March 10, 2008
March 1, 2008
February 21, 2008
November 18, 2006
End of September, Om Malik asked me to share Sphere’s experiences (on his new, very popular blog Web Worker Daily) of what it’s like to build a virtual company. Everyone of our key team members are living in different areas – the four founders are based in San Francisco, Seattle & Denver. We have team members living in Vancouver, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, San Francisco, New York, and Boston. Our Advisors are based in San Francisco, Connecticut, New York, Boston and Atlanta. In the post, we talked about the tools we use to keep everyone on the same page, working toward the same goals.
We also talked a little bit about the challenge creating a culture that serves as a foundation for success. The culture piece is a little less straightforward. In fact, I’ve never met five of our key team members. Here are a few obvious things we do to develop a feel for each other:
- we make sure we talk multiple times each day, EVERYDAY
- we do a group call every Tuesday (Tech team) and Friday (Business Team)
- we engage people on a series of projects before signing them on as team members
- the founders meet physically at least once a quarter
We’re also trying a few new things. We’re opening our internal blog up to our Advisors and Investors who have a vested interest in Sphere – we hope this will foster a stronger bond between our team and the people most supportive in helping us pursue our dream. Another example, last month we had a pizza party – the idea was that each team member would receive a pizza at their homes for a group call and mini celebration of our accomplishments to date – it kinda worked and kinda didn’t. Everyone was excited about it but it was logistically a bit hard to pull off. A couple of our team members did get their pizza (see below photo from our SysAdmin Mike) while the rest of us were jealous to hear their greasy hands on their keyboards. I think we’ll try it again as everyone liked the idea.
If you’re building a virtual company, we’d love to hear your thoughts on what does/ doesn’t work in your virtual environment.
September 14, 2006
It’s hard to put a value on a winning team. It’s like the commercials touting quality time and precious moments. It’s priceless.
It’s one thing to know you have a good product or to feel instinctually that what you’re doing is right, groundbreaking even.
It’s quite another thing to attract the caliber of talent that’s been drawn to the Sphere Operating Advisory Board.
Simple yet sophisticated, Sphere has already won accolades from the technical press and blog community, which is no small feat in the Web 2.0 era of daily launches of new app’s. The applications for Sphere’s technology are brimming with promise. We announced yesterday that Josh Macht and Ron McCoy are joining our Operating Advisory Board (see announcement). Adding the editorial production expertise of Josh and technical acumen of Ron can only signal wise and important developments to come.
The Sphere board of Operating Advisors is already a stellar group. Toni Schneider, the type of guy you hope you get to work with on a number of fun problems. He led Oddpost, helping Iain (Lamb) and Ethan (Diamond) to change the web mail space and now he’s working with Matt Mullenweg (also a Sphere Advisor) and the WordPress community to create an intuitive, community driven blog experience. Matt, wise beyond his years and just plain brilliant brings a wealth of knowledge about blogs and bloggers. WordPress gets some of the best buzz in the blogosphere for simple tools, openness and responsiveness. Mary Hodder was thinking, writing and talking about blogs before the term was a hot button. Her instincts about the user experience and community are noteworthy. And, if you know anything about Scott Kurnit, you know he’s one of the quickest and sharpest minds working behind the scenes for the companies he thinks are both interesting and valuable to the net community.
So with Josh and Ron, we now have six Operating Advisors to work alongside our six team members – one for each of us – :). More importantly, we’ve added depth to our team to help us think through scaling and how editors and algorithms can work together to create a great discovery experience. These guys are already making a big difference in how we think about both of these areas and I’m excited to see if you like some of the upcoming changes we’re making to the service. A great product, a warm reception, a winning team. Priceless. Stay tuned.
August 25, 2006
Sphere is Hiring
Sphere is getting too popular, so we’re hiring! We’re looking for some talented, passionate self-starters to join our team and help us keep up with Sphere’s growth. We’re looking for:
- a Partner Engineer to help us create and deploy solutions for our publisher partners;
- a Software Engineer – Search to help us grow our infrastructure;
- a Crawling Team Member to help keep content acquisition humming along; and
- some talented QA people to help us ensure quality across all of our processes.
If you’re a talented, motivated, Web 2.0 enthusiast who can maintain superlative productivity in a distributed environment, check out http://www.sphere.com/jobs to get more detail.