Here go the personal top 6 of Mihail, the head of SiteGround Development department, who has started working at SiteGround 10 years ago. Back then, he not only developed the first version of our CRM and all the backend systems of the website but was also providing technical support to the first customers! Get ready for some real fun...
The Killer Code movie
I should say that the software development team of SiteGround consists of rather unique personalities. Along with guitar and electric base players, we've got a classic music composer and pianist, and a person with inclination to video, 3D and photography. So one December morning we decided to make a little surprise for our colleagues and our visual-arts-talented guy put up a nice photo-collage with music and some 3D rendered images to present the department’s work for the year. The next year this idea evolved to a short 10-min video with special effects and 3D animation. Last year we went ‘professional’, armed with much better equipment, did a casting for actors among the company staff, and shot a 20-min thriller/comedy flick called ‘Killer Code’. It was awesome fun!
The beer server
Few years back I had a wager with one of the owners and the prize was getting a draft beer installation. He kind of forgot about it but I kept reminding him persistently in an interesting way: Each time he would ask why some software feature, which we had not implemented yet, does not work I would say 'Because the beer server was not functional'. He finally got tired of it and got us our beer server. It's really one of the greatest social benefits for me, since we get to drink fresh German or Czech beer on tap every day!
The 'SiteGround got talent' casting
I mentioned the musical-inclined hobbies of my co-workers from the development squad before, so the story was that three of us decided to form a band: we had a base player, an electric guitar enthusiast, and a keyboard master, but none of us possessed a slight singing ability. So we decided to perform a casting for a singer as part of one of our team-building events. We hadn’t had so much fun in ages: we laughed till we cried at most of the performances.
The anti-tank gun
I am personally interested in military history with a focus on military vehicles and equipment. One day the marketing department had all these huge carton boxes and cylinders from ad materials all over the hall in the office, and we recalled our childhood making knight’s armour from boxes. Then we decided to scale this up to modern times and put up something like a full-scale model of a German WW2 anti-tank gun (more or less like the Pak 38). I got a pair of tires and a rod to put them on, as well as a base made out of a floor board, then we put up everything else together. We even got it a camouflage cloth cover and sprayed the whole thing in army green, brown and black to make it look cool. The barrel was mounted so that it can move back and forth to fake a recoil upon firing. It even had a closing chamber and could fire with compressed-air confetti canisters. We got to fire it on one of the Christmas parties: it was a blast - we damaged some of the ceiling tiles and had confetti all over the hall.
The PHP conferences and our PHP User Group
Thanks to SiteGround my colleagues and I get sent to conferences all over the world pretty often. I really enjoy meeting with fellow developers, learning cool new stuff and having fun while doing it. At one of the ZendCon meetings we were chatting with Michelangelo van Dam - a prominent figure in the PHP community, organizing a lot of events (like the very cool PHP Benelux conference) - and came up with the idea to organize a PHP user group in Bulgaria. We started it last fall and have had two conference-like meetings so far. The group is picking up speed and has around 240 members so far. We prepare presentations and tutorials in which we share interesting new tools and techniques with the community. I really enjoy these meetings.
... and, most of all, THE DEV TEAM:
I love the people I work with - my team: Lubo Anev, Georgi Penkov, Georgi Velev, Bisser Todorov, and last, but not least, our software quality officer: Lubo Todorov. They are the coolest bunch of idiots (in the most positive meaning of the word possible) I've ever met! I have the pleasure and honor of working and having fun with them every day. I enjoy this wise saying (by Confucius) that if you choose a job you love, you will never have to work a day in your life. My addition to it would be that this only holds true if the people you work with, especially those you rely on to get the job done, are just as good. If you love your team you can hardly go wrong.