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Almost 10 years ago we took the trip to Macedonia

Taking the plane into a new adventure

Ten years ago we had to grow our web development company in The Netherlands. We needed developers and we had a hard time finding them. It was then that my friend and colleague Martin introduced me to Macedonia. The culture, the people and the rising number of skilled developers. All we needed was a plane ticket, an office space and some interviews with our new team members. Since I didn’t know much about Macedonia I was still doubtful if this was going to work. I took the plane into an adventure that I will forever cherish.

The hospitality of Macedonia

Right of the bat I was welcomed to the country by Martin’s family members and friends. I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of the people I met. They showed me the city of Skopje, the incredible food and most importantly the generous hospitality. We met with a couple of developers that wanted to take the risk of joining a startup company and work together on some Dutch projects. We started an entity there and not long after we focussed on working together.

A new beginning

A weight fell of our shoulders since now we were back in business and could continue to do fun projects. The communication with Macedonia went smooth and I was immediately impressed by the professionality and quality of the Macedonian developers. This worked out so well for us we decided to help a couple of other companies we knew to also benefit in working with such talent.

Transparency and honesty

We created a business model that was completely transparent and fair to all participants. Something the outsource market could use back in those days. We made sure that every Macedonian developer was in direct contact with the client and could discuss anything that was in their contract including salary. We believed this to be most important if you want to maintain a healthy long term working relationship. Personal Programmer was born.

It all sounds so easy now but they were tough times as well. Trying to convince clients about the quality of Macedonian developers. But also to find the right people in the beginning that dared to take the leap with us and join a rather small company. Let’s also not forget all the challenges that come with starting your own company, but that’s a story for another day. We are forever grateful for all the people that believed in us even though we were still so small.

A family

Now we have grown bigger and whenever I go back to Skopje I feel like I’m surrounded with family. Kind people with great talent that want to do big things. I’m glad I took that plane so many years ago and like I said I’ll cherish the experience forever. See you all soon!

Kevin is de persoonlijke nearshoring consultant en mede eigenaar van Personal Programmer, met meer dan 10 jaar ervaring in Nearshoring. Wat werkt wel en wat niet? Waar moet je op letten? Hij schrijft erover in het Nearshoring-blog.

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