Introducing Our Company Yearbook

Every year we like to look back and think about all the cool things we did at Automated Insights: big projects we worked on; interesting companies we worked with; memorable events we attended; and crazy stuff the CEO did. Back in 2013, I wanted to memorialize the year in some way because I would surely forget later — insert time flies cliche. That made me think about creating a yearbook for the company. You remember yearbooks from your grade school years, right? Why stop the tradition just because you go to work? For the last three years, we’ve created a company yearbook and have given a copy to every employee at our annual holiday party. It’s been a big hit.

The raw material for the yearbook is a set of questions I ask the employees the first of December. Each employee has their own page with a blurb about what was most memorable from the previous 12 months along with one or more pictures — the funnier or more embarrassing the better. I hand pick the photos we use. This requires a commitment to take pictures throughout the year, but we do that anyway. At every event or party, we are taking pictures. For particularly compromising photos I may even threaten: “that’s going in the yearbook.”

I also ask everyone a few questions. These change each year, but here are a few questions from the 2015 yearbook:

  • What person best represents our values?
  • What was the most memorable project/activity/event/person?
  • Who has the best bro-mance or wo-mance?
  • Who regularly goes above and beyond?
  • Who do you most want to sit beside?

We include a page with the top three answers for each question. This provides a simple way to recognize some of our best employees. We also have a page of everyone’s funniest moment. We love to have a good time, so there are usually lots of funny moments to pick from.

The yearbook helps remind us of all the good times we had in the past year and get excited about how we can top it next year. It’s fun to look back on previous yearbooks and read what was interesting/fun/important to our employees and how that changes as we grow. We also make the yearbooks available to new candidates we interview so they can get a taste of what previous years at Ai were like.

As the company gets bigger, the yearbooks do cost more to make. More employees means more pages and more yearbooks to buy. But it’s money well spent. Besides the employee satisfaction, yearbooks provide a secondary benefit of recording our culture over time. It serves as a memory device for our culture.

Here are some pages from our 2015 yearbook:

A modified version of this article was originally published at on January 4, 2016.