Last weekend I boarded a flight from London to San Francisco. I was excited and nervous to leave behind my family for ten days and meet my co-workers at TINT for the second time. As the European Director of TINT, I am responsible for strategic partnerships, growth, and marketing in Europe. Which means I work remotely from the rest of the team at TINT.
So what is it like to work for a San Francisco start-up, alone, in London?
It’s awesome and it’s challenging. I am pleased and surprised every day by how close I feel with my colleagues, despite the distance.
I hope that this blog will help with people thinking of moving from a large company to a start-up and some cool ways to manage internal communications across different regions.
Choosing to work for TINT was no accident. Having cut my teeth with large-scale, high volume and cross-channel marketing organisations, I wanted to join an innovative and disruptive company. I have been growing social media based start-ups for over four years, and I can see that the social display space is poised to be a huge market. I could see a clear opportunity for me and TINT to grow together, after being introduced to TINT by an old client, I sent a proposal that highlighted my excitement and what I thought I could do for them in Europe. Our partnership was born. My role is now a mix of strategic sales, country management, PR and marketing and high level project management.
We now live in a world where what happens to a brand in the morning, afternoon and evening, can completely change. People are always on, and they are talking about a brand’s products and services whether they like it or not. Social media and ‘User Generated Content’ (UGC) breaks volume records regularly, so gluing your community to your digital assets anywhere in the world, to any device in moments is a key strategy – whether you’re a start-up or you’re Google.
TINT is headquartered in downtown San Francisco, while I am based in the UK. This presents a challenge in many ways, from communication to logistics; however, the closeness I feel with my work colleagues is something that I had not experienced before. I am over five thousand miles away, but don’t feel remote.
So how do I stay in touch with everyone? TINT use a few great platforms to limit the use of email. We meet daily over Google hangouts; we scope the week on a Monday and wrap it up on a Friday.
Platforms we use for cross regional internal communications include:
- Slack (quick group messaging)
- Google Docs (collaboration on documents)
- PipeDrive (CRM)
- Intercom (CRM – automation)
- Weekdone (for tracking our weekly tasks and accomplishments)
- Calendly (instant scheduling)
On our daily meeting over Google hangouts, I go through the day I have had and the rest of the team goes through the day they are planning to have.
Using Slack for quick internal messaging has been loads of fun. Aside from the obvious benefits of getting out of email, we’ve tweaked the slack platform to do some fun things… Like our “Slackbot” which celebrates every time we launch something, and suggests lunch places every time someone asks “lunch?” Best of all, we have a virtual cat our developers built on Slack. It’s our “Ping Pong Cat” that automatically manages and keeps track of our hotly contested Ping Pong league. Though I can’t compete in our ping-pong tournaments while I’m in the UK, I can still feel a part of it all. And now that I’m visiting, I’ve been able to get my own name on the Ping Pong ladder!
People First, Product Second
TINT has transparency and innovation running through its veins and it’s amazing being part of such a forward thinking company. Our platform is not the heart of the company – the people are. We support each other, make decisions as a group, and work as collaboratively as possible.
Its tough – its all-hands to the deck every now and again, and start-up life is not for everyone. But for me, I look forward to my day, love starting my week, wrapping up my weeks achievements and planning the next one.