Futuristic Management

By | Culture, Employment Brand, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

Flashback to two years ago: I’m gathering my thoughts and preparing my team’s presentation in our management class. Nervous energy is evident. We’re moments away from giving an hour-long presentation about a “forward-thinking” company. The clock indicates that class has started, and we dive in… We spend the hour discussing idealistic ways of managing groups of teams and individuals, the qualities of an effective leader, and how all of this actually looks in practice. For what?

Why do we even discuss this in the university setting if it is hardly in practice in the workforce?

Because it is the future, and the future is happening now.

According to the Birmingham Business Journal, young people –people like me– want to make a difference in the world. We want to collaborate and have the opportunity to come up with innovative ideas and creative solutions. Let’s be realistic, though. Daxko was my “shoot for the stars.”

Daxko is a fast-paced, exciting environment where team members are asked to be creative. We’re asked to challenge the status quo. If there is a better way of doing something – why not try it? Daxko reminds me a whole lot of that forward-thinking company my team gave a presentation on two years ago. This job was the dream.

When I came aboard, I was enthralled to be inside the type of environment I previously (idealistically) discussed. This is a management major’s playground.

I see the trust within a team and how that allows for more open communication.

I see the effects of being surrounded by excellent, innovative leaders.

I see the transparency and the free flow of information.

And, for what? The impact it makes on our team is immeasurable. We feel valued and capable. We have a dynamic environment that is open to necessary change. Our ideas become customer solutions which enables them to fulfill their mission.

Every single day I notice how Daxko utilizes those “idealistic” management practices, and I love the opportunity to observe and be a part of those practices. Team members aren’t tied to our desks if we feel that we could be more productive elsewhere. Company, product, team, and individual goals are available on our intranet. This transparency enables us to see what our peers are working towards and allows us to collaborate with them to help accomplish their goals. We even have weekly 1:1s with our team leads to discuss the day-to-day and our professional development.

At the end of the day, I go home looking forward to the contribution I’ll be able to make the next day. I already love what I do after one month!


Emily V. is a proud dog mom, and Netflix connoisseur, and lives on Daxko’s Engagement Solutions Team.

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.

Training Tips

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Seemingly overnight, I went from five days a week in the office to five days a week on the road. It’s certainly been an adjustment, but, as most things with Daxko go, it has also been an adventure.

I would like to say that after a few months of training customers on the road, I am beginning to feel seasoned in my role as a road warrior. Because of that, here are ten things I’ve learned since I’ve started traveling:

#1: Bring your routine with you. Just because you’re in a hotel room every night doesn’t mean you should skimp on your necessities. I always bring along basically everything I use on a daily basis at home…including a bag full of vitamins.

#2: Don’t bore yourself. It’s so easy to want to go and collapse in your room after a long day of training, but I always try to find a place to go and visit. My favorite trip so far has been my trip to Altavista, VA, because I got to visit lots of historical places there! Pictured in this post are photos from Monticello and the Appomattox Court House.

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#3: Find good food. This one is probably most important to me! I scope out restaurants the minute I touch down in my location that week. I always try not to do fast food on the road because I could have that any time.

#4: Bring headphones. This one is non-negotiable. I’m not really a chatty person, so having headphones for airports and airplanes is a pretty good way around all the small talk. Plus, we’ve all heard crying babies in airports…

#5: Improvise. One of the quickest things you’ll learn on the road is that you have to improvise…a lot. You move classes around, you change flights, you update your hotel reservation…it’s all just part of the job. Learning to roll with the punches and redesign your plan will only help you in the long run.

#6: Learn what you like. Be it an airline, a rental car service, a hotel chain, or a restaurant, learn what you like and stick with it. Sometimes, you have to improvise (see #5) when things don’t go as planned, but once you get into a rhythm, you can help yourself guarantee a little on-the-road bliss.

#7: Hydration and cough drops are key. I carry my 40 oz water bottle around all day and fill it up whenever I get the chance. Staying hydrated is a no brainer anyway, but when you’re talking all day and walking around a classroom, you’ve got to keep your energy up and your voice fresh! Same goes for cough drops…for me, at least. I have tonsillitis at least twice a year, so when my voice starts to go (and it does, every week), I have a backup plan.

#8: Car sing alongs will save you. Sometimes, you fly into an airport that’s a good distance away from your training site. In times like this, open up your Spotify app, turn on some tunes, and sing along. Personal favorite for me? Hamilton soundtrack. Who would’ve guessed that after my last culture blog post? I sang this song more than once on my drive from Charlottesville to Altavista.

#9: Take time to recharge. Being a road warrior will really take it out of you. Take a day of PTO on an off week, pick an early flight so you can get home a bit earlier before the weekend, whatever works for you…do it. Don’t burn yourself out.

#10: If all else fails…ask your sister, the former trainer, every question you possibly could.

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Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

 

Do you love to travel and teach others? Work with Deeanna on the Daxko Training team!

Socratic Stairways

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko | No Comments

I blinked and missed it, but someone told me the other day that I’ve been at Daxko for over a year now. I consulted the horoscopes, broke out the charts and double checked on the abacus – turns out, they weren’t wrong. The math adds up.

I don’t say this jokingly: I really was surprised by how long it has been. People will ask me how long I’ve been working there and I’ll stop, think a moment and casually mention that it’s been ‘probably eight months or so now.’ A few moments will pass and I’ll think, no, wait, it’s been ten months. Oh no, it’s been twelve. It’s been…wow. Where did it go? By the time you guys are reading this, it will have been thirteen months since I’ve started working there.

This makes me an expert, of sorts. An expert in knowing that I know very, very little.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a bias in which people who are relatively unskilled at something believe themselves to be the exact opposite: they will assess their abilities to be much higher than it really is. In the same way, a particularly skilled person might underestimate their capabilities or erroneously assume that whatever it is they are very good at is simply easy for everyone.

This same thing applies to holding knowledge about specific subjects. I thought that I was so smart at Child Care setup, for example, until a few days ago. Someone called in with a few simple questions that ended up exploding into a myriad of technical questions, putting us so far down the rabbit hole that I waved as we passed Alice by.

I’ll spare you the details. An intense dive into the system later, we emerged victorious, the understanding of Child Care laid out before us. This beast, this behemoth that we had vanquished with but a phone call, no longer posed a threat to us. We got off the phone, both very happy in the knowledge we gained.

I imagine I will continue to be pleased with myself until the next time someone asks such probing questions about the subject, thus starting the process once again.

It’s in this way that my first year was spent at Daxko, learning so much and having so much left to learn. Climbing to the top of the stairs, only to realize that there are still so many more stairways left to ascend.


McKee S. is a Customer Success Warlock who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.