Planet Argon is a web application design and development agency, partnering with both new venture and enterprise clients.
Between 2010 and 2013 I served as a Business Developer, Project Manager, Front-end Developer, and UX Designer for Planet Argon.
Planet Argon has a long history with Ruby on Rails, pivotal players in the early developer evangelism and one of the first dedicated Rails hosting providers in the world. In my previous role as a developer at other companies, I was familiar with Rails and impressed with Planet Argon’s reputation. I respected Planet Argon’s choice of Rails and their unwavering commitment it; uninterested in the temporary fads of other options that seemed to rise and fall on a quarterly basis without developing the kind of motivated community that Rails has cultivated.
Planet Argon takes web applications seriously, and expert time was a valuable commodity spent equally on strategy as design or development tasks. There was no hesitation for our strategists to tell a client they do not need some over-complicated new feature, Planet Argon responded “build less, experiment more, maintain less.”
I was hired originally as a UX Designer, noting that my interview remark “design as a science” further solidified my eager acceptance to their then cadre of four. My first impression of Planet Argon was the level of competence and transparency each team member brought to their role, never sacrificing quality for short-term gain. In a short-time, their clients’ needs shifted to demand more front-end development. With years of development experience on both the front and back-end, I rose to the challenge to meet these new demands, working alongside the other developers in my first production Rails environment.
Within the first year of my time with the Planet Argon team, our success and workload exceeded what the existing management processes could accommodate; it was decided to bring in a new Project Manager, a role that, until then, had never been a specific position. After a few months the new Project Manager left Planet Argon to work with a different agency. Planet Argon interviewed several people for the role, trying to find an individual with the specific spark and drive needed to be a leader in that position. Confident with my previous experience building and managing a design and development team at HillSouth, I told the Planet Argon partners I was interested in applying for the position. Due to my track-record and success as a developer with Planet Argon already, my knowledge and relationship with existing clients, and my perspective on digital project management, Planet Argon promoted me to the position, saying it was an “obvious choice and no-brainer to select Ryan.” I stepped up to the role, managing both my front-end duties and new project management responsibilities in parallel until we could hire another team member dedicated to front-end development.
My first year as Planet Argon’s Project Manager, and only second year at the company, we grew the team 100% to 10, and increased billing by 200%, making more profit than ever before. I created and implemented new processes that could accommodate the scale our operations, delivering better solutions while maximizing the efficiency of our production team.
I managed multi-million dollar accounts split between new ventures and large enterprises. The client web applications designed, implemented, and maintained by Planet Argon were relied upon by millions of users, transacting and enabling hundreds of millions of dollars in business.
Coordinating the iterative development cycles utilized my experience as an entrepreneur and executive to facilitate additional account management duties, filling the shoes for tasks previously only trusted to be completed by Planet Argon partners.
After more than a year as a Project Manager, experiencing even more demand from clients for our services, we decided to bring in an additional Project Manager, to split the project coordination and account management duties further. I helped interview and orient the new Project Manager, acclimating him from his previous industry to software development. As the diversity of Planet Argon’s clients shifted, we anticipated the need for aggressive business development to stabilize our growth and introduce ourselves to prospects that were not yet aware of our existence in the market. Having a background in Business Development and my knowledge of Planet Argon’s processes, I was the most obvious candidate to execute the new mission, building awareness and winning new accounts. I propelled myself into the sales role; I attracted enterprise opportunities, estimated projects, proposed and presented projects, facilitated onboarding, networked, forecasted and controlled the pipeline to take advantage of resource availability, documented processes and techniques, and managed partner relationships.
Using my experience as a designer, developer, project manager, entrepreneur, and executive provided empathy and deep technical knowledge during the pre-sale and proposal process to win opportunities and build relationships.
Working with the team at Planet Argon has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my professional life, providing even more depth to my skills, connections, and successes.