Inspiring through technology – a 20 year journey

Dane Eldridge

Chief Executive Officer

We’ve spent the last 20 years at 4mation always focusing on the next thing. The next learning, the next opportunity, the next improvement. 

So it’s nice to do something a little different and take a look back at what we’ve achieved. What a ride! 

Starting Out

When I was at uni as a 19 year old I kept getting offered really interesting web projects and turning them down because I was in a job I loved at the Sydney Roosters. Eventually, I said screw it, I’ll start a business, keep working with the Roosters, hire a few mates and we’ll take on those projects!

There were long days and all-nighters, but doing work we were passionate about meant it didn’t feel like a sacrifice. Bootstrapping from the start, we had to make do with the resources we had – finding solutions that would get us to the next stage. For a time our internet even ran from a cable hanging out the third story window from the ISP next door, and for several years my hot windowless office was also our only meeting room and server room!

Early photos of 4mation

People and culture

The culture formed naturally early on and has continued to define 4mation for 20 years. We took our work seriously (but ourselves not so much!). The team was always improving, being transparent with our clients and each other. Everyone was willing to argue passionately (regardless of job titles), and were focused on building for the long term.

As we grew, we learned that hiring is an art and a science. 

Life’s too short to work with ***holes, whether they’re clients or teammates. People who are very skilled but also fundamentally great people, make working life more enjoyable AND it’s better for business. 

This approach to hiring has led to many 4mationites and ex-4mationites forming lifelong relationships.

Being awarded as one of the best places to work in Australia multiple years was also great external recognition of the effort we put into creating a great environment and culture. 

It’s been a privilege to support 4mation’s people as they grow from junior to mid to senior roles and into leadership positions. Watching the wonderful achievements they make around the world after they leave 4mation is also something I get a real kick out of. 

To our entire team past and present, thank you for helping us reach this milestone.

Team at 4amation

Our clients

It’s been a pleasure to see our clients grow and succeed – scaling up, winning awards, or achieving successful exits. 

Whether it’s international brands like Reebok, Makita, The North Face or Australian companies like Atlassian, Kennards, Aware Super or The Athlete’s Foot, the common thread has been working with people with high standards, who value respectful, mutually beneficial relationships. 

Mistakes

#Transparency is one of our core values, so let’s be honest, we’ve made plenty! 

Early on, taking on challenging projects and backing ourselves to figure it out along the way meant the learning curve was steep. We always got there in the end, but with painful and costly mistakes along the way.

At times we’ve over-complicated things, allowed far too much scope creep, made the wrong hires, allowed an intern to dump a production database (ouch), launched systems at 5 pm on a Friday, and were late to the party on native mobile development.

But our focus has always been doing the right thing by our people, our business and our clients, and we’ve learned something from every mistake we made (ok maybe we repeated one or two of them before the message got through!). 

Partners

I’m extremely grateful that I get to work with Scott Morris and Edward Wong every day (our Head of Team Augmentation and Head of Strategy) over the last ~20 and ~10 years respectively. Their skills and knowledge in tech are unsurpassed, and along with our leadership team and my coach/mentor Andrew Laurie, you won’t find more loyal, intelligent, kind people. They’ve been instrumental in shaping 4mation into what it is today and helping us achieve this milestone.

4mation achievement

Thank you

To everyone involved in the 4mation journey so far, as we celebrate this 20-year milestone, thank you, thank you, thank you. We couldn’t, and wouldn’t want to have done it without you. 

Don’t let anyone tell you running a business is easy – it’s taken literal blood, sweat and tears over the years. But it’s been totally worth it! 

Now, back to what’s next… 


Check out 4mation’s interactive timeline, as they look back on their fantastic accomplishments, achievements and growth.

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