2023 Unfolded: Innovating, Expanding, and Connecting

by Ivana Turković, January 04, 2024
Here's to a moment of pause as 2024 opens its doors. Usually, we stay out of the spotlight and let our clients’ triumphs do the talking. In fact, this is the most we’ve ever used the word ‘we,’ so we might just get it out of the way all at once.

What a year 2023 has been, full of new beginnings, opportunities, and growth. Thinking of 23 moments that defined it best was a mammoth task. So, while we’re getting into the groove of the year ahead of us, let’s look back on 2023 one last time!

1. We brought a vision to life

Our journey through 2023 with our client, dck media, culminated in the launch of their brand-new e-learning platform. This project celebrates full-cycle software development in all its glory. Each phase of the project, from conception through hefty data migration to delivery, was an opportunity for continuous learning and adapting. 

Working on this platform reaffirmed to us that success in software development is not just about reaching the finish line; it's about mastering how you navigate each step of the journey.

Seeing what was once post-its stuck to a whiteboard turn into an impactful product that transforms end-users’ lives was a reward in itself. Full-cycle development doesn’t just turn visions into achievements; it sets the stage for future success, too — and we can’t wait to see what’s to come.

2. We innovated with purpose

For our clients, 2023 was another year at the forefront of their industries. Our foray into IoT integrations and crafting a personalized AI assistant wasn’t just about leveraging new technology; it was about ensuring these innovations were the perfect fit for our clients' needs. 

IoT, crypto, and AI all look shiny and new, but true technological advancement isn’t about blindly following trends; it’s about cherry-picking them to create solutions that truly enhance products.

Staying at the forefront of innovation means understanding and applying technology in ways that are uniquely beneficial to each client. This approach teaches a valuable lesson: innovation is most powerful when it's driven by real needs, not just for the sake of novelty.

3. We drove a positive change

When what you do is tied solely to pixels on a screen, it’s easy to forget your effect on the world. In 2023, we saw our work make a significant impact on both daily lives and the environment. Our efforts in streamlining how Connect Bus’ dispatchers handle buses during rush hours let passengers stay informed about where their bus is in real-time. 

We’ve contributed to a greener footprint by reducing the frequency of bus washes and thus minimized pollution. On top of that, we surpassed the expected savings. It was a win-win-win situation. Sharing these achievements with Connect Bus makes us excited to continue building a smarter, greener world.

4. We moved to a new office

2023 marked a huge milestone for us as we moved into a bigger, better, brighter office space. This transition was more than just a change of location; for us, it embodied our growth and readiness to embrace new challenges. 

Since then, our space in Zadarska Street has become a hub of creativity and innovation. We’ve welcomed clients for inspiring workshops, hosted blockchain meet-ups, celebrated birthdays, and countless game nights.

It’s a physical embodiment of our journey, reflecting not just where we are but where we aspire to go.

5. We welcomed 7 new team members

Responsible growth is one of our biggest achievements. Looking at our team of over 20 employees, it’s hard to believe there were only five of us just a couple of years ago. In 2023, we welcomed seven new talents. Even though they’ve been with us for a couple of months, they have been instrumental in driving innovation.

At Thespian, titles aren’t what drives us when building a team. Whether you’re a seasoned senior with plenty of rodeos behind you or a junior fresh out of college, we believe you’ve got plenty to bring to the table. Just like that, each new member has brought their own story, expertise, and vision, contributing significantly to our projects and workplace culture.

Our strength lies in our people, and by welcoming new talent, we open doors to new possibilities and growth.

6. We’ve had over 100 conversations that matter

The number of applicants for each position floored us. Each interview, though brief, was invaluable. There is immense talent in our industry. We want to extend our thanks for every application sent our way, giving us a window into the needs and aspirations of the tech community.

You reminded us of the importance of keeping our doors open to talent through continuous open applications. We've grown from these interactions. They have been a rich source of learning, reminding us of the diverse perspectives and potential waiting to be explored.

7. We brought on new roles

The cascade of insights from over a hundred interviews in 2023 led us to an exciting decision: expanding our team with even more specialized roles. 

We welcomed a UX/UI designer dedicated to creating user-centric interfaces, a project manager who instilled greater structure and clarity in our project’s workflow, as well as a content specialist set to amplify our voice and message.

These strategic hires have empowered us to tackle projects with a more rounded approach and deliver an even greater impact for our clients.

8. We marked a second 5-year workaversary 

We know we’ve already said that responsible growth is an achievement we’re most proud of, but celebrating the second 5-year job anniversary is just as high on our list. We made a whole day out of it and reminisced on our senior developer’s impact. 

Not to take the spotlight off of this amazing achievement, but milestones like these speak volumes about our work culture. We are so happy to foster an environment where senior developers not only thrive but also choose to stay.

Celebrating these anniversaries is a reminder of the strong bonds we have within our team and our commitment to providing a rewarding, supportive place to spend a third of the day.
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9. We grew closer

We’re thankful we took every opportunity to celebrate our incredible team. Each hangout, no matter how big or small, was a chance to step back from our busy schedules and appreciate the collective efforts that drive our success.

What makes life sweet are those tiny shared moments. Donuts definitely sweeten the long days in the office, too. One of our New Year’s resolutions is to have as many of them as possible — moments or donuts, we’re not telling.

10. We blew off some steam

One of our most memorable events in 2023 was the paintball team-building adventure. We could tell you how it wasn’t just about fun and games, how it was a dynamic exercise in strategy, teamwork, and communication… But honestly, it was just a blast. Pun unintended. 

Team buildings are strictly no shop-talk zones, so we stepped out of our usual roles and connected in a fresh setting. A team that plays together excels together, and we can’t wait to see which playground 2024 will take us to.
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11. We held inspiring workshops

By this year, we’ve gotten our client workshops down to a science. Post-its galore, these brainstorming sessions are our favorite way to land on the same page. Whether we’ve been fostering our partnerships for a year or nearly a decade, there are always more horizons to explore.

We developed strategies, clarified roadmaps, and shot for the stars. No doubt in our minds that 2024 is the year we reach them, together.

12. We made memories on client team buildings

It seems like most B2B collaborations have been dubbed partnerships. The word does have a nice ring to it, but it holds no weight if its confined to weekly meetings and sending each other company merch. 

In 2023, we’ve made an effort to see our international partners offline as well as online. In fact, our team buildings were so fun that we should officially include them in our contract. But more than that, our team ensured to consider the needs of our clients beyond what they do. To anticipate the needs of the human behind the title. In 2024, we’ll continue to be driven by the same empathy and trust.
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13. We made sure we listened more than we talked

We’re all guilty of monopolizing the conversation sometimes. Not only is this unproductive, it’s demoralizing. This is why, in 2023, we reminded ourselves to reincorporate a simple yet profound shift in our approach: deliberately listening more than we talked. 

On paper, or rather on the screen, this doesn’t look like an avalanche of check-ins and one-on-ones. Our teammates just make a conscious effort to really tune in to what is being said. It sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often voices fail to be heard. 

Like our developer, Ana, said: ‘Standing your ground is OK, but the only time you should be stubborn is when your code and you are one on one.’ We’re excited to hear what great ideas will stem from the simple act of listening more.

14. We had areas for growth

“Experienced learning opportunities", "encountered some challenges", "had moments of trial and error,"... Or, plainly said, made mistakes. If any business insists they’re infallible, run in the other direction. Making a wrong call is the perfect training ground to see how quickly you can test, iterate, and innovate.

It’s true; smooth seas never made a skilled sailor, and are there choppier waves than the ones set out to sink you while you’re trying to stay afloat in the market? End-users change their minds, trends shift, and miscommunication happens. The good thing is that with the right team, no mistake is fatal, and it only befalls you once. 

15. We harnessed the power of knowledge

This past year has reminded us of the undeniable strength that lies in informed decision-making. When we hit a wall, falling back on data and strategic brainstorming has always opened a door. Hunches and gut feelings take you only so far; the rest is a conscious effort.

In fact, in 2024, we’re bringing back organized knowledge-sharing sessions for even more eureka moments, summing up what we know via how-tos and blogs, as well as putting our education budgets to good use.

16. We joined forces with news websites

In light of staying informed and making enlightened choices, we’ve started an entirely new chapter and partnered with two news platforms; Studentski.hr and Kriptodnevnik. It's more than just a milestone for us; it's a step towards bringing information closer to those who seek it.

Get used to seeing our name pop up when talking about the academic community, blockchain, and all things software. We're all geared up to make a significant impact on the IT discourse in 2024.

17. We attended conference after conference

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we learned a lot in 2023. Diving into the heart of industry evolution, we attended five conferences (Money Motion Zagreb, CPO 2023 Berlin, Block Split, Cardano Summit Dubai, BlockUp Zagreb), each a hub of learning and connection. 

Engaging in dialogues, workshops, and keynotes, we gathered information and inspiration that challenged our thinking and inspired us to innovate in new ways. Come say hi if you see us in 2024!

18. We organized an event of our own…

Our crypto consultant, Filip Blagojević, co-hosted the largest Cardano Foundation Summit side event in Dubai. It was a full house of blockchain enthusiasts, all eager to give their 2 cents on the Cardano ecosystem and its potential. 

The blockchain community is one of the most inspiring ones out there and is always on the lookout for new members. You don’t have to book any plane tickets for the Emirates, though; we organize local events, too. If you know a thing or two about Cardano, make sure to keep an eye out for any future invites on our socials!
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19. … And sponsored another one

We say we’re big on supporting the academic community, but we’re not all talk. Knowing a good thing when we see it, we supported BlockUp, a blockchain event organized by students. 

Being one of the key speakers was great fun, but what really stood out to us was the panel discussion. This was an opportunity for us to gain fresh perspectives from the brightest minds of tomorrow. We see our participation in this event as more than just a sponsorship; as a commitment to fostering a well-informed, capable new generation of blockchain pros.
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20. We looked within

Taking a step back to look within, we embarked on an introspective journey to redefine who we are. By clarifying our brand story and redefining what sets us apart, we charted a new path for our company. 

This self-reflection has not only strengthened who we are but also sharpened our vision, propelling us on a course to achieve new heights with a clear and compelling narrative. 

21. We spruced up our socials

Marking a new era of Thespian, we turned our attention to our digital presence, giving our social media profiles a makeover. This refresh was essential, ensuring that our profiles mirror the evolution of our brand. Though we love the new look, we’re far from finished. 

If you browse through our profiles now, can you sense a change on the horizon we’ve been hinting at?

22. We remembered what’s it all about

As we sifted through photos for this blog post, we were reminded of the true essence of our journey – the shared experiences and moments of joy among our team and with our clients. 

Even before this trip down memory lane, we’ve decided to roll up our sleeves and focus on the behind-the-scenes of what we do. We're committed to enriching our culture and client interactions. At the end of the day, that’s what forms the heartbeat of our company. We’ll just make sure that the good times continue to roll.
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23. We harnessed strength for what’s to come

As we close this chapter and look forward, we're filled with a sense of gratitude and anticipation. The journey we've shared has not only fortified us but also illuminated the path ahead. We're poised at the brink of a thrilling new phase – think reimagining, revitalizing, and reconnecting in ways more profound than ever before. 

We won’t give anything away just yet but be assured that what lies ahead is a testament to our relentless pursuit of innovation. The future is bright, and together, we're heading towards a new era of remarkable achievements and partnerships.

About the author:
Author avatar
Ivana Turković
Content Marketing Specialist
Ivana translates ideas and complex concepts through inspiring stories. Her content is a bridge between Thespian and you, written to empower you with insight.