In the land of startups and best places to work, there's a temptation in journalism to cover the more prurient items: the parties, the trips, the wacky office perks, furniture, or policies.?
Executives for these companies, if pressed to justify the quirks, will say that it is all worth it: that the food and caffeine keeps employees close to work; that the slides and such foster creativity; that the policies are important to the culture.?
But I think the truth is that the important characteristics are the more boring, but valuable, characteristics of work place. Valuing your team.? Investing in their careers.? Your team can tell when it comes from the heart, not just the head.? So the truth that matters to me looks like this at BP3:
- 100% : "I'm proud to tell others I work here."
- 100% : "People care about each other here."
- 100% : "Management is honest and ethical in its business practices."
- 100% : "When I look at what we accomplish, I feel a sense of pride."
- 100% : "People here are given a lot of responsibility."
I take a lot of pride in our team for building the kind of company that we're all (literally) proud to be a part of.? I hope we run the kind of company that makes our customers proud to be our customers. What we know for sure is that when you have a great place to work, and your team takes pride in their work - it is likely because they're doing great work for your customers as well.?
While I was at the conference last week, one of the other attendees asked me if we had always intended to be a company with a great culture.? My non-politically-correct response was that we didn't start out thinking in those terms.? I know many startups, from the very beginning, have world-conquering goals.? But for us, our goals at the beginning were modest: to build a business we'd be proud to run and be a part of.? When you're a bootstrapped business like BP3, at first, you hire great people, but you don't have the resources to do everything you want to do to build on it. Maybe that's why we value the benefits even more, because we know we're earning them in the business, not through fundraising.
The Gala Event for Great Place to Work's conference took place at the Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle, which is a pretty amazing venue in and of itself.? Here are a few pictures we took while we were there:
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It was no surprise to us to see fellow Austinites from Square Root and Cirrus Logic in attendance (not to mention Atlassian, which has a significant Austin location). This is a group of companies gathered in one place that really care about their team, their culture, and their success.? This is a group of companies we could all learn a lot from, but if you ask me, the key is to look past the perks and into the more substantive character behind the public facade.
This is a good time to say thanks to Lance and Flournoy, who joined me at the event.? Lance has been our compass on business decisions aligning with culture for a long time.? Flournoy has always been a champion of all the things that make BP3, well, BP3.? Each of us faced doubters as BP3 got started, which only makes it that much sweeter to have this kind of recognition for building the kind of company any reasonable person might want to work for!