I co-founded Strumenta on the 4th of December 2017. Before that I have been working as an independent consultant specialized in Language Engineering for a few years.

So it is natural to stop and look at the way we ran across this year and where we want to go next year and the years to come.

How Things Went in 2018

It was a great year. The results were way above our expectations. We had the opportunity to work with clients based in three continents. Among others we served clients from USA, Singapore, South Korea, and Luxembourg. They were different clients, working in different fields but all looking for services related to software language engineering. For me it is an amazing feeling to see how you can reach people so far away, people you have never met in person and deliver something of value to them. It has been mind-blowing to experience how it is really possible to just present your ideas, discuss what you are able to do, share some advices and through this building enough trust for someone to decide to work with us. This has worked again and again during the last few years but it is still something I have to get used to.

We have done different activities but the bulk has been:

  • Domain Specific Language consulting: we have worked with clients to deliver new DSLs or improve their existing DSLs. For these activities we have worked mainly using Jetbrains MPS
  • Parsers and Transpilers: we have worked with clients to build parsers and transpilers for a fixed price. For parsing we have used mostly ANTLR

Beside our consulting activities we have delivered two info-products:

While we got most of our revenues from consulting, we really like the idea of offering info-products for different reasons. First of all this make possible to offer our competencies in a way that is more affordable for some categories of clients. Students or individual developers can use our resources (free and paid) and learn by themselves. This permits us also to reflect on the way we work and start conversations with the users of our resources to better understand their needs.

Plans for the Future

Planning is difficult when you are immersed in your daily activities: serving clients, working on projects, deliver results. This take all your mental energies and time. For this reason is very useful to take some time at the end of the year to simply think about where we want to go.

In our case we would like to do a couple different things.

We would like to release more info-products because it is fun for us and we think it can be useful for the community. We are thinking on which type of resources to develop next and we are always happy to hear your suggestions. What do you think we can help you with?

We would like to grow to offer to more clients with our consulting services. However we want to do that very carefully as currently we are very proud of the quality we deliver to our clients. In the moment we decide to grow we have to ensure this does not affect the quality of what we do, or even better it helps us improving that quality. We are and we will stay a small business, so we will never be about serving large numbers of clients. Our focus is and it will be on serving extremely well a small number of clients.

Lessons Learned

As we serve more clients we need to focus on improving our processes. We have some internal rules regarding the way we communicate with clients, the things we strive for and in essence the kind of experience we want our clients to have.

Communications for us is essential. We work mostly remotely with our clients and we work with companies based in different parts of the work, that are used to different ways of working. Because of this we have always to be very careful to avoid possible misunderstandings.

There are activities beside serving clients that would need more of our time and attention: this blog, accounting, sales, marketing. It is easy to lose track of these activities because what we love is to deliver value to clients and the rest can be overlooked as a result.

A Few Last Words

Thank you for supporting us!

We received literally thousands of emails this year from our readers. Some of you just wished us the best of luck, someone else discussed the projects they have been building after reading our materials, others wanted to discuss ideas about languages and software engineering in general. We are grateful for all these conversations and we hope they will continue next year.

We are also very thankful to our clients: for the buyers of our book and video-course and who believed in us and work with us to building DSLs, parsers, and transpilers.