How We Came to Drink Our Own Champagne...
We used to say we eat our own dog food. But we don't actually make dog food...
So... What Do We Make, You Ask? What Is It Like to Work Here Every Day?
Everything starts with our core values, of course. Our team is many people with many different personalities, but we're all drawn to being a part of something bigger and pursuing it in a certain way.
We all have an entrepreneurial bent. We're passionate. We're fine with working hard. We've purposed to "Do Stuff That Matters," because we are tired of being billable bodies, tired of company politics/agendas, tired of the Dilbert-reality we've lived in too many workplaces.
We're A Diverse Family and We Learn A Lot From Each Other.
Some of us are in our early 20s, others are in our upper 60s, the majority of us are in the middle. Most of us have families, so we're not really an every-Friday-evening-beer-bash kind of company. We do love a great team lunch, and have them as often as we can justify.
Our collective interests are all over the map. We're potters, rock musicians, artists, Franco-philes, long distance hikers, rock climbers, techno-hobbyists, chefs, scooter savants, banjo players, endurance athletes, and much more. Most of us love great food, and many of us cook - so potlucks are definitely an experience. We function like a family. Really. A big one, perhaps, with lots of different personalities and generations and perspectives on everything from politics to music to sports teams. But like a family, we’re all in this together. There are no stovepipes to wrestle with, no corporate politics to navigate. Even the occasional "sibling spat' is mild and momentary because we really do share the same core values and goals.
We're Not Big on Meetings.
But we do have an efficient series of focused rhythm meetings to help us stay aligned and clear out roadblocks.
Of course, we all live on our corporate Yakabox. We started that practice early on. The platform always had plenty of power "under the hood," but in the early days, we had to almost force usage. We're not big on executive decrees - but we issued one to post timecards and other key content on our corporate Yakabox. Back then, even for us, "knowledge management" and "collaboration" felt like just one more thing we had to force ourselves to do.
That's When We Know We Had to Find A Better Way to Harness the Power of Our Platform.
We wiped the slate clean to design a new user experience that became Yakabox 3.0. From our first internal alpha, we knew we were on to something really powerful. Within a few months our internal usage was skyrocketing, and it was transforming the way we did business.
"Do Stuff That Matters"
It was no longer just about purpose, it was very much a daily practice. Each of us could literally see all the activity that mattered in our daily work life, all in one place. And that's when the connections started happening. Someone would contribute something to the Yakabox, something no one would have thought to ask, something we had no idea (corporately) that we knew.
Like the time Derek - who is not normally involved in sales - saw an interesting meeting from our Sales Pipeline in his Activity Viewer. We were meeting his previous boss the next day. Which led to a much warmer introduction and more productive meeting than expected.
Or the time Scott was mid-interview with a candidate who was professing love for all things Mac - when Josh posted links in the Recruiting Pipeline showing the candidate's trail of hate blogs on Mac (and plenty of other things.)
Or the many times a developer made a simple status update - and got comments back solving the problem he or she was struggling with.
It’s not that any single sharing incident suddenly produced a breakthrough $10M deal. But hundreds of those little connections transformed our business. Our 5-hour agile planning meeting shrunk to 20 minutes. Our normally shy developers were suddenly blogging about core values. Disparate team members were spontaneously brainstorming ways to work together on improving key operational metrics. Everyone was showing up to meetings already knowing what was going on and knowing how they fit into the bigger picture. More than just collaborating, we were actually aligning and accelerating because of Yakabox.
Customers Started to Experience the Same Results We Did
Yakabox 3.0 was helping them build trust between organizations or between shifts, cutting through stovepipes, capturing knowledge that used to walk out the door every night. Customer successes led to more referrals, more demos, more discussions.
In one such meeting, we revealed that a key part of our testing cycle is to "eat our own dog food," to experience our own betas and enjoy (or suffer through) new features first. That's when one prospect proclaimed that he'd seen a lot of software in his day and much of it was in fact dog food! But to his tastes, Yakabox was surely champagne.
We're Still Using it Every Day
We’re well into Yakabox 5.0 and rapidly approaching 6.0 – but continue to find new ways to use it more. And that's how we came to drink our own champagne.
Meet the team:
- Scott Ryser - Founder and CEO / Board Member
- Scott Williamson - Founder and CTO / Board Member
- Michelle Hoffman - CFO
- Hal Ammann - President, Yakabod Federal Solutions
- Jonathan Pernell - Vice President, Yakabod Federal Solutions
- Andy Lewis - Vice President, Yakabod Ventures
Join the team:
We are currently accepting applications for several positions within the company. If you are looking to work with a company devoted to doing things that matter, you are in the right place.