Embedded Linux Experts

It Won’t Be Boring

Welcome to Togán Labs’ new website! Here in Togán Labs we’re dusting ourselves off and picking ourselves up after a marvellous time at OSS/ELCE in Edinburgh. It was our first time (of many!) as an event sponsor, coinciding with the second anniversary of me and Beth Flanagan making the decision to start this business of our own.

Things have changed a lot since that day two years ago when Beth phoned me up. Back then, I was sitting on my sofa in my PJs at about 3 in the afternoon. As you do, when you’ve quit your job a month beforehand to start an MA that you realised you did NOT want to do 3 weeks before it started. So there I was, feeling like I’d definitely made the right choice but wondering what the hell to do next with my damn life. And knowing that I wasn’t going to settle for anything mediocre. I wanted to do something that meant something.

And Beth calls me to talk about the company she’s wanting to start. We’d talked about it before a whole bunch of times but I always figured, eh, it’s just speculation and passing the time, it probably won’t happen, right?

And then she asks me do I wanna jump in as a co-founder. Which, again, we’ve shot the breeze about a dozen times before.

But this time she’s serious.

I had a million reasons why not. I knew feck all about embedded software development, for one thing. I’d never started a company and I knew feck all about business, for another.

But… it sounded like fun. It sounded exciting. I loved the thought of starting something new and making it ours. Of doing things our way- working well, holding on to our ethics, being a space where the kinds of people who don’t fit in the rest of the industry- women and queer folks and the rest of us misfits- could be valued for their brains and skills.

And… this may have been my first time starting a business, but it wasn’t my first foray into entrepreneurship. Making something from nothing? That, I could do. That, I’d done and done well.

And hey, I’m always one for an adventure and I can’t stand to be bored. Feck it, I said. Let’s do it.

That was two years ago. It’s hard to believe. Togán Labs feels like it’s barely started. And it feels like we’ve been doing this forever. I guess that’s always the way, isn’t it?

And every month, now, we’re paying a half-dozen people. I’m proud as hell that we are doing that for six good, smart, creative, interesting people. I want to do it for more. So I’m proud as hell to be working on expanding our team- and to be doing it our way. In the timescale that we choose. Picking the people who have not only skills, but who care as much as we do about the principles we’re building on.

And we’re working on products and projects that we can get behind. We choose our clients well- companies who fit in with our ethos. Who treat their people well. Who make products that make lives better, not worse.

And y’know, every single day I still wonder how on earth I know what I’m doing. But every day I learn something more.

Two years. And while we have plans for where we want to go, we know that when push comes to shove, none of us can know what the next one will bring.

But it won’t be boring.

About the author

Aoife FitzGibbon-O'Riordan
By Aoife FitzGibbon-O'Riordan
Embedded Linux Experts

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