Keeping the Kool-Aid Fresh

Dec 8, 2016 · 3 min read

We’ve written before about how culture is the most important thing to us as a company. In our early Skimm days, one of our investors told us culture is set in the first 20 people. We are very good at following directions, so took that quite literally. Maybe too literally. For our first 20 employees, we were OBSESSED with making sure they understood what it meant to be a culture carrier, what made Skimm HQ feel like Skimm HQ, and what we envisioned our culture being.

So we sat down with a few people and created our company values.

And honestly figured that was all we had to do.

We have fun company traditions, we had our values. Culture = set. Good job us.

And then we grew to more than 35 employees. One of the things that keeps us up at night is how we can scale our culture and keep our team aligned. So in the last 6 months we have created something called “Skimm’cademy.”

The goal?

-Every single employee should know the mission and the vision we are working backwards from.

-Every single employee should know what our company stands for and who theSkimm Girl is.

-Every single person should know what each person actually does at the company. It’s not enough to say ‘sales’ or ‘engineer,’ but actually what they do and how it affects you.

-Every single person should feel like they know one another. It’s not just ‘can you name your coworker and where they went to school’… but actually know them. What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? What are they hoping to get out of their time at theSkimm? What motivates them?

In subsequent posts we will outline what Skimm’cademy entails but first please meet Skimm HQ’s values:

  1. WE STRIVE TO BE COMMUNITY BASED: We put Skimm’r experience first. We let consumers guide product, but not dictate it. We are focused in mission — we make it easier to be smarter.
  2. WE BELIEVE IN TRANSPARENCY: We can be transparent because we trust each other. All Skimm’rs have a voice at the table. And if you’re in the office, you’re louder.
  3. WE BELIEVE IN FOCUS: We say NO a lot. Know your strengths and weaknesses in achieving your mission and maintaining focus. Everything we do needs to have a value-add. We talk to anyone who can help us stay on our course, but know when to tune-out those who may take us off course.
  4. …BUT WE ARE NOT AFRAID TO FAIL: We know when to say no, but don’t be afraid to say YES. We are not afraid to try and fail (as long as it’s not illegal, immoral, cost the company $$, or put us on a gossip page). Get outside your comfort zone.
  5. WE GET SHIT DONE & BELIEVE IN NO BULLSHIT: We tell it like it is to our Skimm’rs and each other. We get to the point — if you have to explain it, it’s not a good idea. We don’t complain. We keep things in perspective. We work smart, and have fun.
  6. WE BELIEVE IN THE COMPANY KOOL-AID: And we know we’re drinking it. Drink up. It’s fun to be drunk on Kool-Aid. We are the culture carriers.
  7. WE ARE CONFIDENT & HUMBLE: Nobody is too senior to do something. Nobody is too junior to do something. We don’t believe our own press.
  8. WE TRUST EACH OTHER: Skimm HQ is a safe space. You don’t work by yourself — the team is collaborative in the office. We share successes and failures. We are reflective.
  9. WE WEAR SHOWER SHOES AT THE GYM: Because we are not gross.

Stay tuned for more on Skimm’cademy…

New Entrepreneur Lesson of the Day: You can’t grow a business if you don’t have a team. And you can’t have a productive team if they don’t understand what they are working towards, and what the team’s values are.


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theSkimm makes it easier to live a smarter life.