New Daxko team members normally have these 60-day perspectives ready to share on the Daxko Culture Blog shortly after 60 days have passed from our Daxko start dates. Let’s just say that getting this after being 180 days in will give you, the reader, added perspective. Just go with it. Don’t @ me.
I was hired onto the team at the beginning of June 2017 to support a group of customers using our Daxko Spectrum product and based in our Houston office. It’s been a thrilling experience, and what have the first six months of Daxko looked like for me? Here’s a list of some unique highlights and cultural pieces that stuck out to me:
- Day 4: user group in Atlanta
- Friday Open Q&As
- A week at Birmingham HQ
- Impact Day @ Houston Food Bank
- User group in Chicago
- Hurricane Harvey and Reach Conference
- Houston office move
- Club Industry Show
- Star Wars!
Quite the variety of events, some of which you can infer their meaning and others are just Daxko lingo that likely means nothing to you or any other reader on this page, but the effect of what those lingo words represent means everything to some.
Things can move quickly around Daxko, so you have to stay on your toes and be ready to jump in or pivot at any moment. Take a look at that first bullet above: yes, on Day 4, they had me on a plane to Atlanta to attend a user group for some of our customers in that area. I thought it was fantastic that this new company I just accepted a position with would spend the time and resources to go to where their customers are to simply welcome them in and work with them on better using one of the products. Not only that, but my team lead called me before I even started my first day to extend this invitation to me and made all of the arrangements!
Skip down a couple of bullets to the next user group in Chicago. That kicked off a whirlwind of personal and professional overdrive that lasted several weeks. Our offices had Daxko solar eclipse viewing parties on that Monday, then a large group of us were off to Chicago the next day for another user group we had planned for our customers in and around that city.
While conducting a successful user group and connecting with our customers, our attention was being called to trouble rapidly brewing back home: Hurricane Harvey. I remember sitting in my hotel room between two of our events and getting the group text from my team lead: “All of you here from Houston, change your flights right now to go home tomorrow (Thursday) evening. We will pay whatever the cost.” How awesome for a company to make an early call on some last-minute plan changes for meetings and events to ensure a group of us got home before flights sold out and airports closed for a major hurricane?
Harvey was a nightmare that no Houstonian ever wanted to see again after Allison in 2001. Things began turning very serious the first night, and anxieties were validated when a local chief meteorologist tweeted, “Allison is officially no longer the benchmark flood event in Houston,” and the forecast continued to show that the Harvey event was just beginning. But it did happen again, and it will again at some point. We’ve just accepted it as part of living in a major metro prone to floods. Our Houston office was closed for more than a week after the storm, and we spent that time helping our neighbours and communities and working from home as power and internet service allowed.
Harvey did not just affect team members and customers in the Houston area and down the Texas coast. It affected a large percentage of our company and customers. Why? Our annual REACH customer conference was scheduled to take place in Houston two weeks after Harvey struck. Remember what I said earlier about always being ready to pivot when working for Daxko? The company and hundreds of our customers had spent months making plans, incurring expenses, and at that point were finally ready to come together for a week of learning opportunities and to hear about the future of our products that they rely on. Suddenly, the host city was crippled by the worst natural disaster in its modern history. Our solution? In a matter of days, we pivoted and were ready to conduct as much of the conference as we could virtually. We knew it would not be the same experience as an in-person conference, but it was important to us to still use the time we had planned to connect with all of these customers in any way that we could. We learned a lot from this experience, and I am excited for our next customer conference.
Nearly a month after Harvey, the Houston team moved offices! The last office was a dark and dreadful place. We try not to remember it. It did not sustain any damage during Harvey, and the move was originally planned for the week that Harvey happened. Needless to say, Harvey brought the move to a grinding halt for some time, but once again, we pivoted and made adjustments. Now our Birmingham and Houston offices both reside in Class A buildings constructed at the turn of the millennium! (I told you the last Houston office was a dreadful place).
If you ever visit our spaces, you’ll find it interesting that the interior design of these spaces is the signature of our CEO, Dave Gray. He does most of the design planning and selections himself for our workspaces. He even worked to have a portion of the ceiling removed between the two floors our Birmingham space occupies and had a large staircase built between the floors, because he wanted the spaces open and the Birmingham-based teams easily connected rather than separated. Crazy cool, right? Our new Houston space is still a work in progress, but after a few trips to Birmingham HQ this year, I am excited to see what Dave is putting together for our space.
Moving through the year, the season began to change, but first impressions of this new company culture I’d found myself immersed in did not. I’ve heard of other companies permitting costumes on Halloween or having a fun social during lunch, but never have I seen a company as enthusiastic about Halloween as Daxko. Of course, the ringleader of all the fun is once again our CEO. He is very passionate about Halloween, and strongly encourages team members to participate in the company-wide costume contest – a costume contest across three offices in three states and dozens of remote team members around the country. I’ve seen company leaders encourage participation in company events plenty of times before, but I never thought I would hear a CEO say in a company-wide meeting (with a laugh of course), “If you’re seriously not dressing up, don’t bother coming into the offices that day. Just work from home instead. I’m serious!” What a character, and it was only fitting that he showed up for work on Oct. 31 in a very elaborate Willy Wonka costume – complete with the top hat and cane!
Most recently, I learned that Daxko has adopted a different approach to a company holiday party. Rather than host a traditional, stuffy gathering (which I presume would not be stuffy at all based on how I’ve seen other things conducted around here), they have capitalized on Disney’s recent release schedule for the current awakening of The Force and purchased Star Wars movie tickets for each team member on the films’ opening nights. This has allowed team members to still get together for a fun event during the holiday time and take a different approach to an end-of-year celebration. And plus, it’s Star Wars!
Overall, the first 180 days here has been an experience that I would not trade away. I came here from a large corporation that was also breaking the mold with team member focus and culture, and seeing that same focus here at Daxko was a large influence in my decision to join the team. I am very excited for what the next 365 days will bring, and the 365 days after that.
Matt Glenn is a Strategic Relationship Manager who always visits the People Team pod when he comes to Birmingham.