Culture Archives - Page 2 of 4
Recruiting Talent for Your Company? Start Building Relationships

Recruiting Talent for Your Company? Start Building Relationships

My second job out of college, I was thrown into a management role and I was responsible for a mountain of work. Despite frequent recommendations that I hire contractors and people to help chip away at the work, I didn’t know where to begin. I attempted to do most of it myself, and I was drowning constantly. When Contactually started hitting traction, I took that scar tissue with me. At 60+ people, we are long past the point where my individual contributions can make an impact — I like to joke that we’ve hired engineers who are much smarter than me and won’t even let me code. It’s a widely accepted canon now that the most important thing for a CEO to do is to build the best team possible. The vast majority of that lies in hiring the best people. It varies, but present day 30-40% of my time is spent hiring. We implement every tactic possible. We let employees pick a charitable cause we’ll donate to every time we hire someone they recommend. We use recruiters, and are hiring our own. Our investors are almost exclusively tasked with helping us hire between board meetings. We eek out every bit of social capital for the right referral or introduction from those we know. I spend hours trolling the internet and reaching out to prospective candidates. We’re often lucky when, on the first encounter, the candidate is willing to move forward at that time. But for the rest, we maintain relationships. I’m going to tell you how, in twenty-four hours, we just hired THREE amazing new engineers (arguably the...
Getting the Pulse of Your Company

Getting the Pulse of Your Company

If your startup job title includes the term “Founder” or “VP,” you’ve almost surely experienced the menacing, sine-wave of your own personal psyche. On a daily basis, you’ll soar euphorically through excitement and opportunity, to sometimes having to peel yourself off the walls you run into; full of challenge and disappointment. I’ve trained myself to at least have awareness of this trend, so regardless of the current mood, I can still keep trucking. In general, attitudes are positive, the atmosphere is electric, and people literally run< to get things done. The new challenge that arose is that as our team has grown, that trend manifested itself in the whole company. Meaning there were days where everyone walked around, head hung low — we might as well have been some sad federal agency. I recall this being brought up periodically in excutive meetings — “Is it just me, or are people really happy and in a good mood?” or “Why is everyone acting so depressed?” We would spend time coming up with possible reasons and ideas but in hindsight, we were lacking one big thing. We didn’t have a solid pulse on the company. Yes, we had tons of metrics that showed how well we were doing from an external metrics perspective, but we were missing one of the key ones — how are our people doing? With that in mind, here is what we’ve found helpful. We’re an evolving and growing company, so some of these are relatively new and I’m sure all of them could be improved. Top Level: Quarterly Survey Ever since Q1 2014, we have sent a poll to all of...
Our Relationship with Roots of Development

Our Relationship with Roots of Development

Last year, we decided to establish an official partnership with a non-profit called Roots of Development (Roots). Their mission is to aid in economic development efforts without creating dependency. In fact, they do not even consider themselves a charity; rather they are a community investment organization. This resonated with our leadership team, because their values aligned with our company’s values. Furthermore, when we met Chad, we were blown away with his committment to building authentic relationships within communities. One of the ways that Roots differentiates itself is that all projects must be sustainable. In other words, if money is donated to a project, it is seen as an investment and must be sustained by those receiving the money. Because of that, relationships become increasingly important in order for the recipients of the money to sustain projects. This is what makes the partnership between Contactually and Roots of Development so perfect: turn relationships into results. Our partnership officially started last Feburary when a team of 4 from Contactually took a trip to Haiti with Chad to help The Villager’s Association for the Development and Advancement of Gran Sous/La Gonave (APDAG). We hosted workshops and taught people how to build and sustain authentic relationships. And, we worked with an entire village, which absolutely changed our life (and hopefully made a huge impact on theirs, too)! To see more from the trip, please click here. What Happened After The Trip? Overall the past few months, our team decided that we wanted to do even more. We asked ourselves, “what if we could raise money to directly fund projects?” So, we did. On October...
Special Announcement: Contactually Series A

Special Announcement: Contactually Series A

Contactually was founded in 2011 with a few initial beliefs. These have guided everything that we’ve done for the past four years. And today, I’m happy to come to you with some great news. In the spirit of transparency, one of our core values, I want to open with sharing them. The most successful businesses in the world will be built upon personal, authentic relationships with their clients and partners. Announcing the Contactually Series A What they teach you in school is just the start. Being good at your craft is table stakes in today’s world. The key to our future — the gatekeeper to success — is the people that we surround ourselves with. People do business with people they know, and therefore the world needs a platform – a system – a team – that helps them engage with and leverage their key relationships. Software should work for you, not require more work out of you.  It’s no secret that traditional business and enterprise software requires more work out of the end-user than actual value to them. When we’re home, we demand nothing but the best out of our software and our interfaces. If something is too hard, too slow, or too confusing, we will immediately move on. An end user is just a consumer at work. There’s huge untapped potential in the biggest software market CRM is soon to pass ERP as the biggest overall business software. Yet, when you walk into the average real estate brokerage, law firm, consulting agency, or small business — the average “CRM” is a spreadsheet. That’s because the top-down, enterprise-focused transactional...
3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers

3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers

I started listening to a new podcast called Hidden Brain by NPR. It discusses and breakdowns the hidden intricacies of the human mind. The one I listened to, that sparked this blog post, talked about motivations and how our brain feels when we are motivated. The interesting spin was that people generally don’t feel more motivated after winning or being rewarded, they feel much more motivated when they are so close to a goal that they can taste the victory. You can listen to it here. This isn’t to be confused with rewarding top performers for exceeding their goal, instead it’s entirely related to internal motivations and “almost winning.” Winning doesn’t necessarily create more motivation, but instead more drive is created when we get close to a win. So using this psychological theory, how can you motivate your top, middle, and bottom performers with “near victories?” 3 Ways to Motivate Top, Middle, and Bottom Performers on Your Team 1. Visualize the Win We can take a cue from the nonprofit playbook. One example that immediately comes to mind is why and how people donate. We should look at the meter with the amount donated. That’s where this “near victory” can be found. Consider these scenarios: If the meter was at 20%…would you donate now or would you wait? Or if the meter was already at 80%, would you feel the urgency to donate now? The first option probably feels a little daunting and you would probably wait to donate because in your mind your impact wouldn’t be significant, your donation would be no where near the goal. As opposed to...
Inside Contactually: Making “Thank You” a Habit

Inside Contactually: Making “Thank You” a Habit

Our first and foremost core value is focus on the user. That’s mainly of course manifested in the product we sell and the always-be-helpful mantra of our customer-facing teams. But we know that we needed this a bit more baked into the DNA of the company than what we produce. First Attempts We’ve iterated with a whole lot of things. We’ve shown up to a user’s office with balloons and a big fake check. We’ve mailed out hundreds of sunglasses and stickers. We’ve sent mariachi bands, cupcakes, and who knows what else to offices. From time to time someone would walk around recording a short video for someone. We had a “Surprise and Delight” team that met to figure out what to do, with the budget to do it. However, why didn’t that work? Well, it’s not like any of those efforts failed, but what we failed to do is to do it consistently. When you think about the habit cycle: We didn’t have a cue — these were all one-off actions. Even finding time for the committee to meet for an hour or two per month, that was a lot of work. Routine — The harder the routine, the greater the chance that this could fall apart. And do you know how much work it is to schedule a mariachi band to show up at someone’s office halfway across the country without them knowing?! The reward was pretty consistent — Well, for us. Since the habit cycle relies on the operator of the cycle to be the recipient of the reward, doing the act seemed to have a...