We Build Websites

Where Gizra is Sailing
By Amitai Burstein (@amitaibu) // 28 Jul 2017

Below you will find a real and un-edited internal letter I’ve sent to all Gizra employees.

It’s about becoming distributed, layoffs we had, and raising the bar.


From: Amitai Burstein <[email protected]>
To: All <[email protected]>
Subject: Where Gizra is sailing

On the third year of my studies (B.A in Fashion Design) I decided to take a one-year break. I had an idea for a book I wanted to try to write. People going for a “one-year break” just before their final year usually, as you may guess, never come back.

I remember talking with one of my professors, and I told him I know that everybody thinks I won’t come back. They think that I’m abandoning ship.

I remember he smiled when he told me: “You were never on the ship. You were always on your own sailboat, and floated next to the ship for three years. Now, you are just taking a detour. Maybe you’ll come back.”

I did come back and finished my studies. Honestly - and it took me a few years to admit it - that book I tried to write, was quite terrible. And even after 4 years and a degree in Fashion Design, I was clearly not meant to be a designer.

But this isn’t a reflection of my past, but rather thoughts about the present and future, and putting in context how I see Gizra. We are on our own sailboat, and recently we’re making some pretty big maneuvers! I’m sure each and every one of you is feeling them:

1) We raised the bar. I can assure you it’s way higher than most web development shops you might know out there. And it’s working well. When we crunch the numbers at the end of every month, and compare it to just six months ago and from month to month, we notice significant improvement, and we’re nothing short than amazed.

2) We’re becoming more and more distributed (took us too many years to realize that to find talent we can not restrict the geography). Being distributed means that we are also only bringing on experienced devs, since the distance hurdle is already hard enough for communication.

It’s probably super important to note to the “Israeli team” (the ones that aren’t already working remotely), that a physical office, in some capacity, is always going to remain. By being semi-distributed, and taking advantage of the fact that we can meet the account managers and the developers every week or so, we get to enjoy both worlds. It is, however, our responsibility to keep distributed employees in our sight, even if we don’t physically sit with them.

3) What you saw when we let go of a few junior developers, or ones that didn’t fit, was not the hand with a sword swinging above everybody’s head, but rather the hand holding the bar and raising it.

What’s fun about Gizra (at least from my perspective), is that we’re constantly moving. And as you have probably noticed we’re not afraid to admit when we headed in a wrong direction. But this time, when looking at the big picture (along with the small ones) - the signs are showing that we’re in the right direction. Just look at the kinds of projects and technology we’re dealing with on a daily basis!

We plan to continue developing project opportunities in North America and Europe. Our project management style and methods will continue developing following the principle that we can always do better. And we will continue with the most talented and dedicated people - this makes the work a lot of fun.

Gizra is a lean sailboat, and we’re in deep water. Many other ships that were close to us many years ago, are now way way behind. We don’t know exactly what is ahead of us (nobody ever does), but we’re really excited to find out, and we’re grateful for sharing the ride with a wonderful team.