Behind the Scenes: Trust, Connection, and What Really Matters
My name is Ivan Stegic. I'm the Chief Executive Officer at TEN7.
I started TEN7, sort of by accident, I was in a job before I was the CEO of TEN7 that I worked very many hours for, that I burned myself out on, that I did not see my children with. I wanted to do something else. I didn't know what it was. And when I took the time out and the time off, I discovered that I liked working online.
And one thing led to another, one small client to larger clients, ended up hiring people and building a company. So, there wasn't a definite goal right at the beginning, right at the start. I sort of just did it by mistake. But here we are 14 years later, and we have a mission, and we have purpose. And I love what I do.
I really was afraid of having employees and having a team because that meant giving up the control and giving up the perfectionism that is innately within me. But once I started doing that and being able to trust other people to do that for me, I realized that it wasn't about me, that it was about the client.
Being able to have a bigger impact with more people on the team is much more powerful than just being able to do it yourself.
When you think about the way a human interacts with a website, ultimately, all of that boils down to code. And it boils down to words and letters in text files.
It's almost like playing with Lego. When you were a kid and you had this big box of Lego, and you could build anything you wanted to, and then you could break it down and build it again or build something different. It's very similar to that, I think.
It’s like these weird robotic ones and zeros text files that are always the same thing, no matter where you put that text file, on what server or computer. And yet, once it comes together and is compiled and shows a website and is reconstituted, like I said, it evokes emotion, and that emotion is so different amongst so many different people.
I've always believed that you have to do the right thing. You have to be honest. It's okay to run a business that's for profit but it's also okay to do that in a stand up and upright manner. I think that open source has always been a part of my ethos.
I think it was a part of the way I grew up in college, when we really didn't and couldn't afford to buy software and to buy licenses, we relied on open source. And when I started using open source, I realized that it was more about the community than about the fact that it wasn't something I had to pay for. And I think that the fundamental idea that you can use open source to better everybody else, means that you are contributing to society and contributing to your community.
These websites and these experiences we build aren't about just making a website and moving ahead. It's about the people that experience the site. It's about the people that produce the site. It’s about the clients that are involved. It's about the relationships that we have with each other.
And it's about the fact that once we build that website, it's not goodbye. We are there to support it. We are there to enhance it. We are there to continue to build upon it. We're ultimately all human, and we're all connected. And I think that's what the powerful thing is - when you realize it's not just a website, it's a connector.
The diversity of the experiences that our team has impresses me every day. Everybody is kind. Everybody is interested in the work that they're doing and is ultimately interested in helping the clients that we have, and in making things that matter.
There are so many diverse clients that we have, and that we've helped in so many different ways that it's not just about our team, it's about them as well. And I am definitely proud of what we've achieved.
Make Things That Matter, is something that took me many months to distill into those four words. It allows me and it allows us to coalesce around an idea that is for the benefit of others.
We want to make an impact. We want to be able to scale the impact we have.
And as we go through the growth that we're experiencing we want to be sustainable, and we want to scale so that we can bring this idea to more organizations and to more people in the world.
I'm proud of the fact that we have a stance, that we have an opinion.
And I think what I'm most proud of is that everyone on the team is looking to make the right decision for the community, for the client.
And that's the reason that I come to work every day, and that I'm happy about at the end of every day. Those four little words Make Things That Matter have been adopted by our team, and they can see it in small ways, but they can also see it in large ways. And the fact that we have a stance is something that I'm proud of.
I think it's my job to take obstacles out of everybody's way and to empower people to make their own decisions, to trust that they're going to make the right decisions for themselves, for the community, for the company. And it's my job to literally be the steward of all of that.