Fifth Omniversary

June 1, 2016

I’ve been a software developer with the Omni Group for five years now. In this business, that’s a long time in one job. Even so, of our seventeen person engineering team, thirteen of my co-workers have been with Omni longer. Only three have less time at Omni than me. (One of them is Brent Simmons. Time at Omni is certainly the only metric where I’m more senior than Brent.)

Although we’re always working to improve our apps, there is a certain grind to maintaining a family of products over many years. At nine years old, OmniFocus is the youngest app in the family. Despite that, Omni is a company that invites loyalty. What is it about Omni that leads to such perseverance?

Omni’s apps are what initially piqued my interest in the company. As I wrote in 2011:

I’ve been a fan of the work of The Omni Group since I discovered OmniOutliner pre-installed on my 12 inch PowerBook G4 back in 2003.

Now I spend my days working on OmniFocus for Mac and iOS. Focus — we tend to drop the prefixes — is one of my favorite apps ever. I managed my teaching career with it, used it to lead several research and project teams, and ultimately used it to earn tenure. I feel tremendously lucky to work on an app I love.

My co-workers at Omni also make the work special. Omni has some of the most experienced Objective-C developers in the world, and we’re rapidly developing Swift expertise. But the true joy for me as a former teacher is how willing people are to teach and mentor. Rather than lord their experience over more junior developers, everyone is happy to share what they know. The chances are high that you’ll get five different correct answers to a question in company chat. “It depends” is one outcome of hard won knowledge.

The willingness to teach and mentor is an example of Omni’s culture of caring. People here care about each other, care about making great products, and care about helping our customers. That care is reflected in the central role our support humans play. They answer customer emails and phone calls and write articles for our support website. Support humans are also members of our product teams. They, along with our product managers, are the voice of the customer on the team.

Ultimately, the customers are what make all the hard work worthwhile. It’s satisfying to work on productivity apps. We provide tools that our customers use to multiply their own efforts. Our customers are demanding. They should be; we sell premium products at prices to match. Our customers are also quick to praise. It’s gratifying to hear how they’re using our tools to achieve their goals.

In five years at Omni, I’m astounded by how much I’ve learned. I look forward to continue working with my friends and colleagues for many years to come. I’m grateful to Ken and Tim for giving me a chance and to everyone at Omni for helping in this recovering academic’s journey. I can’t imagine a better place to practice my craft. It’s a privilege to be part of the Omni Group.