Soundtrack to My Daxko Travel Life

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As a software trainer for Daxko, I travel a lot…and I mean a LOT. Before I started in this role, I’d been to eight states, and I’ve now been to 30. With a lot of travel comes the need for entertainment…how else can you face a long flight or drive from the airport?

Ever since I was young, my main source of entertainment has been music. I’m not easily pigeonholed into liking a certain genre – anyone who knows me can speak to the fact that I listen to almost everything. I’d like to share ten “must listens” that I always have on my travel playlists. These songs are some of my favorite in the world, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Artist: Josh Ritter

Song: Cumberland

Favorite Lyrics:

“So before you start talkin’ ’bout the wonders of the world again

The Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, the places that I never been

Take a little drive, take a little trip to Heaven and

Wonder for a while if it’s Paradise or Cumberland”

Josh Ritter is one of my all-time favorite artists, especially when it comes to live performances. He’s a total ball of joy when he’s on stage. This song reminds me of a Graceland era Paul Simon, and always makes me sing along.

 

Artist: Billy Joel

Song: We Didn’t Start the Fire

Favorite Lyrics:

“Hemingway, Eichmann, Stranger in a Strange Land

Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion”

This song is a total classic, and always reminds me of the “Ryan started the fire” episode of The Office. I learned all the lyrics to this song a few years ago, and can’t help myself from singing when it comes on. I chose my favorite lyrics because of the way Joel makes “dylANberLINbayofpigsinvasION” one big word. I sing it the exact way he does, and it makes me laugh every time.

 

Artist: The Beatles

Song: I Want to Hold Your Hand

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yeah, you got that somethin’

I think you’ll understand

When I say that somethin’

I want to hold your hand”

Come to our office and stop by my desk, or the favorites wall, and it will be pretty evident that The Beatles are my favorite band of all time (and you can reference this culture blog post for proof). This is one of those essential Beatles songs that I can’t help but love.

 

Artist: The Avett Brothers

Song: Ain’t No Man

Favorite Lyrics:

“There ain’t nobody here

Who can cause me pain or raise my fear ’cause I got only love to share

If you’re looking for truth I’m proof you’ll find it there”

The Avett Brothers are a long -time favorite band that I’ve seen perform more than once. The music video to this song is set in an airport/plane, which is pretty representative of my professional life, so you’ll often catch me listening to this as I’m speedily walking towards my gate.

 

Artist: Tears For Fears

Song: Everybody Wants To Rule The World

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t stand this indecision

Married with a lack of vision

Everybody wants to rule the world”

I’m the daughter of a woman who grew up in the 80s and loves all 80s music, so I grew up knowing this song. It always reminds me of summertime and the bouncy beat puts me in a good mood, no matter what.

 

Artist: Joshua Radin

Song: Underwater

Favorite Lyrics:

“Everybody’s too loud, I can’t listen to myself.

I need somewhere I can go.

Underwater is where I’ll go.”

Joshua Radin is the first artist I remember really latching onto in my teens. I’ve seen him perform FIVE times, and I love him more each time. When the album this song is on came out, he explained to the crowd during his performance that when he was a kid, he had ear trouble that prevented him from going underwater. When he was an adult, he was finally able to do so, and wrote this song. This song reminds me of one of my favorite launches in Arizona. I took lots of videos and put them together, with this song playing over them. It still makes me a little teary!

 

Artist: My Morning Jacket

Song: Golden

Favorite Lyrics:

“And you always told me.

No matter how long it holds me

If it falls apart

Or makes us millionaires”

Maybe it’s the backing percussion that sounds like a train that makes this song such a “road trip” song for me, but you’ll find me listening to it no matter where I’ve traveled. I actually remember listening to this when I was at the Grand Canyon, so you can say it’s followed me everywhere.

 

Artist: Justin Townes Earle

Song: Wanderin’

Favorite Lyrics:

“Yes, oh lord, I’ve seen your oceans, I’ve seen your mountains high.

I’ve been lost inside your cities, I’ve seen the underside.

Yeah, I know the troubles that plague a troubled mind,

But they can’t catch me I’m a wanderin'”

I probably don’t have to explain this one, but man, I love Justin Townes Earle’s folksy sound. This song is more frequently played when I’m traveling somewhere down south, but it rings true wherever I am.

 

Artist: St. Paul & The Broken Bones

Song: All I Ever Wonder

Favorite Lyrics:

“I can’t tell what side I’m on

I can’t tell what’s right or wrong

We ain’t ever gonna sing one song”

You know I couldn’t leave out a hometown band. Enough said.

 

Artist: Cat Stevens

Song: Peace Train

Favorite Lyrics:

“Get your bags together,

Go bring your good friends, too

‘Cause it’s getting nearer,

It soon will be with you”

The first time I ever remember hearing this song was while watching Remember the Titans when I was a kid. My fiancé lived in Auburn, Alabama (about two hours from Birmingham) when we first started dating, and this song somehow ended up on the playlist I listened to when driving to visit him. Since then, it’s kind of been an “us” song, so it always reminds me of him when I’m traveling.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little glimpse into music that I love. What are your favorite songs to listen to while traveling?


Deeanna is a Software Trainer, cat mom, and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

60 Days In

By | Community, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers | No Comments

Do you know the elevation of your house?  Everyone in Houston now knows the exact elevation of their house. 103 – that’s mine. The other really important numbers are 104, and 101.5. 104 feet is the elevation above mean sea level of the top of Barker Reservoir levee, and I live just upstream of that levee, so my house is just a foot below the hypothetical high point of the floodwaters.

Why bring this up? Well, I had been at Daxko for about 2 weeks when our soggy friend Hurricane Harvey came to visit. So my third week at Daxko was spent at home, because the two entrances to my neighborhood were under water. Thankfully, my house stayed dry, because the water level in reservoir only got to 101.5 feet. A lot of people weren’t so lucky. But that whole week, Daxko people, including people from Birmingham, were on HipChat, exchanging crucial information, offering help, and checking in on one another. It was a great way to get to know the community of people who work here – well, great for a massive, catastrophic flood anyway.

Daxko people are engaged and helpful, and they look out for each other – that was my big observation at the 60 day mark.

We survived the flooding, and the massive, catastrophic traffic snarl that lasted another 2 weeks, and then we moved into the swanky new Daxko office, in the suburb of Sugar Land.  Locals will be sure to tell you it’s ‘Sugar Land,’ two words, not ‘Sugarland.’  It’s a great new office, in a nice, dry part of town. As a major plus, the building next door has a café that makes decent chocolate chip cookies.

Here are a couple of fun links:

  • Water Data – This shows the current water level and some other stats for the Barker reservoir. Many people in West Houston spent lots of time on this site in September, keeping an eye on the water level.
  • Cool article from the Houston Chronicle with some helpful graphics about the reservoirs.
  • Very cool aerial imagery from just after the flood. You can see the water in the streets in my neighborhood. You can even see the flooded blue car from the picture below, and boats moving through the flooded streets, rescuing people from flooded areas.

This picture is the main entrance to my neighborhood. And thankfully, that isn’t my car there in the 3+ feet of water. The water actually came up even higher after that pic. So be really careful about buying a used car in Houston for a while…


Clayton M. is an Instructional Designer who enjoys running and craft beer.

Career Advice from a Longtime Daxko Pro

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Rewarding Careers, Talent, Team Member Spotlight | One Comment

When I joined Daxko in 2009, it was my first “real job” out of college. Being a clueless-yet-confident twenty-something, I was terrified that at any moment, someone might discover I didn’t have it all figured out. Lucky for me, Daxko turned out to be fertile ground to grow my career and blossom. The fast-paced environment was just what I needed to expand my skillset, super-charge my confidence, and find the courage to be my (weird) self.

My first Daxko “wall” photo taken in 2009. Can you smell my eagerness?

As I prepare for my next adventure after nearly a decade-long career at Daxko, I can’t help but reflect on the relationships I’ve built and lessons I’ve learned along the way. So, here’s a bit of career advice from me to you. Whether you’re the new kid on the block, rocking your second decade with a company, or somewhere in between, I hope you’ll find advice here to move onward and upward in your career.

Enthusiasm is Everything
Life is short and tomorrow is not promised, which is why I aim to enjoy every moment, including my time at the office. This is why I’ve always fit into the company culture at Daxko. The entire company is teeming with fun folks who bring a high level of enthusiasm to their work. Enthusiasm is contagious, and people willingly follow passionate leaders. Think about it. Is there anything more inspiring than working alongside someone who’s fired up? It’s like Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

Running amok with teammates at our Kickoff 2012 event

Stretch, Reinvent, Repeat
Through my years at Daxko, I’ve held a few different positions. Each time, the change was scary, but I was always better for it in the end. Beginning your career in one role or department doesn’t mean you’re locked in for life. When it’s time for a little reinvention, channel your inner Bowie and figure out how specific skills you possess can translate into that next new job. If you’re qualified for 60% of the job, go for it and stretch, baby, stretch!

My final reinvention at Daxko was on the Marketing Team. We were…really into exploring our strengths.

Find Your Equilibrium
If you’re not intentional about setting boundaries and scheduling down time, work stress can suck the lifeblood out of you. Case in point? A good portion of my Daxko years were spent managing events, which is statistically one of the most stressful jobs, along with firefighters and airline pilots, so I’ve navigated my fair share of hair-on-fire work stress. Of course, every job has its stressors, and there will always be projects that call for longer hours and a little more hustle. The trick is to avoid burnout by finding your equilibrium – a pace you can sustain for the long haul.

Stress? What stress? We’re cool as cucumbers, baby!

Change is Inevitable. Adapt!
During my time at Daxko, I’ve seen so much change: new faces, new products, new leadership, new workspaces, new goals, new norms…the list goes on. It’s true what they say – nothing ever stays the same. That’s why it’s important to become adaptable. I find this is best accomplished with a good sense of humor and eyes wide open for new opportunities. The butterflies in your stomach are natural. Push through and embrace the change!

No desk? No problem! Adapt, plug in, and make some magic happen.

Organizational Health: The Last Untapped Advantage

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Late in August, the folks of Daxko joined together in our Garage to listen to Brian Jones present on why organizational health is the last competitive advantage that has remained underutilized. Brian Jones is a Principle Consultant of The Table Group, a company dedicated to helping other company’s teams work together more seamlessly. As Brian explained, they believe that the most important piece of technology at a company is the table at which they meet.

As Brian explained it, there are many requirements for organizational success, that can be split into two categories:

‘Smart’ requirements deal primarily with what many would consider more traditionally business aspects of an organization: strategy, marketing, the technology, finance. These are easier to quantify and harder to mess up, as, traditionally, this is what all companies will focus on.

‘Healthy’ requirements are, conversely, easier to mess up and harder to quantify. These include minimal politics, minimal confusion, having a high morale and high productivity in your team members, as well as having low turnover. Most organizations focus on the ‘business’ requirements while neglecting these health requirements, to the detriment of their company.

Brian went on to explain that there is a tough spot for employers to be in due to how employees can behave. Essentially, an employee either lives our core values (or not) and that same employee will either get results, or not. This creates four types of employees:

  1. Those who live our core values and get results
  2. Those who live our core values without getting results
  3. Those who do not live our values yet still get results
  4. Those who neither live our values nor get results

Three of these four team member types have clear courses of action concerning how the leadership should approach them. For those that live our values and get results, you obviously want to promote this behavior, so you recognize, reward, promote these team members. Likewise, those who have our values while not receiving results, you want to hold on to: you retrain or reassign these individuals to where their skills are more helpful. And of course, those team members who neither share our values nor perform well, they likely won’t be team members for long.

The last type Brian called the ‘Brilliant Jerk,’ someone who has bad behavior but is a high performer. What do you do with this team member? As was pointed out in the session, ‘the norm is defined by the worst behavior the leader is willing to tolerate.’ If core values are what an organization values to its core (tautology here to drive the point that the organization should value that above all else), then the Brilliant Jerk must be either coached to hold those values or, unfortunately, let go.

Brian’s talk covered a dozen more interesting talking points; if I were to attempt to write them here, I would not only do a disservice to his comical and engaging speaking style, this post would be transformed into a small novel…which they’ve already wrote! You can find many of The Table Group’s books online, such as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and The Ideal Team Player; I’d highly recommend giving them a read. His overall point, though, remained constant throughout: an organization that holds fast to its core values and hires with those in mind will have a happier, more engaged workforce.