Currently, it’s set to “blur.” Sorry, that was a Zoom joke.
If we’re talking work background, I’m the co-founder and CEO of WorkPatterns, and before that, I was President and part of the founding team at AdRoll (which is now called NextRoll.) I was there for 10 years and helped build the company from 3 of us to around 700 employees with offices in SF, Dublin, London, Sydney, and Tokyo.
WorkPatterns provides tools for managers to organize, motivate, and engage their teams. In short, we want to help every manager be their team’s favorite manager.
We do this by providing software that guides 1:1s, team meetings, bi-directional feedback, recognition, and goal setting, all in a user-friendly package that people actually enjoy using.
I saw firsthand at AdRoll that a great company is all about the people, and the effect that great managers can have on the health of an organization is massive. Yet, we didn’t have anything that guided what managers should be doing on a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. We cobbled together various docs and tried a few “HR tools,” but those all tended to fall flat.
The founding idea behind WorkPatterns was to make frontline managers the focus and build them a toolkit that they’d actually choose (and buy) themselves to become better leaders. We’ve found that this focus on the end-user gives us a leg up vs. legacy “performance management” companies that have built up overly bureaucratic and hard to use products that are out of touch from how and where real work gets done.
We’re low ego, we’re resilient, and we’ve kept pushing to improve our product bit by bit. It’s awesome to see how all the small things add up and compound over time, and suddenly you’re like, “wow, we’ve built something pretty awesome!”
I love to surf, kiteboard, and rock climb. So probably one of those things.
We measure success by whether teams adopt us as a core tool for guiding their work cadences. We use metrics like the number of contributions (i.e., discussion topics and action items created), the volume of the feedback given and received, and the number of kudos given.
It’s gotta be around that last point. One of the key actions we optimize for is our users giving each other “kudos” in the product since we know that leads to greater engagement. So the action we try to drive as a business is people giving each other compliments. How cool is that?
I’m excited about all the technologies focused on addressing climate change. Whether it’s data collection, mapping, or hard science around carbon capture, it feels like we’re hitting an inflection point in actually viable solutions that can chip away at the problem.
I’m most worried about AI. Not because of the sci-fi killer robot scenarios but because of people outsourcing more and more decisions to blackbox algorithms that could have unintended, unjust, and undesirable consequences.
Long-time reader, first-time writer!
Power through that C++ class.
Like a few folks out there, I built out a camper van this year. As a software person, it was incredibly fun and rewarding to learn about building physical stuff. Highly recommend!