How Travis CI Is Fixing Company Culture By Taking On ‘Culture’

Travis CI

Travis CI

Here’s a loaded phrase in the startup world: culture fit.

It’s a term with humble early intentions that has grown weeds and sprouted out of its container. It started as a simple way of talking about whether a new hire and current team would work well together. It’s grown into a loaded gun of baggage and misappropriation. It’s used to hire unqualified people and fire great ones.

Mathias Meyer, CEO at Travis CI, started to notice a problem with “culture fit” and the way it was implemented at many companies. It seemed to him like “culture fit” was doing the opposite, and holding company cultures back. Companies, if not careful, would create a monoculture, with everyone acting and thinking the same way. This is terrible for creativity and growth.

Or as Meyer put it in an excellent blog post:

“There’s one fundamental mistake in both using and looking for culture fit as a means for hiring: You’re assuming that your current culture is healthy and doesn’t need to be changed.”

I chatted with Meyer about his thoughts on culture fit, growing Travis CI and what they’re doing to create an authentic company culture.

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How Noah Kagan Taught Me The Two Simplest Things About Planning Growth

Every field has “that guy.” Everyone in the industry knows of them and their work. Many secretly try to emulate them — or flat out copy them. They are the person crushing it. They are the person your boss wishes they could have hired instead of you.

If you’re doing marketing for a startup company, that guy is Noah Kagan. Noah was employee #30 at Facebook and helped grow Mint.com into the personal finance juggernaut it is today. He is founder at AppSumo, which offers discounts on tools to grow businesses and websites. He’s built things you use every day.

And he probably has your email address.

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51 Free Tools To Start A Business

 

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Trying to start a business is never easy. Being an entrepreneur means sticking your neck — and wallet — on the line for a product you believe in. It won’t be cheap. There will be plenty of costs, some you’ve never expected. Thankfully, there are free tools to start a business available online.

We’ve compiled this list of free tools to start a business. Many of them we used here to help build iDoneThis. Others we wish had existed when we started.

Building a business will be one of the hardest things you ever do. But thankfully there are these free tools get you started building the business you’ve always dreamed of.

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How To Solve The 8 Causes Of Workplace Conflict

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The workplace is for work. You’re are here to get things done, grow the business, improve the world and get better at whatever it is that you do.

It’s not a place for squabbling with coworkers, managers and subordinates. But that’s what seems to happen. Workplace conflict is everywhere, eating up productivity and taking precious time away from the things that really matter.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The causes of workplace conflict are recognizable. In separate articles on workplace conflict, psychologists Art Bell and Brett Hart identified eight common causes of conflict in the workplace. Think about the conflicts you’ve had in the workplace. You’d be hard-pressed to find on you can’t trace back to one of these root causes.

It’s important to see workplace conflict this way, as a symptom of a great structural problem. That argument with the boss over coming in on Saturday isn’t really about coming in on Saturday. It’s about the misaligned expectations and poor communication that led you to have to come in on Saturday. In other words, the problem is bigger than the problem.

Thankfully, smart and innovative companies are changing the way we work — and eradicating the causes of workplace conflict at the source. Here’s a look at the eight causes and what great companies are doing about them.

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How SimpleReach Learned Sales The Hard Way

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The founders at SimpleReach knew they were on to something. Everything seemed to be in place.

Great product, great team, great market.

There was just one problem.

“Like most B2B companies we just took the approach of ‘build it and they will come’. But that’s just not the case,” said Eric Lubow, CTO and Co-Founder at SimpleReach.

Or as their CEO Edward Kim put it on Twitter: “One of the biggest lessons I learned the hard way – great product is cost of entry, but sales determines whether you win or lose.”

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How To Obsess Over Customers Like Jeff Bezos

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What external metric is your company most proud of? Facebook likes? SEO ranking?

For Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, it just might be this: each year, the company is ranked at the top of its category and often top overall on a national index measuring customer satisfaction among America’s largest companies.

Sounds a little dry, a little technical. But it reflects Amazon’s mission in the strongest way possible.

Bezos is famously customer-focused. “Obsess over customers,” he has said. While some companies chose to obsess over competition (or default to obsessing over competition because it feels right) Bezos has consistently chose to push Amazon to obsess over the customer.

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How Distractions Ruin The Most Important Thing You Can Be Doing At Work

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We live in the most distracting time in history. When else did people have access to so much information with so little effort?

It’s a phenomenon that can be both beautiful and terrible. You can easily stumble on to a new favorite song, or a link to a book that changes your life. You can take personalized Portuguese lessons with a native speaker without leaving your house. Or…

Cats. So many cats. One click on a Facebook link can send you down the rabbit hole of lost time and missed productivity. Who knows how many hours and dollars you’re costing yourself in the long run.

Even worse, we’re most susceptible to these kind of distractions at work, where our attention and energy is at its most vulnerable.

Not only is it taking away your time. And taking away your money. It’s taking away the most valuable, important thing you can be doing at work.

It’s taking away your flow.

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Asynchronous Communication Is The Future Of Work

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Synchronous communication. Add this to the long list of things about working that will puzzle your grandkids.

“Tell us about fax machines again, grandpa.”

“And what about synchronous communication?”

Well just have a seat, sonny. Let me tell you a story.

Synchronous communication meant when I exchanged information at the office, you had to send AND receive the information at the same time. So I would call someone on the phone, wait for them to pick up, say some information while at the exact same moment they received that information. It happened all the time. Even way back in 2015 when we had all sorts of tools to stop it, it happened all the time.

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How Procrastination Can Be Your Best Productivity Tool

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Consider the cliche job interview question — What’s your biggest weakness?* What’s the worst answer you can give?

“I’m a procrastinator.”

Probably no quicker way to ensure you’re “not the right fit” for that job. No matter what the job is.

Procrastination has become one of the ugliest words in modern work. It’s practitioners are stigmatized more than employees who make bad choices and blow up the company. They at least were doing something, the thinking goes.

But what if we’re thinking about it all wrong. What if the impulse to procrastinate is one of the more valuable tools we have?

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How To Keep Great Employees Once You Conquer The World

How to keep great employees

Landing an early role at a hyper-growth company like Facebook or Google seems like a dream. It seems like something you’d never want to walk away from.

So why do so many great people do exactly that? What can keep great employees from taking off?

And if you’re running one of these organizations, how do you keep great employees — those who helped build the organization — from hitting the road once you’ve achieved big success. It almost seems inevitable.

When the going gets tough, the tough show up.

When it stops being tough, they go find something else.

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