After hitting 10 years of delivering digital transformation to our clients, our Founder & CEO Luke Morgan reflects on the journey so far
What drove you to create and build your own software development agency?
Solving problems, and an insatiable desire to know if I could in fact solve them! From a relatively early age I was always interested in how both hardware and software were built, how they managed to do the things they did, and that naturally led me to experiment (and break things).
That passion started with hardware and networking. Thankfully I had really supportive parents who encouraged that passion – even when I did manage to explode the first PC I ever attempted to build (110v != 240v).
Then thanks to a really helpful friend who over the course of a year taught me everything he knew about software engineering, that passion then transitioned over to software.
Via that same friend there was then an incredibly fortuitous introduction to what would become our very first client, and his simple question of “do you think you could develop a CRM for our business?”, that led to me quitting my consulting job and the founding of Yozu.
What do you recall most vividly from the start up years?
Too many to mention – but the excitement of hiring the first members of our team, our first office expansion (knocking through a wall in to the next office – to be told by an exasperated landlord agent “you haven’t even signed the lease yet!”), expanding and winning our next big client, and then the next.
Every year there were more milestones and while things are undoubtedly a lot more professional now, we still enjoy frequent similar milestones today.
What do you believe to be Yozu’s greatest strengths after 10 years of experience?
Always the team we’ve built and the client relationships we’ve managed to foster. There are members of the team who’ve been with us from near the beginning, and it makes me incredibly proud that they’ve chosen to build their career with Yozu. Likewise, the fact that with one or two exceptions, we still get to work with every client we’ve ever worked with today is another great source of pride for both me and the team.
Finally, the huge breadth of experience and expertise we can now call upon within the team — there’s people from all walks of life, with vastly different experiences — both professional and personal — that can bring so much value to our clients, both old and new.
What have been your highlights from the 10 years?
Hmm, in no particular order…
- Every client we’ve signed – with each client we’ve seen a natural step change in our own growth and journey, and I couldn’t be more thankful they chose to trust us to deliver for them
- Likewise, seeing the effect our platforms & systems have had for our clients, and the amazing journey they themselves have enjoyed in the past 10 years
- Every office move – it always feels like a natural milestone in our journey as a business and team, and now we’ve recently got to enjoy opening our second office location which has been a fantastic milestone too
- Establishing a leadership team, and then a more formal C-suite — for the first 7 years of the business I was the only manager, and it was beginning to take its toll given our size!
- Establishing a formal career progression framework and getting to reward members of the team with well deserved promotions and recognition within the business
- Seeing average requests per month to the products & platforms we’ve designed and engineered exceed 100k, then 1m, then 100m, then…
- And so many more!
What challenges stand out that Yozu has overcome?
Without a doubt, and like huge swathes of other businesses, COVID. It was our first proper ‘knock’ (read: roundhouse kick) as a business, but I couldn’t be prouder of our response to it.
We used the opportunity to go through our own transformation journey, taking the time to formalise and improve our own operations and processes, which then allowed us to emerge out of the lockdowns stronger than ever. We also avoided any furloughing or redundancies and safeguarded everyone’s jobs, which was an incredibly important thing for me on a personal level.
Other than that – I feel we’ve always been pretty level-headed when faced with any challenge, we always sit down, openly and honestly discuss the challenges or issues being faced, and as a team decide on the best path forward to get the resolution we or our clients need.
What would you go back and tell Luke Morgan c2013 that he didn’t know then?
Probably to move a little quicker and don’t hesitate or second guess things like establishing a leadership team. I always shirked the idea because I was scared of Yozu descending in to corporate, dull, bureaucracy. Probably watching ‘Office Space’ at an early age was to blame.
But, the truth was that if you have the right people working alongside you, and you’re open and honest about what you do and don’t want the business to be, and where it is you want to go and why, those people will only ever help you to deliver on your vision.
What’s next for Yozu?
I’m incredibly excited by some of the software development projects we’re starting to tackle right now, and the huge potential they have for transforming some of our new clients. Now we’re also all spread out across the country as a team, I’m really keen to grow our footprint around the UK hotspots so we gain more exposure to exciting new clients & projects, and then finally to grow our footprint internationally.
Ultimately, I’m excited to think of us being a few hundred strong across the globe, and getting to see the size and scale of solution we’re delivering — and the impact we’re having as a result on businesses and people all around the world — on a day-to-day basis. And also see that the underlying culture of Yozu from back in 2013 is still alive and well!
So that’s the future we want for Yozu — look forward to seeing you all there! 🚀
10 Year Content 🎥
Check out our 10 YEARS OF YOZU TIMELINE
Take a look at our 10TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS