As a parent it is astounding how quickly your children grow up - seemingly in a blink of an eye they transform from toddlers to adults. Influenced by nurture and nature, defined by paths taken and paths ignored, impacted by chance and luck, they often turn out completely different to what you envisaged before their conception. Still deeply loved, still unique and still perfect in their very own way. It is the same with companies.
This year sees us celebrating ARM’s 20th birthday. I still remember the early days, when I made my first placement, when we won the first big client and when we signed our first substantial official office lease. I can still remember when we hit our milestone of 10 employees and moving offices using our swivel chairs to move our PC’s and belongings! I can still remember, even though I want to forget as it makes me cringe today, how we behaved like we thought businessmen should behave, how we grew up as the company grew up - or was it the other way around. Most likely both.
I can remember all the good times and funny stories, but I also remember all the hard knocks we took and the mistakes we made: the tyranny of VC investment, the punishing but ultimately rewarding MBO, the first person fired, the wrong MD hired, the recessions and how all of the above impacted on our company and made it stronger and made it ultimately into what it is now. Regardless, I feel immensely proud of what we have achieved.
I myself have grown up massively during the years as well. I still feel like the 24 year old who joined the company with so much belief, hope and ambition. Certainly I know much more what I stand for and how I want to conduct business. How I want this company to be now, what this company stands for and what I want it to be in 5 years’ time.
It is quite remarkable that ARM has morphed from a single brand, single location business into Serocor, a £100m plus revenue business, with the operating brands of ARM, Optamor, Bloc and Hawker Chase plus many small but valuable investments such as Talenetic. We are now in five different locations, recruit in multiple countries and have just short of 200 highly talented colleagues.
And all in a blink of an eye.
This year, I want to thank and celebrate with all of the people that helped us build this fantastic businesses, that have supported us and have shared in our pain and our pleasure, we have an exciting future ahead of us, but we must not forget our humble beginnings and all my colleagues past and present that have made what we have today a reality.
From next week on, I’ll share some of my learnings on how to build and run a successful business, warts and all. The good, the bad and the ugly.
But for now: let’s wet this baby’s head…