I never quite understood the value of company culture until I started my internship with MAZ. Where else will you find Gordo, arguably the cutest dog in the world, amongst a handful of unique employees who all share a passion for innovation and creativity?
On my first day, Sho, VP of Business Development, caught me snacking on gummy bears. Instead of scolding me, Sho introduced himself and told me not to worry — we are a gummy bear friendly office. He then proceeded to talk with me for one hour on how to align my professional interests with MAZ’s goals. It is this type of open dialogue between employees that has pushed constant innovation in MAZ technology.
Over the duration of my internship, I observed as employees plopped down on the black couch and tossed around their ideas. What surprised me the most was how willing everyone was to stray from the traditional job function in order to develop a growing idea.
The black couches, candy, Gordo, Sho and Carolyn
Within my first few weeks, I was given the opportunity to sit in a brainstorming session with Paul and Simon — the two founders of MAZ. Simon flew in all the way from Hawaii for this serious meeting to discuss future product developement. At my first brainstorm, not only was I able to contribute, but also my suggestions were taken into consideration. How often does a 19 year old get the chance to provide input on the next big iPhone app?
Looking back at my internship, I believe MAZ’s key to success is their growth strategy. Cultivating the perfect environment is crucial to a startup’s growth, and the company has done so by focusing on individual employees. As a MAZ employee, going to work is exciting, and checking emails becomes entertaining because you will never know what will trigger the next GIF-off. This family-type culture has created an environment that encourages innovation, and with the magical speed of the development team in India, ideas really do become implemented into end products.
MAZ has experienced tremendous growth as a company, but what sticks out to me is how MAZ employees help one another grow. After all, employees are the ones who make the company run. I felt that Paul and the others had a vested interest in my professional development.
Maya and the entire MAZ team celebrating the end of 2014
After entering the MAZ family, I was able to go to investor meetings with Paul, learn marketing strategy with Carolyn, and picked up on very interested facts from Mark, who’s brain is like an encyclopedia of sorts. Along the way I have gained unique business skills, consumed way too many gummy bears, and have learned that MAZ will continue to do aMAZing things.
Maya Bakhai is a sophomore at NYU Stern Business School. She is currently on semester abroad in Prague and has a real knack for Pictionary, charades, and Heads Up. Follow her on Twitter @MayaBakhai