Perpetually Evolving

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Room to Grow

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Every full-time team member at Daxko is given a significant stipend each year to use for their own professional development. As the leader of a growing company, it’s very important to me that each of us on the team, myself included, continue to grow personally in a rewarding career.

We don’t put a lot of stipulations on how each team member uses their professional development dollars, and that’s because every person’s career, goals, and definition of a rewarding career is going to differ slightly from the next person’s. Team members have used their professional development budget to travel to conferences, continue their formal education, take specific skill-related classes, join associations, earn further accreditations, and the list goes on. By allowing each team member to mold their own development, we allow them another degree of ownership in their career. Sense of ownership is a core value of ours at Daxko.

I recently attended a workshop in Chicago as part of my own professional development. I’m interested in how other successful companies work, so I took part in “The Basecamp Way to Work” event hosted by Jason Fried (Basecamp co-founder & CEO) and Ryan Singer (Strategy at Basecamp). They have a pretty radical work concept with most of their team being remote. As Daxko grows, it’s important to me that our remote team members have an exceptional experience and rewarding career to the same degree that our in-office team members do. So, for me, this was a valuable learning experience.

What professional development channels would be most constructive for you? No matter your role, none of us have “arrived”. We all have room to grow. I challenge you to consider your career, how you would like to see it grow, and then identify your next steps in professional development.

Daxko Turns 18 and Says Goodbye to an Old-Timer

By | Building a Company, Culture, Employment Brand, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Talent, Workplace | 2 Comments

Today, Daxko hits a milestone. It’s our 18th birthday! So in a way, we are now “officially” an adult, even though we don’t always act like it.

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We mark our birthday by the start date of our first-ever team member, Wei Jiang on October 14, 1998. Wei remains a key member of our software development team, and he has played a critical role in our success and growth. 

wei-02Wei has seen and done a lot over the past 18 years. Not only was he the creator and keeper of many of our software products, but he’s also experienced the highs and lows of being a part of a growth and change-oriented company. 

One of the inventible changes is the coming and going of team members, and today marks the celebration of one of those departures — a “retirement” if you will.  

Over her 16 years, 8 months and 13 days at Daxko, April Benetollo has led marketing, sales, product management, our People Team, career development, and more “assignments” I’m sure I’m forgetting.

dsc00013april_nationapril02We’ve experienced 14 straight years of double-digit growth, have a dominant position in our market and have built a very strong brand, and April has played an active, key role in all of it. We’re very thankful for her massive contributions and are excited for what lies ahead in her career.

April now joins an impressive alumni group, including Uncle Barry, Britney, JSides, Holly, Jeremy, Keefus, Toby, Susan, Austin, Tony, Anne and so many others. 

But we also have a great group of remaining old-timers such as Wei, Ming, Saranda, Rick, Patrick, Dan Van, Josh, Bryan, Todd, Heather and several Matts to name but a few, as well as newer team members like Moses, Kelly, Emily, Gabby, Colby, Napo, Alex and Mike that are ready and able to keep the momentum going strong and take us into the future. 

As we celebrate these milestones, it acts as a reminder of how the entire team — alumni, old-timers and relative newbies alike — are the reason behind our success. 

Thanks Team Daxko!

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K.I.S.S.

By | Building a Company, Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

For years now an issue has been bothering me every time I make a cup of coffee…

As a coffee drinker, my routine has been to first add the sugar and creamer to my cup before pouring in the coffee so I can control the amount of sugar and creamer added, but everyone I know does this the other way around. Besides the time saved by pouring and stirring simultaneously, I see more cons than pros to the other approach such as the clumps of creamer that form at the top due to the hot coffee vapor or over pouring the sugar.

Since I’ve been a software developer, I’ve encounter many little problems that seem so simple yet are so complicated to fix. Building an enterprise application is as simple as creating a deck of playing cards to play every card game possible, but still someone must manage the little decisions at every level.

As a production manager, you contemplate whether we should produce a deck of cards from only 8s to Aces so that we can start targeting Pinochle players, or do we create a whole deck of 52 cards before going into production? It is nice to generate sales to support existing production, but then there’s a risk with the first and second half of the decks being off color.

As a salesperson, it is easier to sell a deck of cards to someone who has never played a single card game.  How about trying to sell to a group of friends who only play chess, dominos or monopoly? Who in the group should we target first so that they can convince the rest of the group to come on board?

As a trainer, how do we teach our card owners how to play a game in a short period of time? Do we train them only on the game they like to play with emphasis on making them better players or teach them the basics of every game available and let them choose what and how to play later?

As technical support, there are a great deal more decisions to be made, but at least they are more exciting. If a client asks for more strategies of a specific game, what’s the most effective or efficient way to explain to them? Through the phone, Friday poker night over some beers, or taking them to the casinos?

Maybe it’s time to apply the first principle of programming: K.I.S.S. (AKA, Keep it simple, stupid).
At the start of production, do not use any fancy colors; keep it simple until the final deck is ready. Try to introduce the idea of an automatic shuffler when making a sale. Lessen the expenditure for training time so the players can feel more comfortable in taking their time to learn. And instead of technical support, think more of customer success so that they are winning at every game played.

As long as we stick with a well-defined mission and concrete core values, our envisioned future will come sooner than expected.

P.S.: After all, my cup of coffee isn’t perfect.  Upon finish, I usually find deposits of undissolved creamer at the bottom. Should I stir and scrape next time? Nah, too much work.


Tai L. is a Software Engineer who loves Brazilian steak, Napa Cabernet, and Argentina Tango.