As I look outside my window on this cold (like minus 15 degree cold!!) winter evening in Manhattan, and try to recall how I got here, a feeling of nostalgia grips me. I do what most people like us might do when they feel nostalgic, I went online and searched for cached versions of the weboniselab.com website on archive.org (ok maybe not most of us!). It was like going back to the town where you grew up. Those old cached static web pages on which we tried to define ourselves and tell the world ‘about us’, those images which seem so far away in the past that you don’t even believe it was you (half your current size, long hair, beards and baggy clothes), and as I walked down the memory lane it occurred to me… “I grew up @Webonise!” It has only been half a decade, but it seems like a lifetime. I don’t have a lot of memories beyond the time I spent building this company with some of the most passionate people I know. We call ourselves entrepreneurs and businessmen and developers and designers and geeks and what not, but at the end of the day, no matter where we are and no matter what we do in our lives we will always be Webonisers. The hotdog and coffee at Times Square can’t beat the “poha and chai” at 4 am after delivering a release. We would blame each other all sprint long, the developers will cry over the changing requirements, the BAs will cry over developers making bad estimates, but in the end we will all work together to get it done. We all had different reasons to join Webonise, free beer and pizza, open culture, good and interesting projects, cool technologies, great people to work with, growth, pretty looking HR and what not. I actually asked a girl in an interview once, “So, what do you like about Webonise?” and she said “I really like the paint on the walls and the colours that you guys have done!” – @Sachin PS: don’t worry we did not hire her After missing everyone in the Pune office for a while I decided to take a walk, and stood outside the Grand Central Terminal staring at the magnanimity of this place and the promise it holds for millions who come to this great city looking to redefine themselves, and I smile. It was 4 years ago, in a dark, damp conference room in Lonavala, a small hilly town in India, where a group of youngsters gathered to define what their lives would be (and honest to god we were not drunk!, well.. atleast not that day!). Among other things, I wrote on a yellow sticky note “Webonise New York office 2013”. Little did I know then, about a horse racing media company, which would become one of our largest clients in New York. – Well I also wrote I want to buy a Jaguar in 2015 #hint@RobToRaiseMySalary We spent the better part of our youth building and nurturing a culture that would become a melting pot of ideas and people from around the world. Today, we have almost 200 Webonisers across the globe, who belong to 7 different nationalities, and can speak 9 different languages, and its just the start. All of us had the bug to create something that would be used by millions of people around the world. We grew up in the digital gold rush, where normal people like us become millionaires overnight. The lust for building something great brought us together, little did we know about the realities of this world back then. Some of us still wander the wilderness in search of that elusive dream and I am sure our souls will never rest until we make it happen. But after all these years, and a few gray hairs later, I have realized that this is it. This is the promised land for me. Its a place where I can grow with each person that joins us, with each client we work with and with each project we deliver. Its the place where a simple mobile developer can become a Vice-President if he/she works hard enough. Its a place where the CEO is just a Skype ping away, and the company supports anyone with a great new idea. Its a place where the only way to move forward is to nurture someone to take your place. Its a place that gives you the means and freedom to define your own destiny. “When you become the person on whom people can count on, that is the day you become a real man.” I can’t remember who said that to me, but it sure as hell makes sense now. And I think that holds true for any great company as well, “If people can trust the product/service you are giving them and can count on you, for getting something done, that is the day you become a ‘real’ company”. We wanted to Webo-nise the world, we wanted businesses everywhere to harness the power of Web to create value, and individuals to learn and grow in an open and nurturing environment (which at that time for me was free beer and pizza). It was a very simple philosophy, nothing fancy about it. Before we knew it, we became technical partners, vendors, consultants and development teams for some of the most diverse domains out there. And I personally, grew from being an average programmer to a kickass Product Manager and eventually the VP of delivery responsible for almost 1/4th of the company’s revenue. If it were not for the people around me who identified and encouraged my talent, I would have never realized my true potential, and never would have came out of my comfort zone. It was Dec 2010 and we were building AppBazar. Vijay was dropping me home after a long day in office on a rickety old bike, and I asked him, “Vijay, why are you not involved in the development of AppBazar, don’t you enjoy the thrill of building something of your own?”, I couldn’t see it, but I am sure he smiled his humblest smile and said “I work on other client projects, so that you guys can focus on building something of our own.” I sat there silent for a while. My pride in building something that I can call my own, was humbled by this simple virtue of nurturing others. That day I realized, great companies to work for, are not built on a billion $ idea, they are built with great people to work with. As I walk back home, and cross the majestic Chrysler Building, I am sure we will scale new heights in the coming years and all of us will realize our dreams and ambitions, while creating something great, something bigger than all of us. And when we look back 10, 15, 20 years from now, we would all be able to say.. “I grew up @Webonise” This post first appeared at bhuvankhanna.in.