performing website both on desktop and mobile platforms, also providing a flawless User Experience.
The community focus
If you follow some of our work, you can easily notice that we often write about Open-Source, we distribute free bundles and code samples, host podcasts, participate on startup competitions as mentors, run community events and workshops, and a whole lot more.
The reason for that lies in our company culture since we believe that one of the most important things is giving back to the community.
Strong community equals a healthy industry so every year we try to support a different cause.#givingBackToTheCommunity
In 2019 Locastic acted as sponsors at Shift Conference and TNT conference in Split, we supported Smart City Challenge Hackathon by providing our office as a venue, while our co-founder Marko was Locastic’s mentor of the year since he participated at ICT Županija‘s projects like EDIT Code School for aspiring developers and StartIT incubator for growing startups.
For me personally this year was definitely a one to remember as I delivered 21 conference talks for this year, in 7 different countries, 15 different cities and two different continents.
But what I am most proud of is that Paula broke the ice and had two international talks and she will do AT LEAST two more in 2020 (Antwerp and Miami). In case you are interested in our previous talks, you can do it straight away since most of them are already listed on Locastic’s YouTube channel.
Also, Toni and Davor will take their time at the stage and deliver their respective conference talks in 2020 – so happy, so proud about this.
Tinel Meetup entered the third year
One of the most popular projects we do for the local community is Tinel Meetup, and in 2019 we managed to organize 12 meetup events with different topics throughout the year.
We started with Git Legit and Personal Agility talks, moved to React event, hosted live web performance optimization with Harry Roberts, celebrated the second birthday of Tinel, spoke about Agile, Video, eCommerce and YouTube. Three workshops were hosted along the way on React, TDD/DDD, and video editing and it really felt like another wonderful year of Tinel events for both Locastic and the community in Split.
Good Game Champions
It seems like our second Good Game event was a charm as finally, we claimed the trophy after we fell short last year in our first adventure against team Valiance.
Just to fill you in on details, Good Game Zagreb is a b2b gaming event that gathers 30-ish regional tech companies that compete in a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament. Each company pays for an entry fee, and a certain percentage of that money goes to best young regional startups at their Good Game Lift-off event in November.
What excites me and makes me proud is that we are probably one of the smallest companies at the event, but still our team managed to deliver such a strong performance and take the trophy to Split. I can’t wait to see if we will manage to defend the crown in a few months.
Testing the waters with Podcastic
Since we are quite privileged to host prominent tech speakers in our office every month for Tinel Meetup – we decided to make the most out of it and start shooting our own show.
The first episode featured Pim Elshoff where we discussed dozens of interesting topics – including the current state of the tech industry, agile projects, developer seniority, and eventually, we managed to touch upon his speaking career that blossomed in the past year.
Following Pim’s attendance in Podcastic, we managed to record two more episodes with Nara Kasbergen from NPR and Booking.com’s Kene Udeze.
In case you enjoy podcast shows, make sure you take some time to watch previous episodes of Podcastic for some amazing insight into the minds of prominent tech speakers.
Hello 2020, we are ready for new challenges
All in all, we had an amazing year with a lot of amazing projects, awards, and community work, and ultimately, we wrapped the year with Winter Teambuilding and the traditional Locastic XMAS party.
I’m really excited to see what 2020 has in store for us, but one thing is for sure – we are ready for every challenge. I strongly believe that we are entering 2020 as a better company with probably the most capable team in the history of Locastic.