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Our review on 2021

Phase 1: Anticipation and motivation

Hav­ing suc­cess­fully mastered our first Peer­ox year in 2020, fol­lowed by a strenu­ous Corona winter, we looked to the future with a lot of con­fid­ence. Right at the turn of the year, we moved to a lar­ger office in the Robolab at Robotron Daten­bank­systeme GmbH. In addi­tion to a bunch of oth­er leads we had a super pilot cus­tom­er with lots of oppor­tun­it­ies in Bay­er AG.

Phase 2: Setbacks and strategy adjustment

Unfor­tu­nately, as the Corona num­bers increased, so did the can­cel­la­tions. Planned new cus­tom­er pro­jects and trade shows were post­poned or stopped alto­geth­er. The asso­ci­ated uncer­tain­ties nat­ur­ally affected our team. We reacted to this by increas­ing trans­par­ency a bit fur­ther in the fol­low­ing way. Once a quarter since then, man­age­ment presents the cur­rent account bal­ance, cur­rent costs, cer­tain and planned rev­en­ues. Moreover we look at poten­tial pro­jects and an asso­ci­ated timeline.

Make it healthy (diet­ary sins allowed!) through the hol­i­days; see you in 2022!

In addi­tion, we have firmly estab­lished our quarterly ret­ro­spect­ive as a com­mu­nic­a­tion frame­work with which we build the com­pany togeth­er and exchange per­son­al con­cerns, ideas and vis­ions. It was pre­cisely this exchange that led us to make an import­ant fun­da­ment­al decision in the spring of 2021. Instead of con­tinu­ing to invest a lot of energy in new cus­tom­er acquis­i­tion – which was quite hope­less due to the pan­dem­ic con­di­tions – we put all our eggs in one bas­ket. We focused fully on product devel­op­ment and our exist­ing cus­tom­er. Our goal was to be able to demon­strate a mar­ket­able product and ROI to the cus­tom­er as quickly as pos­sible. To be able to meet this expect­a­tion, we have hired two soft­ware developers, Chris and Andreas. With a stable and mar­ket­able soft­ware ver­sion by Q3/2021, the imple­ment­a­tion effort and thus the costs for new cus­tom­ers should be sig­ni­fic­antly reduced.

But unfor­tu­nately the world is not ideal. Intern­al and extern­al con­straints can change, hypo­theses can prove flawed, and unfore­seen chal­lenges can arise. Thus, our spring and sum­mer was also a thor­oughly dif­fi­cult peri­od. Under high pres­sure, we tried to react to extern­al influ­ences and, of course, made mis­takes ourselves. Instead of think­ing in terms of new fea­tures and devel­op­ing MADDOX fur­ther, we had to struggle more with trouble shoot­ing. That was frus­trat­ing, but also form­at­ive. On the fast track to an MVP (Min­im­al Viable Product), we have con­sciously accep­ted tech­nic­al debts. Gradu­ally, we have been able to resolve these debts through bug fixes and optim­iz­a­tion of the devel­op­ment pro­cesses. With a sig­ni­fic­antly high­er cov­er­age of auto­mated soft­ware tests as well as our CI/CD pipeline, we can now offer an effi­cient, well-main­tain­able product.

Phase 3: Reward for the hard work -> MADDOX finally stable!

The per­sever­ance paid off. As of August, we had the biggest chal­lenges under con­trol and were able to fix the final tweaks in a struc­tured way. The sta­bil­ity and reli­ab­il­ity of the res­ult­ing MADDOX ver­sion 3.4 met our require­ments and the user accept­ance at the cus­tom­er increased again. At the same time, this phase wel­ded us even closer togeth­er as a team. We were able to find out who can handle pres­sure and how, and how we can sup­port each oth­er. We also reached a major mile­stone with the release of this ver­sion, which is so import­ant for us. The sale of our first soft­ware licenses! Thus com­plet­ing what is prob­ably the most strenu­ous phase in our young company’s his­tory to date.

Phase 4: We strengthen sales

Even dur­ing the great chal­lenges and uncer­tainty of the sum­mer, we worked intens­ively on the next steps in the form­a­tion of our com­pany. We wanted to act­ively strengthen sales start­ing in Q3/2021. To this end, we signed up for our first trade fair and were able to recruit Amie, our first pro­fes­sion­al full-blooded sales­per­son. Even though the pre­par­a­tion for the trade fair was stress­ful as usu­al and, in view of the Corona devel­op­ment, asso­ci­ated with great uncer­tain­ties, the res­ult was a com­plete suc­cess. There were many vis­it­ors on site, whom we could con­vince of us and MADDOX. We are now pick­ing up speed in the fol­low-up dis­cus­sions. We are stand­ard­iz­ing the acquis­i­tion pro­cess, devel­op­ing mar­ket­ing, revis­ing our homepage and invest­ing in new com­mu­nic­a­tion media.

What we can take into the new year

The major set­backs and suc­cesses this year have made us grow togeth­er even more. We know that we can trust and rely on each oth­er. Home office, vaca­tion, sick days, spon­tan­eous breaks and over­time are no longer a top­ic of dis­cus­sion. Every­one takes care of them­selves and their fel­low Peers and takes their breaks on their own respons­ib­il­ity. That also means that every­one does not allow them­selves to be steered by the pos­sible per­cep­tions or expect­a­tions of oth­ers. Fur­ther­more, MADDOX has not only become much more stable. Des­pite all the dif­fi­culties, numer­ous fea­tures have been added, such as the SAP inter­face. Oth­er examples are power­ful author­ing tools, a more robust search algorithm, and sig­ni­fic­antly bet­ter work­flows. We have already won numer­ous new orders for 2022 and are in con­tact with many excit­ing poten­tial new cus­tom­ers. So it does­n’t feel like 2022 will be any less excit­ing in any way. We are look­ing for­ward to it tremendously!

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