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Why I Empower our Employees to Create their own Startups

Inspire people to achieve their potential – TINT’s Vision Statement

My name is Tim, and I have been the CEO and Co-Founder of TINT for the past 4 years. During that time, I’ve been punched in the face, tripped over, and survived mental roller coasters many, many, many times. That being said, I have been fortunate to absorb a lot of learning lessons and ideas that I know others can benefit from if they wanted to create their own company one day.

The problem was I never proactively or consciously spent time sharing those lessons. Yes I would reactively agree to startup and industry conferences to speak at, but never something I went after aggressively. I get unnecessarily excited when I see people around me start their own companies and can’t help but ask if I can help in any way. It just makes me smile when people are chasing after their aspirations and achieve their potential.

Not to mention, that same sentiment went into crafting our TINT’s Vision Statement (above) and culture value statements (look at #1 and #5) not too long ago. So when our employees questioned if we were going to be another company that has a fluffy vision statement and culture value statements no one remembers, Ryo, Nik, (my cofounders) and I went to work brainstorming.

We came up with a list and sourced our employees for collaborative ideation. Brett, one of our early engineer employees, came up with a great idea for me:

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Essentially, host AMA sessions so employees can learn how to start a company in the future. I loved that idea. You see, Brett, along with many of our other 35 employees at TINT, are aspiring entrepreneurs. That’s also sort of why they joined TINT as a young startup, to see the ins and outs of a startup and prepare to start their own company one day. I was ashamed that we weren’t doing more to help support that, and I remembered why.

Companies often focus only on business profits and growth, maximizing all the minutes and work from their employees until burnout.

It may be counter-intuitive for CEOs of startups to do this and frowned upon from other startups/VCs. Sure it can encourage your best employees to leave, but I wanted to stay true to myself, our company vision statement, and our company culture values.

So within 2 days, I launched a new culture initiative: AMA as a CEO. It would be twice a month for 1 hour and completely open to any employee and community members.

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Within an hour, here were some of the responses I received from our employees:

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and this:

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I had a smile on my face and newfound excitement in the company for the next 2 days until my first AMA session. Thanks to Crowdcast (awesome webinar / edu q&a video streaming) software, you can watch the recording annotated by question timing as well!

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After the webinar was completed, people felt a bit more equipped with knowledge in starting their own company in the future. Was I worried? Not at all. I stayed true to my own feelings, practiced our culture value statements, achieved one more step in our company vision, and got personal thanks in showing I cared about our employees’ pursuit in their potential.

But most importantly, after all of this, I was proud to empower our employees to start their own company because they have been so supportive in building mine. That I was truly grateful and lucky to comprehend.

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Sure some of our employees will move on to their next endeavor, but I believe that is inevitable when you work with a very smart, ambitious group of people. So why not contribute to their aspiration as a token of appreciation for them working so hard to build yours? The last thing I would ever want to do is guilt trip someone into staying in our company when it could be holding them back to chase after their dream.

So what’s next? I will be doing my next AMA as a CEO in 2 weeks (come join me — link above in video) and continue from there to keep sharing lessons. I of course will run out of war stories and ideas, so that’s where you come in. If you are a Co-founder or CEO (local or not) that want to join forces to do an AMA next time with me, connect with me and let’s sync up.

-Tim

CEO, TINT

Comments
  1. It is weird somehow when you allow your employees to start up their own business and even encourage them to do that. Most bosses do the opposite, trying to hold workers in the company. Your story can be a good lesson, it shows how to be a leader and how to lead, not just rule!

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