1B Weir Street has taught me a lot about startup culture.
The term is obtuse. It gets thrown around like confetti and as a student fresh out of high school, it’s easy to get confused.
My expectations of working at a startup company were grim. I imagined a dingy garage somewhere on the outskirts of the city, I saw 3 or 4 employees hustling for advancement and a budget that had stretch for Tim-Tams in the tearoom.
ActivePipe isn’t like that at all.
A startup isn’t defined by its position in the market, it’s defined by the way it’s team work together; by the connections they form and the values they rank.
Before this job, I’d only ever worked in retail or hospitality. I’d get barked at if I spoke to a friend, I’d have to ask to go the bathroom and I’d have to hide to reply to mum’s text.
The contrast of working at ActivePipe is stark.
We have a community of trust:
There are no cameras here; there are no locks on doors or people looking over your shoulder to make sure you are working. Management trust you to get the job done and you deliver as a result.
We have dynamic work spaces:
Start-ups revolt against the cubicle. That kind of confinement isn’t productive; we aren’t animals in cages or horses about to race, we are fully capable of operating without blinders.
We opt for mobile working stations instead- for lounging around on a beanbag, calling a client in the sun and collaborating in the boardroom. It’s about finding a space that suits your needs, that motivates you to get shit done.
Our input is appreciated:
People value what you have to say. The brief is given and you have creative liberty within the outlined constraints. You were hired because you are good at what you do so tell your business how to kick their competition’s ass.
We are given credit:
How terrible is busting your balls for someone who doesn’t appreciate you?
Workplaces aren’t supposed to be conniving they’re supposed to be cooperative.
At ActivePipe we are given credit for the work we do. That kind of recognition gives a girl confidence; it’s dignity that makes her shine!
We ask questions and help each other when we are stuck:
The number one rule is to help each other out. We work together to advance each other’s skills and obsolete the word “impossible”. At the end of the day we are racing towards the same finish line and we are cheering each other on to get there
We appreciate diversity:
I don’t think you could get a more varied bunch if you tried. Our office is full of doctors, dropouts, skaters and musicians. There are teenagers and people in their 60s and every ethnic group from Russian to Kiwi. This variety is our strength, it means our skill set is broad and our worldview is wide.
We have fun:
I don’t think I’ve ever laughed harder than the day Craig wore one black and one brown boot to work.
Actually, that’s a lie. I almost peed my pants the time we brought the roof down playing foosball. The tournament is release from long and intense periods of concentration and with competition so rife, it gets the right kind of adrenalin surging.
At the end of the day, no two startups are the same. You have creative license to design a culture that you love and an identity that reflects who your team is.
Make sure the energy in your office motivates. It is the key to profits that soar and employees that stay.