First of all, greetings from San Francisco. I am here with Tatu and other great folks from the MINN – Master for 10 days in total. I have been visited a bunch of real cool and inspiring organizations around Europe e.g. Funky Projects, The Hub Madrid, NRG, Aalto Design Factory, Hasso Platner Institute of Design nearby Berlin and at Stanford, Tiimiakatemia, Sol Services, etc etc. but today a visit to Twitter was the most inspiring I have ever visited. Thanks so much to our nice and great hosts Monica & Mark. This was only a hour visit so all is based on the first impressions which were excellent, but some of the things stated here maybe just my imagination as well. However, it was really inspiring, and here is why:
1) The Cafeteria / Cantina to where you land as you enter their offices in San Francisco seems like you are in an American college, probably just with cooler people. And I have never been to a company cantina with a DJ set like in a night club. Great varieties of coffee, possibility to make yourself a cappuccino big variety of other drinks and foods for the employees to eat and drink. Many people were working in the company cafeteria.
2) Flexible work-time and trust on the employees. Nobody had a ”kellokortti” or other ways of monitoring the time they spent at the office. Instead there was a doorman at the ground floor of the building and a receptionist. I asked about the work time and people work as much needed to fill their responsibilities on the time they want. Self-leadership required, freedom and responsibility given.
3) 8 operating principles / ideals for the company which we promised not to tweet in public. Anycase, few of them are available online e.g. in this 2010 SXSW Keynote interview with EV, one of the founders. ”Be a force for good.”
4) Internal feedback system where any employee can ask question from the senior management. The Q’s are evaluated by other employees and most rated will be answered by the end of the week. This is a weekly routine, not once or twice a year thing. Also there’s an ideas email list that everybody can post that goes to whole company.
5) This is the first visit in SFO where people came to talk with us. ”Are you in Fashion business?” Seems like the culture encourages connecting and smiling.
6) DJ’s and after work parties on Fridays. Great to build the company spirit and making the ideas flow around. I believe it’s important to encourage the heart. Celebrate mistakes (learnings) and victories.
7) That a relatively big corporation of 700 ppl can have such a good spirit. I think this was the key source of inspiration for me.
Why all this was so inspiring to me? I guess when you see a company that is run like I would run (”happy workers are more productive and better in co-operation”) is inspiring. The company is only about 5-6 years old. Based on what I saw it seems to operate totally differently compared to other companies of that caliber that I have seen in e.g. Finland. Also the fact that Twitter has changed the world inspires me. The visit inspired me to re-think the vision I’ve had about the size of Monkey Business. Instead of 20, 50, 100 or 200 people, I think it would be great to have a company of 700 people, just like Twitter. If 700 people concentrate on doing something cool and important, something cool and important will happen.