Challenges and Benefits of Being a Startup Based in Paradise

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The team at CartonCloud has been growing rapidly over the last 18 months as we work on continuously improving our product while maintaining existing functionality and offering quality customer service for our growing customer base.

Onboarding, customer support, sales and management are all essential to CartonCloud but the core of our operations is our tech team, who are responsible for implementing new features, fixing any issues, working on our product roadmap and supporting our operations team.

Our tech team is made up by an exceptional combination of experts and talents in various fields of software development and has been built up very carefully by choosing people not only based on their knowledge but also their cultural fit. We have found cultural fit to be essential when building up a team that works well together.

A challenge we have run into time and time again is our office location. (All of our development is done in-house in our main office in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast.)

We like to talk about how the Gold Coast offers an exceptional lifestyle, combining the beautiful outdoors with a coffee and restaurant culture rivalling larger cities, while maintaining a relatively affordable property market.

And the combination of all these aspects certainly attracts some candidates, but we have found in the past that the talent pool available to us seems a lot more limited than if we shifted our business to Sydney or Melbourne.

The Gold Coast ICT industry is starting to prosper but still seems in its infancy compared to more established regions like Sydney or Melbourne. However, Gold Coast City Council have been a great supporter of local tech startups and we have in the past been able to rely on their guidance in many aspects of our business operations, as well as support from the Advance Queensland innovation initiative created by the Queensland Government.

Nevertheless, people are certainly surprised the first time we tell them we are a tech startup operating from the Gold Coast!

A large number of our staff have moved to the Gold Coast for the lifestyle and the community – finding a tech startup to nurture their talent and ambition while providing challenging tasks may not have been something they necessarily expected to find here!

For all the difficulty of finding the right talent on the Gold Coast, we have had great success with hiring junior developers that graduated from local universities, such as Griffith University and QUT (Queensland University Of Technology), and chose to stay local rather than moving on to the larger cities and job markets. Our team leads have found it rewarding to teach these developers the best tech and coding standards and guiding them in their personal development. Generally, bad habits haven’t established themselves yet and people aren’t set in their ways but open to mentoring and direction.

And often a developer’s journey to CartonCloud hasn’t led them down the straightest path to the Gold Coast.

Our team is made up of 21 great individuals from 9 nations, who’ve made their way from all corners of the earth and all kinds of careers (Banking in Hong Kong? Business analysis in Vancouver? Android apps in Colombia?).

It certainly pays to keep an open mind when recruiting. A candidate’s experience may not match our requirement 100% (or even 75%) but if we can spot the drive, enthusiasm, talent and oh-so-important cultural fit, we’ll give them a shot.

How to test for cultural fit? Have a chat, show them around the office, introduce them to the rest of the team. And then ask yourself: “Would I want to spend 3 hours next to them on a plane?” And if the answer is “Yes, I actually think we would have something to talk about.”, then that’s certainly a good indicator.

Plus, we always want to know if they are a good beach volleyball player, in the hope that they are not, as to not show us up during our shambolic semi-regular Friday afternoon beach volleyball sessions…

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