Why work at Must Win?

How Must Win provides an unparalleled work experience for its employees

“Why would I want to work at a consultancy?” a candidate once asked me.

I smiled and calmly explained, “You don't want to work at most consultancies, but I can tell you why you want to work at Must Win.” And then I expounded on the following.

Enter, the “Player’s Manager”

Must Win is a company started by in-the-trenches start-up designers and developers, not a couple of MBAs. We worked for startups that had great cultures, we worked for some that were more dysfunctional. We were part of Yammer from before it was a 100 person company until after it sold to Microsoft (technically I left a couple months before the acquisition, Mike stayed for a few months thereafter.) Because of this, we understand some of the pain points that exist, even in great startups.

Mike Matheny, former catcher and now Manager of the St. Louis Cardinals. Former players are managing the majority of teams in Baseball, today. They called them “Player’s Managers” when this was more rare because they would focus on the work experience of their team, from their perspective as a former player, to get the best from their team.

When we found ourselves on the other side of the table, we sought to create the kind of place we had always wanted to work. In doing so, I think we created a truly unique and rewarding environment for our team.

A Better Work Experience

Startup life can be a grind. High pressure, long hours, and ever-changing demands all take their toll on designers and engineers. Burnout is a very real and common problem. Some companies squeeze their employees until they burnout and either quit or get fired once they become unproductive.

As people who have lived the life of a startup engineer we know where you're coming from. So, what if you could set your own hours, determine where you wanted to work, and attain some sense of work life balance while also making great money? What if you could have all the fun of working on early stage development projects, were encouraged to take risks and experiment, had a team of collegial and collaborative colleagues, while working a manageable 8–10 hours a day rather than the 10–14 hour startup schedule?

Life on the Bleeding Edge

One thing that is truly frustrating about working for years on a single codebase is that you rarely ever change or update the technology stack once it and your team reach a certain size. If you're working on a codebase for 3 or 4 years, eventually you have no room to experiment or implement new technology at work.

So, what do you do? You make a side project that you work on at night and on the weekends (in addition to your crazy schedule) or you risk becoming less relevant when you finally go looking for that next job.

Next thing you know, you're living in a *van* down by the river!

Working at a consultancy can be pretty awesome in this regard. A large portion of our work is green field development. Meaning we're picking the technology stack, or at least consulting with our clients as they pick it. While we're not going to try something out that’s unstable (feel free to do that at our twice yearly hack week — more to follow) we're definitely open to trying new things where there’s an upside to the client. As such, we're constantly shifting solutions on and off our list. Maintaining a stable yet current stack of “favorites.”

In terms of skill advancement, a consultancy is clearly where it’s at. The volume of projects with varying environments and configurations you touch in a given year also provides you something else a single product does not. Reps. Which would build more muscle: one rep at maximum weight and duration or a dozens of reps at an ever shifting, yet challenging, level and pace?

When do you plan to live your life?

Remote work isn't for everyone, but for those who crave independence, adventure, or travel (and are disciplined enough to be a self starter) the upsides are obvious. You could do what I did earlier this year and spend every month in a different city. You could do what one member of our team did and spend your summer in Spain. It’s all up to you.

Do you love to travel? Why wait until it’s too late? The world is yours! Want to ski? These are the best years of your life, chase that powder while your knees are young! Want to hide away on a tropical island? Aloha, pack your bags! Want to be home for your kids every day? Please, by all means, they're lucky to have you!

I hear Belize has wi-fi…

Vacation, sabbaticals, bonuses & more

Must Win provides great salaries and benefits. We're also completely transparent about the salary and bonus for each employee level. After this they receive raises equal to their metrics-driven bonuses each year. This ensures everyone gets paid the same for the same job, while also making it obvious what the rewards are for performing well and what they could be when climbing the ladder as you grow. Full time employees receive:

  • 100% of their health care premiums paid for (and 80% on up to three dependents — spouse, domestic partner, and/or children.)
  • 20–26 days of vacation time a year (starting at 20 and growing by 2/year) which vest on day one of their employment.
  • large cash bonuses ($10–16k or more) for achieving clearly-defined and easily measured results. Their salary for the next year then becomes their previous base + annual bonus the year previous.
  • a paid one month sabbatical if they reach their bonus for two of their first three years. That means in year four you could have 26 vacation days + an entire month off, PAID.
  • free airfare, ticket, and hotel to attend the domestic conference of their choice each year (as well as any they get invited to speak at.)

Winter and Summer “Hack Week” Trips

Video from our Summer Hack Week in the Dominican Republic this year!
The benefit so cool we had to give it its own section… This is where our entire team stayed in late July for our Summer Hack Week.

It can be difficult when working remote to keep your culture tight. To remedy this we take our entire staff on two one-week trips every year for what we call “Hack Week” which allows us to come together as a team and bond in a fun location. Last summer we went to Costa Rica. This summer we're going to be staying in a $25 Million mansion on the beach in the Dominican Republic. It’s truly outrageous and fun!

During that week we play and hack on self organized projects surrounding theme. This all eventually culminates with people presenting their hacks and the presentation of The Must Win Grand Champion’s Cup.

The Must Win Grand Champion’s Cup is our Stanley’s Cup. Engraved with the names of the winners and kept by them until next Hack Week.

Must Win is hiring, duh.

If you're interested in learning more about Must Win, our philosophy, and our available positions head on over to the Must Win Careers page. We're currently looking for candidates to fill one of several senior-level positions we have open.


Wil Everts is a founding partner of The Must Win All Star Web & Mobile Consultancy.

Wil is a product-savant who loves conceptualizing products and features, designing user experiences, and improving company culture. He has a cat named June, loves the St. Louis Cardinals, and was the First Blogger Transmitted into Space.