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Startups, Culture, and Robots

When I walked through the door last night after work, my 9 year-old daughter jumped up and said, “Daddy, you’ve got to see the Robots!” Robots… huh?

This matters why? Let me explain…

There’s been a lot of buzz about work culture on social media and in the lines for an iced-coffee as of late – much of it spurred by a recent New York Times article on Amazon.

It just so happens that this week marked the one-year anniversary of my joining Indix as VP of Marketing. Having worked at companies both large (Microsoft) and small (The Modo Group), I fully expected that working at a VC backed startup would be a whole new experience.

And it is. Indix is one of a kind.

Why?

Indix is setting out to organize, analyze and visualize the world’s product information so everyone can act on it. And with offices in Seattle, San Francisco, and Chennai, India, there is someone literally working around the clock toward that vision.

Indix is also doing it in a way where it’s OK – in fact employees are encouraged – to “have a life” while working hard and smart.

It all stems from our CEO Sanjay and the other Indix founders’ leading by example with commitment, conviction and an unprecedented level of transparency on our journey. And, it’s amplified by their unyielding focus on nurturing the Indix values everyday: Trust, Support, Challenge, Fun.

Robots at Forest Ridge

Robot at Forest Ridge

For me, culture is like fabric – there are many threads and textures that give it strength, durability and appeal. The benefit of this investment in culture at Indix was brought home to me in the most simple of ways. I was physically there for my daughter to tell me all about her experience with robots at a Forest Ridge STEAM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Arts. Math.) camp for girls.

She smiled. She laughed. She showed me the video.  Well… you had to be there.

And I was.

I realize, of course, that it wasn’t just that I was home that one night.  Somehow, over the last year, while working at an intensity and pace that rivaled my early days working on the launch of the first Xbox, I managed to be present with my family when it mattered. I’ve been able to listen and share in a 9 year-old’s joys, sorrows, and questions.

Maybe it is simply because I have a few more candles on my birthday cake and I can set “boundaries.” But I think not. I think it’s because Indix, and everyone that works here, recognizes that having a life is the key to doing amazing work.

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