Kudos to the Black ops team of @vedarth @bhargavvoleti @gauravkumar @anantpal for the performance improvements we have made in the last few weeks. Customers have noticed it and are impressed by pace of implementation. Excited to know this is just the beginning and there's a lot more improvements coming up.
As a team, we are addicted to Slack. Slack has helped us immensely to unite the team and feel like we were working towards the same goal, although we were in multiple geographies and timezones.
However, over time, we had twice as many Slack channels as people in the company. And it would become very hard for us to keep track of what's going on. With a lot of help from the team, we managed to cut the number of Slack channels from 100+ to 52.
We also managed to set up a naming convention for channels so it was easier for others to follow conversations. Have we streamlined our communication? Only time will tell, but it seems to be a good start.
We are now in the final quarter of the year. The season of Dussehra and Diwali. Thanksgiving and Christmas! I feel almost child-like excitement as we step into Q4, 2016. Not just because of the festive season, but also because of the strong finish that we are poised towards as a company -
We have Happiness and Success taking baby steps towards their phenomenal goal of ensuring the Best Customer Experience in the SaaS industry. Ably supported, of course, by Blackops and Delight. The Delight team is revving up its engines and is all set to keep releasing key enhancements several times a week!
The rest of the product team is about a launch a slew of features and improvements. The Actions feature is drawing to a close and shall be released to all customers soon. The first version of the re-design project shall see our app having a lot better visual appeal. The growth team is unraveling the needs of our PRO customers so the app can better support them. All this while continuously making our app perform faster and snappier than ever before!
Not to forget, of course, the Sales and Marketing teams, who are ever closer to getting our Growth Engine up and running. It is a matter of time before they reach escape velocity and we get to plan our trip to Spain (or was it Thailand?).
The India team shall be moving to a much larger and better equipped office. The product marketing team is working towards building a new website.
Phew! Who wouldn't be excited in a season like this? Just as a long-distance runner garners the extra ounce of energy heading into the final mile, let's use the festive spirit and help each other finish strong and make this a memorable 2016 for Recruiterbox.
What a finish it promises to be! I, for one, am EXCITED.
P.S: I haven't forgotten you, Dino. We all love you.
Kudos to @sriharsha and Thambi @vigneshr for waking up at 2.30 AM early Saturday and resolving the issue with the bad server. Bigger kudos to Devops and @uttamkini for setting up a health check for our servers over the weekend and ensuring an issue like this one doesn't become a blocker for our customers again!
We throw around these words a lot, but...
“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge…is Empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.” -- Bill Bullard
So the next time you ask someone for their 'opinion', don't feel bad if you don't like it.
Also, we use the word 'empathy' very loosely. In my mind, it is extremely difficult to be empathetic. At the simplest form, empathy is awareness of the emotions of other people. In order to do that, we need to let go of our egos, our constant need to win an argument or prove a point, our own emotions...
Empathy can be practised and cultivated though. I wonder what we can do, as a team, to cultivate more empathy. Let me know if you have any ideas.
Every company rests on three pillars or stakeholders - Employees, Customers and Business Stakeholders (or Shareholders). Traditional companies usually optimize on the business-side. They call it 'maximizing shareholder value'. Several business-schools still (unfortunately) teach their students to think this way.
While each company in the world has their own culture and way of doing things, I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of a company where the leadership team considers each of the three pillars to be equally important. Because the idea is to be proud of what we build. And we wouldn't be proud of what we've built if the company did extremely well on just two of the three factors, would we?
The idea is to be proud of what we build.
They say (and I agree) that you don't get better at something you don't measure. So, how do we go about measuring the strength of each of our pillars?
++Business++: This is the easy part. There are several financial indicators of a healthy business. At the moment, we are focusing on just one of those indicators: MRR. That's as good an indicator as we need for the moment. We track this each month and we are focused on getting our MRR growing faster (and more predictably) than ever before!
++Customers++: As most of you are aware, we had conducted an NPS survey in the month of June. We happened to get a decent score. We're planning to conduct the survey every quarter. Why? Because the result of one survey might not answer the question of whether our customers are happy (it would only be an indicator). However, if we perform this survey every quarter, the trend of our scores would be a strong indicator of whether we are doing a good job of keeping our customers happy. We are an extremely customer focused company, and would love to continue to be so.
++Employees++: Again, as most of you are aware, we have several measures in place to ensure each of us is happy working here. Openness and transparency in what we do, regular retros and feedback sessions to keep improving as individuals and teams, respect for each others' work, good bunch of benefits, just to name a few. However, until now, we didn't have a regular metric to ensure we continue to get better and make Recruiterbox a happier workplace than ever before. To this effect, we shall be rolling out the Employee NPS shortly. Again, while we shall share our score and feedback received, this one score alone isn't a measure of whether our team members are happy. We need to keep conducting this survey and observe a positive trend in our scores. That's the plan.
Onward then, to building something we can be PROUD of.
Next post: How can each of us help in building a company we can be proud of?
Let's do a simple role-play.
Think of yourself as a company. You are also the CEO of this company. You provide services to customers and expect them to pay in return. Your employer is a customer of yours, and this customer is paying you (salary) for the services you provide.
Now, for the first question. Would you (as CEO) be happy with the service your company provides to your customer? Turns out your employer is a pretty important customer to you, so do take a minute and think about all the services you have provided thus far. Would you be proud of your company's work?
Secondly, does your customer love the work your company does? If you had to perform an NPS survey and your customer were to respond, would they turn out to be a Promoter, a Detractor, or (god-forbid) indifferent?
If the customer's needs are different from the skills/interests of your company, what should you do? Change your skills, or change your customers? Are you in the game for the money? But that's not the most expensive resource you own.
Food for thought. Happy Friday!
I'm sure we all agree that MONEY is an important resource. We work hard to earn it and find ways of growing it. It is absolutely essential for social well-being and given the ease of measuring it, it is bound to continue to be one of the important resources we own.
We have also heard people say that TIME is money but in fact, time happens to be a more expensive resource than money. Our lifetimes are, unfortunately, limited and there is so much to do, learn and experience in that limited time. If we don't have the time to do what is truly important to us, we should consider spending our money to increase our available time.
The most expensive resource that we own is our MINDSPACE. Even a world of time would amount to nothing if we don't have clarity of thought. We need our mindspace to be guarded like the most precious treasure to be spent only on the things that we absolutely value and not clutter it with some nonsense. Spending time to increase mindspace and reduce clutter is a worthwhile exercise.
So, what are you thinking about now?
If you have been driving in Bangalore for any reasonable amount of time, you surely would have noticed autos and cabs overtaking you from the wrong lane and trying to cut in when a vehicle approaches in the other direction.
This behaviour used to piss me off to no end. So much that I wouldn't let the cab/auto driver cut in if there was any way for me to prevent it. Just to teach those buggers "a lesson". Needless to say, I don't think it was a lesson well taught.
Over time, I realized that these cab and taxi drivers are just optimizing for a short-term win and are missing the bigger picture. These drivers simply fail to realize that by traveling on the wrong side, they are actually slowing down the entire traffic on one side. Sure, they might reach their destination FIRST among the rest of the vehicles. But by slowing down the entire lane, EVERYONE is late and no one wins.
That's when I also realized they are not so different from many of us. Quite often, we too get so focused on one goal and are laser focused on running to the finish line as fast as possible. We don't realize we could be better off letting someone else cut in front of us. It's okay not to be first since there is no point being first, yet late. It might mean we are sometimes taking a step back (in the short term), if everyone wins in the long term.
So, how often do we let someone else cut in and go ahead of us?
I read this anecdote a while ago about a couple of ladies enjoying their meal at a restaurant. They were happily catching up until the peace was broken by a flying cockroach. As soon as the insect seemed to make its way towards their table, they started panicking and shrieking. Chaos ensued, until the head waitress calmly stepped in, caught the cockroach and threw it outside.
The situation was not different for the people involved. The only difference was in how people responded to the situation. Very often, we see ourselves talking about and even worrying about a stressful situation. The truth is -
There are no stressful situations. There are situations, and then there is our ability to cope with them.
The next time we see ourselves caught in what seems like a "stressful situation", let's take a minute to ponder.