If you don’t already know me, I am Emilie queen of culture at Wild Audience. 👸🏻
I am writing this new report from the north of France where I am currently visiting family and friends. When I am not on the road, I live on an island in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of the Scottish mainland. Over there, I’ll be found swimming in the sea, walking or doing something outdoorsy. I also like to stay cosy indoors painting, reading books by candlelight and cooking dinner with friends when weather-bound.
We had a beautiful autumn in the French countryside and I really made the most of it by going for walks every day.
Anyhoo… I am here to tell you the story of our team while we grow our products Wildmetrics and Wild Mail. This report which is now called the People & Culture Report has evolved a lot lately and it will continue to do so. It will now focus on the team and the culture we are trying to build. I’ll share my experiences, thoughts, and learnings as we progress on this journey and open up about the challenges and topics that are perhaps avoided sometimes.
There will be a new section on our website soon where you will be able to find all our finance updates. We have just decided to separate things a bit more and in the meantime, you can find our stats on our social media pages here and here.
You can still find our past reports on our Culture page here. With no further due, welcome back to our Culture & People Report series!
Before I get started with my usual ramble, here is a quick team update from the summer.
Luis (Growth Specialist) comes from Venezuela and lives in Valencia, Spain with his wife. He has joined the growth team and we are super excited to have him onboard. Luis is very curious and enthusiastic and he loves to learn new things. He loves football and sports in general and loves going to the beach. We couldn’t imagine a better addition to our team. Welcome, Luis!
Benji (Growth Specialist) attended a friend’s wedding in the Austrian Alps during the summer.
Pancho (Engineering Team Lead) took his family on a trip to Villa La Angostura in Patagonia (Argentina) to spend some quality time in the mountains.
Andreea (Customer Support Specialist) went to the Pyrenees with her husband for a well-deserved break.
Alban (Fullstack Developer) also went to the Pyrenees to do some canyoning or mountain biking with friends. He also took part in an open mic in Barcelona with his partner Lumi.
Basti (CEO and Product Lead) spent the summer with his partner Lena adventuring between Spain, Austria and Portugal and visiting friends and family.
Jason (Growth Specialist) enjoyed the summer in Spain with his partner Carol and met his cousin’s fiance’s brother. He also attended Patrick Wind’s Mastermind in Barcelona.
Franco (FullStack Developer) went to a tech event called Nerdearla in Buenos Aires where he attended some interesting talks about quantum computing.
Leandro (Tech Lead) took his family for a little adventure to Malaga, went surfing in Fuengirola (the first session of the season) and celebrated his son’s birthday in the park with friends and family.
Team meet-ups during Q3
Growth leadership and its challenges
If you remember well, Benji became our growth lead in Q2 right after coming back from paternity leave which wasn’t without challenges. New responsibilities added overnight such as editing the work of team members, giving feedback and answering questions in Asana every day, and creating strategies and planning while continuing to grow the company and adding MRR resulted in a lot of stress. That stress was felt by everyone: Benji, his family and the whole team. After a few months and a lot of reflection from both sides (Benji and Bastian), a difficult decision was made for Benji not to continue with this role. It wasn’t the right time and pushing Benji to take on this role too early was our mistake. This was a big lesson learnt for us and not a comfortable place to be. No doubt he will be an amazing leader when the time comes. In the meantime, Bastian is stepping up as the growth lead.
Engineering team update
Another update within the team is the new structure for the engineering team. Leandro and Pancho have both stepped into new shoes lately. Leandro is now the tech lead and Pancho is the engineering team lead. This is exciting news for both and I must say, for me too as I get to work with Pancho on everything culture related. He is passionate about culture as much as I am so it’s great to work closely with someone else on this.
You know I love a ramble, and as usual, I have got a few things in mind I wanted to share with you.
We often hear that remote work means more time, freedom and flexibility. You can do more, connect more, and achieve more. You also hear that it is the opposite. Working remotely means doing less, slowing down and focusing on things that matter. The truth is, remote working looks different to everyone. It can mean anything and take different shapes or forms depending on your situation and that is the beauty of it. You can shape it so that it fits you and your life. Remote working is what you make of it as an individual and also as a company.
As a company, we need to create a remote culture that gives space for our team members to grow, evolve and create their own ecosystem within the company ecosystem. We are all different. We all have different lifestyles and situations so you can’t expect everyone to fit in within a structure that is not inclusive to everyone. Creating this space and this culture doesn’t happen by itself and requires a lot of work. I also believe it is a constant work in progress as we evolve through the ebb and flow of life and business.
Some of us will want to do more and some of us will want to do less. Our priorities change as we go through life and it is our responsibility to always evolve and adapt this culture so that everyone is listened to, included and has the space to grow with and within the company but also outside the company.
Isolation is a big problem when working remotely, we’ve talked about it. You can lose that connection with the people you work with or it can be harder to connect with them. You can also work too much and just stay at home being completely on your own all day every day and not connect with anyone. That is a fact. “Connection” can be seen as a negative of remote working but I believe it has the potential to be one of its biggest positives of it. I also think it is easy to fall into this vicious circle and get stuck with it. Hence having a company culture that allows you to be flexible and create your own remote framework.
With the right culture, remote working can be an extremely powerful tool that helps you connect more with the people around you physically and by that I mean your family, your friends and simply your community. You can have more time during the day/week to get involved and volunteer, help your neighbours, and spend quality time with your family and friends. A good remote culture will allow you to do that. So maybe you’re not that connected with the people you work with but at home, you will be more connected than you’ve ever been. You will thrive in your life and consequently at work too. With the right setup, working remotely will allow you to invest and develop more connections and relationships in your life, which is what we all need/want.
Remote working also means you can do less, you can have more time to do nothing, to exist, to be, to spend time with family, bake, read a book, to sit in your garden watching the cloud go by.
This is not always easy to implement and at Wild Audience we constantly need to be reminded of it. We all have different life situations and try to find that balance which will benefit us as individuals and as a team.
A lot of people are sceptical about remote working saying it would be impossible to focus because they lack self-discipline. I agree that self-discipline is a key factor for it to be successful, but the problem I have faced myself and seen in my team is slightly different. We sometimes find it hard to stop ourselves from working. We end up working long hours and we finish our day three hours later than planned for example. I am pretty sure everyone who works or has worked remotely has experienced both.
This is a topic that Pancho and I have been discussing a lot lately as some of us in the team are struggling with this. We obviously know that self-discipline is very personal and there is a limit to what we can do as a company, but we can still introduce tools that will help every team member find that balance which will make them thrive and where the company will thrive too.
Set an alarm when you want to finish your day and stick to it. Do this until it becomes a habit, and the same with breaks to go for a walk, go for lunch etc. We are creatures of habits and it takes time and intention to set new habits and build a new routine.
Review your daily goal(s), maybe you have set up unrealistic goals and you’ve got too much on the to-do list that prevents you from finishing on time.
Being sat in front of a computer for 8h straight is counterproductive, you cannot be productive for that amount of time, it will make you unhappy, and stressed and you’ll end up making mistakes. Allow yourself to relax, live, experience things and make memories during the day. Step away from your computer, and do something you love or spend time with your family and friends. You will have more clarity, more energy, and maybe new ideas for your current tasks as you’ll see things with a new and fresh perspective. You need experiences to fuel your thoughts and your creativity, so don’t forget to live as it will benefit your work.
Some resources about remote work and remote culture that I have been enjoying lately:
Doist’s blog about remote work here
Nathan Barry’s on how to build a great remote culture here
Everything you need to know about remote work with Gitlab here
Topics I am interested in at the moment:
That’s it for me today. If you have any tips or questions don’t hesitate to email us or get in touch via our social media I’d be happy to chat.
See you in our next report 🙂