Companies For Craftsmen

Carl Erickson | 11:45 – 01:00


Software craftsmanship demands more from people than a mere job. Correspondingly, a company built around craftsmanship looks very different than a conventional company. Companies built around craftsmen need to be shaped by the values of those craftsmen in order to be successful. Innovation services firms are natural homes for craftsmen.

From practical issues like facilities, to the tricky question of ownership, innovation services firms look very different than typical corporate America. This talk will consider issues of compensation, workspace, assignments, governance, evaluation, culture, finances, ownership, sales, marketing, size and growth.

Carl will share how Atomic Object is organized and run, mistakes we’ve made, and challenges we continue to face. He will conclude with his thoughts on what it takes for a software development firm to be sustainably successful.


Carl Erickson is the president and co-founder of Atomic Object, a 40-person software design and development consultancy with offices in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Michigan. Atomic Object builds web, mobile and embedded software products for clients ranging from startups to the Fortune 500.

Before founding Atomic in 2001, Carl was a VP of Engineering at a failed dot-com startup (briefly), and a university professor (not so briefly). Great Not Big is a blog for Carl to share his experiences building and running a company worthy of software craftsmen.