An early-stage founder asked me over dinner, how we explore new paths and product ideas to accelerate growth at Sendbird. I’d like to share a program we introduced earlier this year at our company. We spun up a small tiger team to tackle a new idea. Operating like a small startup, this team was self-contained to a certain extent (e.g. PM, engineer, & designer), was given the autonomy to go talk to customers, pitch an idea of an offering, price things and sell if they needed to, and prototype a working model. An executive (in this case myself) was sponsoring the initiative, so that we can unblock resources and processes along the way.
Initially, the team booked an airbnb in Vancouver Canada, and lived & worked there together for a month. I also flew out to spend 2 weeks with the team (I had to come back earlier due to our quarterly board meeting) but for me it was one of the most productive times since Sendbird entered growth/later stage!
As part of a new initiative to strengthen SendBird‘s brand, market presence, and reach our developer community better, we’ve decided to start a long-term brand campaign, including, yes, a billboard.
While we’ve debated whether this was really a SendBird-way to engage our developer community, given that a lot of our current and future customers are heavily concentrated in the San Francisco Bay Area, we decided to move forward with the campaign.
Due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, the billboard campaign may not have the initial scale of impact we had planned for, but we decided to use this time window to address a bigger message for our Bay Area community. Instead of focusing on what we do and our value proposition, we crafted and delivered a message to give hope and empathize with the community.
We’re in this together
We’ll continue to engage and stay connected with our local community of developers around the world, and this is just the beginning of great things to come!
PS. If you want to check it out in person, it’s on 7th St and Harrison St in San Francisco, CA.
One of the macro trends we’re seeing in the software industry today is the rise of the API economy. API (Application Programming Interface) allows implementation, operation, and maintenance to become simpler by providing a set of input rules to the developers outside of the API software and giving them functionalities and processed results in return.
As discussed in the management framework #2 — abstraction and reduction — API is analogous to hiring a good management layer in a company, to provide more leverage to the developer allowing productivity gain through an abstraction layer of software. This abstraction stage is a critical phase in any industry to grow exponentially, as in any complex-enough industry, building all of the value chain end-to-end becomes infeasible and the trade-off between control and speed/quality/resource gets exponentially larger.
Company values are what the people within the organization believe in. Decisions, actions, hires/fires, promotions/demotions are based on the company values and they are the fundamental building blocks for a strong, great company culture.
Of course, there are many good values in the world, but company values cannot list them all. Rather, the company’s core values should embody a set of unique beliefs, and should be simple enough to be remembered and used during daily conversations and work.
So, without further ado, here are our seven core values at SendBird:
1. Endless tenacity for customers
“Only the paranoid survive” – Andy Grove, Intel
Customers existed before a company did. Facing a problem, few people dared to find a solution, and customer value was created. The organized and deliberate effort of finding a solution later evolved to become a company that we know today. We exist to satisfy the customers, then to leap beyond the status quo and create innovative solutions to problems that the customers are not even aware of yet. The journey will be challenging and frustrating, but endless tenacity is the only path to the true customer happiness.