"Dough to Grow" in Austin, Texas

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Professional Development | 2 Comments

If you’re going to grow the company, you’ve got to grow your people.  Words to live by at DAXKO.  To that end, we’ve put a lot of good development stuff in place for team members.  One of those is the annual Professional Development Allowance.  That’s right – money.  In fact, it’s money to spend on any professional opportunity you fancy – books, conferences, memberships, subscriptions, seminars… you get the idea.  The cool thing is that the training doesn’t  have to relate to your current role at DAXKO – the world is your oyster.  So here’s another installment of our “Dough to Grow” series.  Love it when we can weave in some shameless plugs for the team… 

Handle: Amy

DAXKO Team: Marketing

What I want to get better at over time: I want to learn how to best promote DAXKO and our software and services to the nonprofit market.

What I dropped the cash on this time: Pragmatic Marketing’s “Effective Product Marketing” 2-day course

How I found out about this learning opportunity: My team lead and other product managers that previously attended Pragmatic Marketing courses

I give this event a thumbs UP because… It was like a mini-masters in marketing.  Worth every penny!

Session that rocked my world: “Aligning Product Marketing with Product Management”

“Aha” moment for me: When the instructor said, “Get over your great company and your great products and focus on how they solve the market’s problems.”

First thing I’ll do at DAXKO based on what I learned: Meet with product management team to share what I learned and take action to better align our efforts.

Something fun I did while there: While in Austin, TX, I went to the Whole Foods flagship store, rocked out to some live music, visited Lance Armstrong’s bike shop and visited the Texas state capitol.

Team Notes: DAXKO’s marketing team is an eclectic blend of personalities and styles all working together to promote the company, its products and services.  Their creativity can be seen at conferences, in print, and on the web.  Like what you see out there?  Thank a marketing crew member.

Banish Busy-ness: Getting Set on a Goal

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career | No Comments

As DAXKO grows we all have an increasing number of responsibilities (many hats). We also have an increasing number of opportunities. As a team member who has worn several hats at DAXKO, and usually two at the same time, I have become very interested in how to minimize busy-ness, senseless tasks, and distractions in order to focus on the things that really propel us forward.

Philosopher Antoine de Saint-Exupery (let’s just call him Tony) once said,

“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood
 and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”

I am a firm believer that if people are committed to a greater goal that is outside themselves, they will have an uncanny ability to cut the crap, clear the clutter, and do what is most vital to achieving their goal.

At DAXKO their are many examples of goals outside of ourselves.  Here are a few that I have heard from fellow team members:

  • I want to make enough money for my spouse to be able to stay at home with our children
  • I really identify with the work that happens at the YMCA, and helping them do it better is gratifying
  • I love my team and want us to succeed together
  • I strive to live up to the potential my parents instilled in me
  • I want to buy a house for my family
  • I want to be in a position to help a family member through a difficult financial time
  • I want to see Birmingham on the national technology map, with DAXKO at the center
  • I love building software that hits the mark every time, getting rave reviews from our market and the industry alike
  • I want to learn everything I can about running this business because I have an idea for my own business one day

Whatever your motivation outside of yourself, getting there swiftly requires focus on the right things, not the quantity of things you do.

When we do not have a clear goal outside of ourselves, we rely on others to tell us what we should do and we occupy ourselves with “tasks” in the name of staying busy.  Busy feels good.  Busy feels productive.  Busy feels like a badge of honor.

Why do we feel so great when check off 30 items on a to-do list in a day?  Would one check mark beside a really meaningful thing be just as gratifying?

Maybe instead of a to-do list we should work on a “ta-dah” list. Looking back over your to-do list, how many of the tasks really contributed to achieving your highest goals?  Is there anything on your to-do list that would make your “ta-dah” list?

If you think about what you connect to outside of you,  what do you find?  If you ask yourself why you are at DAXKO, what is the answer?  If you think about the scale of success of this company, how does greater success impact your higher goals?

Mark Twain once said, “Having lost sight of our goals, we redouble our efforts.”  Without any higher goal at all, I would dare to say our busy-load quadruples.

Commonplace at DAXKO – from Supporting to Managing the Product

By | Culture, Grow Your Career, Professional Development, Talent | No Comments

Remember ‘The Jeffersons’ theme song ‘Movin on Up’?  Well that’s a recurring theme for DAXKO as well – people taking on new challenges and moving into bigger roles, that is.  In fact, over half of our team members aren’t in the same role as when they started.  We’re big believers in giving folks opportunities to grow, take on more responsibility, find a role they love… and rock at!  There’s lot of those kinds of stories here at DAXKO.  Here’s one…

Saranda, Product Manager
DAXKO Claim toFame: Moved from supporting DAXKO’s products to driving the direction of DAXKO Accounting – DAXKO’s answer to accounting for nonprofits.

Q: Where did you start out at DAXKO?

A: I started as an intern on the Support Services Team, providing front line support for our products.

Q: What did you learn during your time on that team?

A: I believe Support at DAXKO teaches you ownership and self reliance. There are some issues that you face that no one else can help you with. Once you get through those issues and determine the best solution for the customer, everyone – you, DAXKO, and the customer – is better off.

Q: What did you love about your time on that team?

A: My favorite thing about Support was the constant interaction with customers. DAXKO’s customers, for the most part, are in their jobs because they genuinely care about their cause and mission. To get to interact with these people on a daily basis makes you feel like you are contributing to their mission as well.

Q: What prompted you to move into a Product Manager role?

A: Let’s face it…not all issues in Support can be resolved. As a support services team member, it is very hard to tell a customer this. While in Support, I helped manage what we then called the “Hot List.” It was basically a list of maintenance items that needed to be updated in a product release. I helped prioritize this list and give the customer’s perspective on outstanding issues. It was while working on this project that I realized how much I love the excitement of resolving big pain points for our customers.

Q: What skill did you learn in Support that have come in handy in Product Management?

A: My time in Support was an opportunity to gain extensive knowledge of our market, our customers, and the problems they face. I also learned the importance of truly listening to what each customer says and asking questions. One simple detail can make a big difference in a resolution or development project.

Q: What have you learned about Product Management?

A: I have been a Product Manager at DAXKO for about three years. During this time, I have learned that Product Management or whatever role you are in is whatever you make it. At the end of the day, Product Management is about leading our products, our services and our company to another level and always striving to do more. I have also learned that you have to truly love your products. Product Management is similar to parenting; you have to continuously consider the daily health and well being, but also future long-term strategy.

Q: What do you love about Product Management?

A: I still sincerely love when I can call a customer and say, “Do you remember when you told me you had X problem? Well we fixed it!”

Q: What does the future hold for you?

A: Now that the task of launching a new product is behind me, it’s my goal to take this new product and make it extremely successful! The more customers benefiting from all the hard work we have put in to DAXKO Accounting the better.

Do You Have Broad Shoulders?

By | Building a Company, Culture, Grow Your Career | No Comments

Last night I was reading an article on CNN about a recent Larry King interview with Michael J. Fox, who has had Parkinsons for around 20 years now.  Larry King asked him: “is it easy to be an optimist?”

His answer:  “Well, for me it’s second nature. It’s just the way I look at life. And it’s certainly a challenge now for most people to be optimistic, obviously, with all of the troubles we have and the problems that the country is facing.

But I think it’s exactly in those times when our optimism kicks in highest gear.  I think — there’s an expression that I like that I always use: “Don’t wish for a lighter load, wish for broader shoulders.” And I think that people are really — I see a lot of broader shoulders these days, people are really working on the delts, you know?”

The expression he quoted really hit home with me.  “Don’t wish for a lighter load, wish for broader shoulders”.  I love that concept.  The kind of people that will really drive us forward as a business have this same mindset.  We need people that are willing to stretch – people looking to do more, looking to step up and take on a challenge, and looking for ways outside of their everyday job to make DAXKO successful.  These are the people that thrive in high growth companies like DAXKO.  So, think about it.  Is that you?