Our featured guest this week is Tom O’Neil, cofounder of Parallax. Tom shares how and why Parallax came into existence. Josh also asks Tom how the transition was going from a large dev shop to smaller startup. Tom and Erick discuss how to build and maintain the unique company culture based around software engineering. They also chat about keeping connected while teams are working remotely.
Learn more about Parallax here: https://www.getparallax.com/
J: I really liked a lot of Tom’s interview. What were some of the interesting takeaways from Tom’s answers to your questions?
E: There were a few big nuggets of information that I really liked after talking to Tom. One of the first things he said was, organizations succeed when people are put in the right places to succeed. This is so important to us as a small, but growing team. His followup point to that is it’s not unique that culture is critical to an organization’s success.
J: I think I keep going back to the host of CNBC’s The Profit that it all goes back to people, process, and product. Dialing in your process allows for us to find the right people to tackle those needs and ultimately grow in the right direction.
E: Another thing I agreed with Tom on was that perks aren’t culture. They can be a part of your culture formula, but it isn’t everything. This led to the biggest interesting takeaways from me. Software engineers have craftsmanship culture, and build culture around that. I need to plan my team events thinking our team is a bunch of blacksmiths basically. We don’t need a ton social team cheerleading things I would see at sales and marketing conventions. What are your thoughts on the craftsman comparison?
J: I like the two value statements that he threw out. Missionary not mercenary and craftsmanship culture. Those both really click with me. To me that means that we need to bring on projects for the team that really have an impact that everyone on the team can see and not just work.
E: Thanks for hijacking my next thought. I really really liked the idea of hiring missionaries vs mercenaries too. When building a team, it is so important to find people that align with your mission, rather than ones you can pay to do great work. It’s easier to find people who want to evolve what they are doing into more, grow with your company, and even handle hardship, if we’re all on board with working towards a mission. Might be time to get more serious about reworking our mission. Any final thoughts from you?
J: Yeah the journey we’ve been on for the last year or two we have created a good set of values, we can always lean back into more. I think the opportunity for us is to be respectful that those values helped us get to where we are at, but we have a good opportunity to reframe those to take us to the next level of a company.
E: Thank you for listening, we’re hoping you know of a startup that could use our advice and random thoughts. Send them over to codelation.com to hear the next podcast.