The Meaning of Work

Sara Barnes
May 30, 2022

What if you could get out of bed every day, brew your coffee and head to the office knowing the work you’ll undertake is actually doing tangible good and making a difference? Would it make you work harder? Would it make you more fulfilled?

This isn’t something we want our teams to hope for – we want them to live it every day they step into the office or log on at home. And achieving it is made all the easier when you have long term partnerships with great companies who are themselves striving (and accomplishing) to make the world a better place. It has always been a commitment of EndGame’s to work with founders whose product or idea will have a positive impact (on people, the planet or our community) and it’s a key consideration when deciding who we will partner with.

Enter Project Crimson and their product Trees that Count (TTC) – a New Zealand conservation charity with an online community and platform that matches funded and gifted trees to planting groups around the country looking for support. In fact, they’ve just reached a significant milestone of funding 1 million native trees, to be planted in every corner of Aotearoa. And they won’t stop there.

EndGame has partnered with TTC since the beginning of 2020, building scalable technology to help them make it easier for people to fund a tree, and be more efficient with their resources to allow them to get more native trees in the ground.

But this important work is so much more than just planting trees. Of course, what they do every day is the very definition of good – from the obvious reduction in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to creating jobs planting and in nurseries, increasing recreation and outdoor activity spaces and supporting the rejuvenation of precious land. However, they also allow our team to put their very best technical skills into a project that has an incredibly positive outcome, and sometimes a personal connection.

Warren Wang has worked at EndGame as a developer for a little over three years and opening his laptop every day to make improvements to the Trees That Count platform fills him with joy. Warren is passionate about finding a synergy between his personal values and that of the products he builds, and as an avid gardener himself, Trees That Count hits the nail on the head.

Why do you like working on Trees That Count?

“There are two main reasons: What they are aiming to do is really good, everybody knows it - helping grow more trees and offset carbon dioxide to reduce climate change effects. And because they are native trees, it also improves our biodiversity – which means that more animals have better habitats, and we have a more balanced ecosystem. Also, it’s a complex product with so many different technologies – so it’s really interesting and informative to work on. There are new things to learn – it keeps my brain refreshed and busy.”

What do think is the most important thing Trees That Count is achieving with the work they do?

“It is a network connecting people who care about the environment and our ecosystem together. Individually we might not be able to do as much, but together we can make a huge impact.”

What is your favourite thing you’ve worked on for Trees That Count?

“To be honest it’s really hard to choose one, so I selected my top three.

The first piece of work we did for them – Native Trees Carbon Calculator. It’s really interesting to see how much carbon dioxide a flight from Auckland to Wellington would create – and the calculator then suggests how many trees you should donate to offset according to those activities.

The second is the Meet the Trees – because it’s a page about our native tree species. From a design and art aspect, the illustrations are so beautiful. Also, it’s really meaningful to learn how useful those native plants are and what kind of role they play in Māori history.

And the third piece is the new dashboard we did last year - we had brand new designs and it’s more user friendly. We also used React to build the new dashboard, which helps us to improve our code reusability, which makes us more productive.”

We hear you’re a bit of an expert gardener and plant lover? How did you get into that?

“Yes I collect and grow plants myself and I just feel attracted to nature and the environment. My grandpa used to collect orchids, and I remember when I was about six, I got some sunflower seeds from him and tried to grow them. That was my first memory of plants.
I remember I felt really passionate when online shopping started and we could buy seeds and bulbs online. It’s so fascinating to be able to grow plants you’ve never seen before – I feel so fulfilled when seeing how they change every day.”

What do you love the most about your gardening / plant care?

“The joy of watching plants grow is really satisfying. There is always something to look forward to - there is hope. It's also really fun to learn about different plant species, to see what they need – it’s fascinating to see how diverse and adaptive they can be.”

How does working on products like Trees That Count make you enjoy your daily work more?

“It’s not just technology and software – there are other things for me to learn about our environment and ecosystem. And you are not just writing code, it’s also doing something good for our environment which makes me feel like I’m doing something good.”

Having products like Trees That Count for our teams to work on helps to enable a positive culture to flourish, ultimately resulting in happier people that leave at the end of each day knowing they made a difference - whether that’s working on a product that is doing good, asking a founder the hard questions or working with their team to achieve great things. To us, that is the real meaning of work.

Want to know how you can donate to Trees That Count? Visit their website and help them get planting!

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