Culture at TwoSix, from a new guy

I wanted to share about the company’s culture from a ‘new-insider’ perspective.  I started at the company, in August 2017 and am writing this in November.  These are my experiences.

“We’re getting together this weekend at a nearby park.  Bring your family, it’ll be fun! “

This was my first introduction to the culture of TwoSix Labs.  It was family/ kid friendly.  Probably more family / kid friendly than any of the previous companies I’ve worked at.  No forced hand shaking, no speeches, just time in the park to hangout with everyone.

Immediately after starting, I was greeted by everyone I met as a new member of the team.  It was a vibe of “Welcome to the Team!  We’re doing cool work and always like more hands to help”.  This was fantastic as I dove into my new position of ‘helping do cool work’.

Having worked with teams for a variety of years, from the corporate level to the military side and even to the smaller day to day agile teams, understanding the culture is always the biggest focus.  During my initial few weeks, everyone was cheerful.  Not a single downtrodden person.  No Eeyores (the always sad Donkey from Winnie the Pooh)

This is huge!   Everyone had a focus as well as time to interact and help find a solution!  I was fortunate enough to work with a variety of staff, to include the President and CEO on a high visibility project right from the beginning.  In a quick time period, we built a plan, rehearsed it and ‘deployed’ it within weeks.  All with feedback along the way.

The entire team was focused on the goal, with support along the way.  This included several managers, who were also focused on the company goal and not an individual KPI of some sort.

There is an incredible feedback loop of great work delivering new ideas and solutions, that generates new challenges, that are solved and so forth.  I haven’t met anyone in this period of time that isn’t actively seeking solutions to their problem set.  Everyone is open to new ideas and sharing for the betterment of the customer, the company and the team.

Speaking of team, in this image, you’ll see my favorite things at TwoSix Labs.  It’s a whiteboard on the side of the fridge.

If you write anything on this board, it magically appears in the kitchen.

Note the simple requests at the top of the whiteboard.  Nothing extreme or overly complex.  Not pictured is the opposite wall of healthy snacks (that’s contributed to me losing a little weight :) )  Also notice how everyone recognizes the contributions of the team who stocked the kitchen and keeps it stocked.  It’s this mutual appreciation that carries so much in maintaining such an awesome culture within the company.

I’ve worked at several companies.  I’ve seen a variety of ways that culture is developed.  I’ve spoken at various events on Culture.  At TwoSix Labs, everyone actively works to make the culture great.  This isn’t done by chanting “CULTURE CULTURE CULTURE”.  It’s done with the informal lunches in the ‘lunchroom’.  It’s done with the active listening while interacting in the kitchen.  It’s developed and maintained by a team.

The internal focus on personal development is significant as well.  From the supported education to the different speakers during lunch presenting on their advanced topics on Data Science and Machine Learning.  This has been a fantastic place to develop, deliver and be a part of something incredible!

When you join the company, I’ll be one of the teammates helping to keep things stocked for you.

Just to follow up, when I went to that park with my family that very first weekend it was fun.  And it’s been fun ever since!