Today Rendered Text becomes five years old. I’m not fully aware how much time that really is, we’ve just been doing this thing, you know? But it feels a bit like graduation.

For my partner Darko and me Rendered Text has always been primarily a conduit for creativity. In the beginning the idea was, we need to figure out a way to make money making software that we like. We loved making software: designing the classes, making the UI simple to use. And we liked working together. A quick survey of local companies amplified our desire for independence. We had this social network slash user generated content thing going which was so much fun, because real people actually started to use it and they liked it, but it was still a long shot for making a living. Let’s try consulting. We can write pretty much the same kind of Rails code we’ve been writing ourselves and get money? Awesome.

The day we became entrepreneurs I knew it was the right thing to do. We thought we were ready for projects with a large impact. The only thing left was to learn a million small lessons about how to run a business. Don’t work for a percentage. Is answering an email billable time? Have a policy for late payment. Nobody will find you unless you spread the word. There’s so much you can read on the web but somehow nobody shared the exact advice that you need right now. Learning from your own mistakes often happens sooner than you can find the right article or presentation.

I am very proud that we kept the company independent. It’s not that we haven’t tested the VC waters; Plakatt was the first Serbian team to appear on a Seedcamp, and Rendered Text was a winning company in the first ever Balkan Venture Forum. In hindsight, on both occasions we were seeking help in building something that was beyond what we could accomplish. Fortunately for us, the second time we were actually wrong and needed just a little more patience for Semaphore to bring more fruit. Right now six of us are working on it, and I couldn’t be happier about the sweet design, engineering and business challenges that we are dealing with every day to produce something that thousands of people across the world love to use every day.

The only thing Rendered Text has though, are its’ people. By far our biggest accomplishment has been creating and maintaining a stress-free place where communication is open, people collaborate all the time and knowledge is always seeked and shared.

Here’s to another five years.