An Introduction to Our Culture at Revo
Starting a company is hard, but scaling it from 3 employees to 70 is even harder. Looking back, the reason we were able to grow our COMPANY to this size was because we invested in our PEOPLE.
By supporting a scalable company culture from Day One; an environment that nurtures employees and encourages personal growth.
I want to make something clear before you read any further: I’m driven to be the best.
If Revo was an airline, I’d want us to be the next Emirates.
If Revo was in the e-commerce business, I’d want us to be the next Zappos or Amazon.
And if we were in the phone or computer business, I’d want us to be the next Apple.
Now that I’ve set the bar, here’s what I’m going to cover in this post:
- Learning from the best — my influences
- Our approach to hiring the best employees
- The key cultural values that drive Revo
- What it’s like to work at Revo
- The future of Revo
Learning from the best
Before starting Revo Tech, I read the book “Delivering Happiness” by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. His emphasis on building a strong company culture immediately resonated with me. I decided that if I ever did follow through and start my own company, I would model it after Hsieh’s culture-first philosophy. I wanted to create the kind of company where I’d be excited to show up to work every day if the roles were reversed and I was an employee.
Our culture is also tied to my management style, which is similar to Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs; I’ll often set unrealistic expectations for my employees even though there’s a chance we’ll fail.
Because I believe this type of environment increases the likelihood of success. Let’s take a look inside Amazon. They have a reputation for employing some of the most hard-working employees in tech:
“They do pride themselves on being a tough culture,” she explains. “You know Bezos tells people ‘This is a culture of working incredibly hard.’ They use the phrase ‘unreasonably high’ to describe their standards and expectations.”
The hope for Bezos is that these high expectations yield success for the company.
Kantor says that in some ways it’s working.
I expect the best from my employees, but I try to lead by example. Hard work is demanding, yet I’ve found the enthusiasm that accompanies hard work infectious.
Our approach to hiring the best employees
The current hiring process at Revo Tech is like the early days at Google:
First, I’ll ask 3–4 employees to interview the candidate who would potentially join their team. After this first round of interviews, they’ll be asked to choose from one of the following 4 options:
- Must Hire
- Maybe / Inclined to hire
- Maybe Not / Incline not to hire
- Definitely No
All of the interviewers must select Must Hire in order to invite the candidate back for a second interview. For the 2nd round, I’ll use a hiring tip ACME outlined called the “Beer Test.”
It’s a simple, yet effective way to screen job applicants. All I do is ask myself whether or not I could see myself enjoying a beer with this prospective employee. It’s an important chemistry check because I want to feel like this is someone I’ll be able to work with on a daily basis.
Sometimes we interview highly experienced and qualified people, but decide not to hire them because they’re not a culture fit. We’ll pass on these short-term performance gains to fulfill our long-term vision.
My personal view: When I hire, I don’t care about their college degree or certificate. I also don’t care whether they are college drop out. I DO care about their experience and enthusiasm and willingness to learn.Someone who wants to grow with the company.
We don’t discriminate based on color, religion, beliefs, disability, or sexual orientation. We welcome everyone from around the world as long as they are good at what they do and fit the culture here at Revo Tech.
I’ve also been in the unfortunate situation of having to fire employees for lack of cultural fit. Here’s are the main reasons I’ll terminate employment:
Reason 1: Creating a toxic environment, like causing drama and engaging in office politics.
Reason 2: Bullying or demonstrating intolerance towards team members for religious beliefs or sexual orientation.
Reason 3: Poor customer service, like being rude or failing to resolve issues.
Reason 4: Underperformance. This is self-explanatory.
- We value people — We believe in a fun, casual work environment where we’re outspoken, but treat each other with respect. We also don’t believe in micromanagement, so we give our employees the freedom to make decisions on their own. We’ve found that the way to get people to do their best work is to give them responsibility and make them accountable.
- We value customer service — Companies like Zappos and Nordstrom are notorious for treating their customers well and I’m shocked that more companies aren’t taking this approach. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business — it’s as simple as that. That’s why we do everything possible to give our clients a positive, memorable experience that’ll keep them coming back again and again.
- We value innovation — Entrepreneurship, risk-taking and mistakes go hand in hand, so we encourage our employees to be bold and creative. I didn’t start Revo to be just another tech company. I started Revo to do something special and be the best. Employees who can generate ideas — and execute — are our greatest resource.
- We value resourcefulness — Even though we’re a venture-backed company, we try to do more with less. I haven’t forgotten the days when I had no job, no income, and uncertainty about the future. Our “lean startup” environment actually forces us to come up with better ideas.
- We value education — Education’s one of the keys to growth. It’s something I’ve always valued. The more you know, the more you’re able to apply on the job. And it’s an ongoing process. Even after my various businesses, failures, and successes, I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know everything, but if I don’t have the answer, I’ll do everything I can to find one.
What it’s like to work at Revo?
Agency life isn’t easy. If your dream is to work a 9–5 and run out the door at 5:01 — this is NOT the job for you.
In terms of salary and compensation, we offer some of the best packages in the industry…but our expectations are HIGH.
Everyone works hard and works late, but we’ve managed to create an atmosphere where we all feel like family. It’s actually pretty common for employees to hang out together after work instead of going straight home or cook up a little feast for everyone to enjoy.
There’s a certain energy and passion throughout the office that I wish you could feel. Everyday’s fun, but it’s a fast-paced, high pressure environment.
We believe in transparency, which is why we have an open office plan (even my personal office is made of clear glass to encourage openness).
I’ll be honest: I’m difficult to work with and hard to please. I set the bar high, especially when it comes to design and customer service, so in that sense I’m similar to Steve Jobs.
I know that he was disliked — even hated — by many people, but the main thing I admire about him was his ability to bend reality to his will and demand the very best from his employees. Jobs’ dedication to his craft epitomizes what I love about the entrepreneurial spirit: the ability to come up with a grand vision and see it through.
The future of Revo
I’m going to end this post with Apple’s WWMD 2013 Keynote video. I encourage you to take two minutes to watch it. Stunningly simple and effective, it’s a beautiful video that captures the desire many of us in the creative industry hold for being a part of something special and bigger than ourselves. It’s also a video that I share with every single new employee in the happy that some of this feeling will rub off on them.
Does that sound crazy? Maybe a little bit. But I’ve already built my original team of 3 into the top digital creative agency in Myanmar. I see this as proof that my only limit going forward is my imagination.
There are easier ways to make a living. But for those of us who believe in what we do, this is a calling — not a job, and something we are committed to pursue to the best of our abilities.
If you’re hard-working, creative, and passionate about what you do — email us to firstname.lastname@example.org today. We’re always on the lookout for top talent to join the Revo family.