Tag Archives: company culture

CloudTalk: Shred the WebiGnar

Carving through the epic trees at Vail you’ll find Connor McKeown — a self-proclaimed weekend warrior with a yen for the Colorado outdoors. On any given powder day, skiing is his full-time job. However, between snowstorms we have him and his team to thank for their steadfast engineering and infrastructural support of ReadyTalk. Here are his reflections on reaching a company milestone, plus the stand-out stories of the office we know and love.   

Q: Looking back at your time here, what was the most impressive moment for your team?

A: There are many that come to mind but one in particular I will never forget. Throughout 2015, we had a company goal of hitting 60,000 active ReadyTalk access codes in a rolling 30-day period. In other words, 60,000 individuals with ReadyTalk login credentials were using their accounts within a 30-day window. In November of that year, we hit our goal. It was exciting — both for the new guys like me and for the ReadyTalkers that worked so hard to achieve it. So, as you’d expect, we ended up at our favorite local spot to celebrate. The party fell on my first day at ReadyTalk — talk about a warm welcome.

Q: Can you think of a time when you had to react quickly to a technical problem?

A: Not long ago our engineering team had a scheduled boot drive upgrade for a subset of our production system infrastructure. That’s tech speak for “new hardware.” Even though it was on the calendar with plenty of attention and preparation beforehand, it did not go smoothly. A handful of us were up all night working though our contingency plans — several of which failed as a result of a third-party installation. Although this caused an overnight snafu at the time, it brought out the best in everyone from our team. When all hands were on deck during this unforeseen event, it definitely made me proud of my colleagues. We work with vendors that supply some of our infrastructure services; which are essential for ReadyTalk to run at full capacity. Sometimes the glitch is out of your control, but our engineers know how to pull through in a tough situation to keep our services operating at the level our customers expect.

Q: What makes ReadyTalk such a great place to work?

A: It’s true that we have a lot of fun while at the office, but we also like to do off-site events. Several teams find their way to Top Golf for team outings. One of my teams made 150 sack lunches to give out to homeless people and then we followed up the good deed with a Rockies game that afternoon. A common thread that ties our company together is the idea of getting to know each other. Not just someone’s “working self” but building actual friendships that strengthen our professional identities. It works very well and transcends our daily work responsibilities. On the engineering side, our systems that support ReadyTalk products are quite complicated, but my peers are great at explaining things clearly so that anyone in the business can understand. I truly love being associated with some of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Hopefully one of these days it rubs off on me haha.

CloudTalk: Tech Culture and Product Evolution

 

Heard from down the hall and around the corner is the undisputed best laugh at ReadyTalk. Samantha Morgan is our Senior Product Manager with four years contributing to the ReadyTalk roadmap. Sam’s zest for tech and cultural charisma is what helps make ReadyTalk great. Ask anyone and they’ll tell you — Sam is the personification of our ReadyTalk brand. Read about her day-to-day balancing act of backend geekery and front-end friendliness.

 

Q: What motivates you the most?

A: I love that each day there are new and different challenges that we need to resolve. Most of these solutions directly benefit our customers. I can tell you about the hardest project that I worked on and how it ended up having the biggest benefit. Upgrading our participant interface from Flash to an HTML5 client was no easy task. So think about it this way — it was a change that impacted our customers’ customers, partners, and teammates. In our industry there’s constant demand for change and improvement because technology is always evolving. HTML5 added new layers of backend security protection and front-end quality for users.         

Q: What made the HTML5 change so difficult for you and our engineering team?

A: In short, it’s new technology. It’s an introduction of new services that supports our critical lines of business. We work with buyers that use ReadyTalk for a variety of reasons — work collaboration, huge webinar presentations, different audio types, etc. When there’s a large volume of people hosting and joining events on a new client it’s critical that we minimize disruption of their services. This means mitigating browser limitations for all customers and their most important people.

 

Q: Why are you so invested in ReadyTalk’s culture?

A: Because I believe that we work in a place where people are empowered to make decisions and influence the progression of our company. It comes down to loving where you work. I appreciate that we are highly accountable for our own actions. We care about our mission, purpose, and each other. And most of all we care about how our work serves our customers. “Our most important people” is an expression I like using as it relates to business and service. So when we find new people to come and work for ReadyTalk we try very hard to match those goals and expectations.    

 

Q: Describe ReadyTalk in one word?

A: Dynamic

Is Good Company Culture Really About Ping Pong and Beer?

I often hear about how great the “culture” of an organization is. You know, where people are bragging that they get to wear jeans, use the in-office gym, drink beer, and play ping pong.

What is culture anyway?

This is what I get when I Google “culture”: The complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.

Culture is more than hacky sack, lattes and smoothies. Culture is more than just the superficial trappings of a cool place to work.

I mean, ReadyTalk has an informal culture, food and fun activities. We have beer. We have ping pong. We have casual dress and an in-office gym. But we have more than that — we care about each other and our customers, accept and revel in new ideas, trust people to make good decisions, and show results, too.

It’s about caring

Caring about others is important here. We have brown bag sessions on empathy and how to help customers. We do this naturally — it’s who our leaders are and who we’ve hired. I mean, I’m pretty results driven and wondered if this kind of caring and compassionate environment could deliver results. But we can and we do. In fact, I think the caring enables us to deliver better results, and with more thought. We band together and help each other out. And we’re respectful of everyone and consider all sides of the issue. We really don’t have any in-fighting among departments either. We trust each other.

what is company culture

Culture is about innovation, at least to us

New ideas and innovation are important to us. We like to deliver good products that really solve a need, letting people be productive. As the Chief Strategy Officer, I get to see cool ideas come to fruition like our video meeting and collaboration tool — FoxDen. It’s really awesome and the on-site meeting box is so easy to set up. We were able to develop this in about a year and already the team has ideas on how to expand and improve. That’s the culture here, too — creative. I like that.

Culture is trusting people to make the decisions you hire them to make

Part of what helps ideas come to light is decision making. We haven’t always been so good at this, but we’re turning a corner. Like most companies, ReadyTalk was fairly hierarchical. Fortunately, we have kind leadership and caring to make the culture better. But it meant everyone was waiting around until a decision was made – decisions they were perfectly capable of making. Things were taking longer than they should. Now, we’re pioneering Culture 2.0 at ReadyTalk. What would happen if as a result of knowing that you are cared about that now you were trusted to make sound decisions? Would engagement and job satisfaction increase? Ultimately, would the company perform better? Heck yeah; we think so. We’re empowering our team members to make the decisions, and our team members have a way to get the right advice about the decisions. We’re expecting good results — faster decisions, too.

I recently read an article about a leading predictor about the health of technology companies in Silicon Valley. The leading indicator was ping pong table sales! The article stated that there was concern about how Silicon Valley companies were doing because the number of ping pong tables being sold were decreasing quarter over quarter. I think culture is more than beer and ping pong. It’s the belief in teams, the expectations of what the team can deliver and the ability to trust and enable teams. It’s knowing and allowing team members to be experts – what they were hired to do. It’s also the caring compassion and innovation. That’s ReadyTalk!