What’s the secret to keeping your culture intact as your startup matures? Really, it all boils down to your ability to talk about the culture while accurately representing it. I’ve been having a lot of parallel discussions with entrepreneurs about startup culture and decided a Meetup group would be a great opportunity to bring the culture conversation to a much wider audience. So, earlier this week a group of about 30 culture enthusiasts convened at swissnex Boston, the Consulate of Switzerland. Our gracious host helped make the world’s very first Startup Culture Meetup possible as we embarked on an evening discussion on Sustaining An Amazing Startup Culture!
The speakers on the panel were Paolo Gaudiano, President & CTO of Icosystems, Melissa Ablett, General Manager ofBostinno, and Jen Reddy, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing at Communispace. We discussed the challenges with getting everyone on the same page when it comes to explaining and demonstrating the culture. Jen Reddy mentioned that Communispace was quite small when she started (she was the 86th hire) and there are now over 400 employees and . As the company grew, they adopted procedures that helped to provide a sense of consistency and security that were appropriate for handling situations and preventing potential disasters. Despite the procedures, the sense of culture at Communispace has evolved to accomodate the headcount because Diane Hessan, President & CEO of Communispace, has driven the culture and so it has remained in the forefront. We also talked about the importance of first understanding the culture internally in order to attract the right candidates. When Melissa Ablett first interviewed at BostInno she found herself motivated and excited to work with a team that lived by the ‘work hard, play hard’ motto. Although clichéd, it was a principle she could relate to and something everyone at BostInno upholds. Paolo Gaudiano of Icosystems noted how the culture at Icosystems developed over the years not because of physical growth but the nature of the work became more serious. That influenced the culture and he often thinks about how to best balance the serious side of the work with the fun and creative environment. What unfolded was not a lecture on best practices but an honest discussion about meeting the needs of a workplace culture in the face of growth and maturity.
Employee expectations and the dear cost of culture were also covered, but this was just the tip of the iceberg for an ongoing discussion about culture in our startup ecosystem! Looking forward to seeing you at our next Greater Boston Startup Culture Meetup event on June 18, stay tuned for more details!