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.

From the Pitch to the Pod

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

I’ve spent most of my life on a team. I lived and breathed competition as soon as I could. From a young age, I jumped into baseball, basketball, football, and in college I found an outlet in rugby. Over the years I’ve played every role imaginable on these teams. I’ve been fortunate enough to experience sports from a variety of roles within a team. I was never very good at football, so I played only small role. I was an average baseball player, so I played a moderate amount. I fell in love with rugby and put all my effort into it and now am fortunate enough to travel the country and play.

One of the most important things my experience in sports has taught me is that it takes every role performing to the best of their ability for the team to succeed. A good coach always reminds his players that no one individual can succeed without the team. The core concept is that you all rely on each other.

Sports have provided me with a number of life lessons, and my experience with them have been invaluable. You may stop playing sports, but you’ll be a part of teams for the rest of your life. Daxko picks up the team mentality and runs with it. When I accepted a role as Project Manager at Daxko, I jumped in to a team of people who immediately welcomed me in. When I say ‘team’ I don’t mean every employee at Daxko (although they certainly were all friendly); I specifically mean the Project Management team around me.

Daxko puts a lot of emphasis on what kind of player you are for your team. You’re in for a few personality tests when you first start out, including Marcus Buckingham’s StandOut assessment. Learning to identify your Strengths will help your Team Lead understand what you bring to your team and will inform how they use you as a player. You’ll never be curious as to what each of your teammates strengths are, because you’ll see these handy magnets throughout the office that identify everyone’s strengths.

As I’ve spent time learning the ins-and-outs of life at Daxko, it’s obvious that each member of our team plays a role that helps drive us forward. We have role players, contributors, superstars, captains, and coaches. Together we learn our strengths, what we can bring to the team, and how to contribute to our ultimate goal: Success. And yes, it’s cliché, but we all rely on one another to be successful.

Whether I’m on the rugby pitch or in the PM pod, I’m working with my team to be competitive and succeed. Working in a place where you’re surrounded by people who are invested in your satisfaction and your success is empowering. We’re all working toward the same goal, all aiming at the same objective. We want to be the most loved company in our industry. To do this, we leverage our entire team’s strengths to empower one another to be the best at what we do.


Zac R. is a Project Manager who loves naps, karaoke, and self-deprecating humor.

If I Were a Butterfly

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff, Team Member Spotlight | One Comment

Editor’s Note: This post is less about Daxko and more about a team member and something they do that they hold near and dear to their heart. It’s important to see our team members outside of work and learn about their passions, motivations, and how they give back. So… read on!

When I’m not busy being a Project Manager at Daxko, I find myself drawn to a lot of different things, many of which can be attributed to my parents. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid, when my parents purchased the original Nintendo Entertainment System. They bought it for themselves, but I quickly latched on and before long, I was stomping on goombas and destroying the robot masters with the best of them. They thought (perhaps hoped) I’d grow out of that…but they were very wrong. On a daily basis, I’ll find myself digging too deep into a dark cavern or attempting to talk myself out of a zombie apocalypse. Somehow, I always manage to come out unscathed.

What I am most thankful my parents passed along to me (even more than Zelda) is something called Special Session. This week of summer camp takes place at wonderful, wonderful Camp McDowell (located near Nauvoo, AL, which is somehow smaller than it sounds). This year was Special Session’s 20th year, and I am very proud to say I’ve been involved from the very beginning: I started as a staff brat, being my parents’ tagalong before graduating to driving golf carts, then to being a counselor, and finally joining the ranks of adult staff. We had two separate weeks of camp this year, our first-ever time splitting it, and by all accounts it was an incredible success.

Special Session is an intentionally regular week of summer camp, complete with pool time, arts and crafts and pie-in-the-face bingo, with one small exception: the campers are mentally and physically handicapped. I choose the word small here with purpose: everyone has disabilities, and while some people’s disabilities and special needs are more obvious than others, this does not stop us from having a good time. We celebrate our differences and are thankful that we are exactly who we are, how we are.

There is a theme that we roughly adhere to (this year being Willy Wonka and his World of Pure Imagination), but usually we offer the same activities every year. Above, you can see my friend Shea riding on a horse and absolutely loving it. He rides on a horse every year and beams with that happiness every time. Below, Dennis has his whistle ready to go in case someone needs saving at the pool (while the real lifeguard sits to the right).

Both Shea and Dennis have been coming for years and are some of my oldest friends. They’ve seen me grow up and have helped form the person I am today. They’re old pros at Special Session, so when we have a counselor (who are normally in the mid-teens to early twenties) who might be nervous about how the week will go, we let Shea or Dennis, among others, hang out with them for the week. The campers don’t need any help, but the counselor might: we know these two will take good care of them.

Another highlight of the week is the Talent Show. What happens on that Special Session stage is magical and is tough to explain in words. We have all kinds of talent showcased, from singing and dancing to extreme smiling and coat hanger twirling. Dennis will often grace us with his harmonica playing, and we get to see Michael Jackson’s songs come to life. We’ve had Pokémon battles, we’ve had arm wrestling competitions, we’ve had a guy tell us all about his cats at length: we’ve had everything.

And the crowd goes wild for it. On Talent Show night, every single person is a star on that stage. You can feel the energy as Geoff walks on stage to tell us on exactly what day of the week any random person was born, or the rapt attention as Jurdy reads us a poem she wrote. Breath is held as we wait to see which of the four contestants will be this year’s most extreme sitter or if Jeremy is going to be able to make his bed in that perfect way that he does. If there was more excitement in the room, the air would crackle with electricity.

The other heavy hitter of the week is the dance, which is the final night. This year, as our normal musical talent was unfortunately ill, I was volunteered as someone who might be able to DJ. What if I mess it up? What happens if I play the wrong song or someone doesn’t like my tunes?  I’d never done this before and was nervous: I’ve come to Special Session for twenty years and the dance is the single most impactful moment of the whole thing.

The first image in this post is of that night, right as a conga line is breaking out as I play one of the Soul Train themes; you can see me to the right finding the next song. My fear evaporated as Dennis, Shea, Moose, Philip and this large cast of characters I’ve come to know danced and cheered with each new song; as I should have expected, they took good care of me. It is at the dance where the underlying message of the week is most apparent: it is more trouble than it is worth to discern who is a camper and who is a counselor. We are all loved, we are all special and we are all incredible.

It’s hard to stop talking about Special Session. It’s a bittersweet feeling knowing that I’ll see all these people again in a year, knowing that I must wait a year. Life returns to normal and the most we can do is hope we hold on to the special parts of the week. You would think I would have a lot of practice but it is still sad to see my favorite week of the year, every year, pass by once again.

There’s always next year though!

A very special thank you to the incredibly talented Allison Kendrick, who took the photos. Check out her other work on her website: http://www.allisonkendrick.com/.


McKee S. is a Project Manager who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Process, the Perfect Team, and Psychological Safety

By | Building a Company, Culture, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko | No Comments

In 2013, Sam Hinkie took the helm as the general manager of an ailing Philadelphia 76ers (basketball) team and established what people refer to now as “The Process”. The Process was a calculated and devised plan to, over the course of several years, get the best young talent to the land of brotherly love where they could ball out. But like all good things, the process took time and included several (terrible) losing seasons, backlash from fans, and ridicule by analysts.

Hinkie, despite the controversy surrounding his tactics, was committed to The Process. Every act that he took, every decision his front office made, and every trade that he conjured was centered on his end goal: winning basketball games and building a franchise. Unfortunately, Hinkie supporters ran out of patience, and in 2016, he was forced out just a season away from the process finally (hopefully) yielding its first fruits.

Unlike the 76ers, Daxko has been a solid organization for years. But the similarity they share with the 2013-2016 76ers is the conviction that process is vital to progress. Understanding process increases scope and vision for where and what we want to be. I joined the Customer Success Team during a rebuilding phase; people were changing roles and moving on to other things during a busy time of year. Trusting the process was not easy when the phones wouldn’t stop ringing and cases piled up. The urge to overcompensate with impulsive hirings or knee-jerk reactions to problems were tangible. But with time, our a resilient and committed team weathered the storm. As we rebuilt, we became more tenured and experienced and, through deliberate hirings, we became stronger in number and proficiency. Now, a year and half later, our squad is stacked.

In trusting our process, did we achieve what we aimed to do? I guess it depends. The process of building a good team may not be able to quantify the intangibles that comprise a great one. Google, a company who prides itself on process and vision, recently conducted a study to uncover the characteristics of a perfect team. The study (Project Aristotle), despite pouring over decades of social and psychological group behavior and case studies on Google employees, found it hard to determine exactly what makes a great team. What they came to realize is that the lack of consistent patterns was because great teams took so many different forms. Some teams were balanced across the board which helped equally distribute duties. Other teams’ strengths varied but were able to give teammates tasks that fit their skill set. All in all, they identified two behavior traits that ran through the variations of great teams. One was what researchers call “equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking” which is a fancy way of saying that everyone on the team spoke an equal amount during team meetings. The other was social sensitivity, which is when people are aware of nonverbal cues: tone of voice, body language, group dynamics, facial expression, etc.

These observations comprise parts of what is known as “psychological safety”. The article quotes Amy Edmondson, a professor at Harvard Business School, when she says psychological safety is a ‘‘shared belief held by members of a team that the team is safe for interpersonal risk-taking.’’ Psychological safety is ‘‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up … it describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves.’’

It seems that for teams to succeed, there must be a good process in place to build for scale and growth, bring in all-stars, and craft a crew that can perform. But what may be the crux of impactful work, meaningful careers, and a successful team rests in the truth that to be excellent is to value those around you. Where work becomes excellent out of a sense of joy rather than a sense of fear, resilience replaces timidity, employees are teammates, and culture is a communal commitment to who we are and what we hope to be.


Sam G. is a Customer Success Advocate who enjoys slow mornings, coffee, and homemade waffles with his wife every Saturday.