Enplug Interviews: Dane Atkinson on SumAll Company Culture
SumAll is a cross-platform marketing analytics company that helps businesses take control of their data. Enplug talked with SumAll CEO Dane Atkinson about the company’s culture. At SumAll, transparency and innovative leadership bring the team together.
“We started this company before we knew what product we’d wanted to build, but with the knowledge that we wanted to create a very different kind of company.”
“At SumAll, no one has a manager, so the most important quality at SumAll is being able to direct yourself to the most important problems.”
“Our weekly leadership team meeting is open to the entire company.”
Company fun fact: SumAll has a transparent salary policy to level the playing field and close the gender wage gap.
How would you sum up (no pun intended) SumAll’s culture, mission and people?
SumAll’s mission for our product is to help every business make smarter decisions with their data, but our mission for our culture is even more ambitious. We started this company before we knew what product we’d wanted to build, but with the knowledge that we wanted to create a very different kind of company. We do that by having a culture that promotes the idea of total transparency. Our transparent culture informs just about everything we do, from everyone knowing each other’s salaries to major strategic choices being discussed and debated with the entire company. The people of SumAll are engineers, designers, data and business people who live and breathe our culture in everything they do.
SumAll brings business’ data and stats from multiple platforms to one place. What statistics or measurements does your team track to use as benchmarks for success (either internally, externally, or both)?
As you can imagine, as a data company we track a lot of our own data. We look at growth of customer acquisition to make sure we’re still a relevant tool in the market, but we also focus on how many users actively engage with our products each month to make sure that we’re still creating value for those that have trusted us with their data.
What are the most important qualities you look for in a potential candidate?
At SumAll, no one has a manager, so the most important quality at SumAll is being able to direct yourself to the most important problems. We self-elect leaders, so leadership is clearly a quality that our employees look for when bringing on new colleagues.
Who would not make a good fit for SumAll’s culture?
If you like to be told what to do before taking action, you would not be a good fit in SumAll’s culture.
What rewards, incentives or perks does SumAll offer its employees?
We offer unlimited vacation, free lunch and snacks, a budget for training and education, and, most importantly, frequent karaoke outings.
What methods, practices or tools do you use to engage employees and/or encourage collaboration and feedback?
Given our transparent nature, SumAll is an extremely collaborative culture. In addition to a weekly “all hands” meeting where we discuss the company’s future with everyone on the team, our weekly leadership team meeting is open to the entire company. That enables everyone to weigh in with their thoughts and feedback on company priorities, and jump in to help on projects where their expertise is key.
Growth is essential for any company’s success, but it can cause strain internally. What are some of the challenges SumAll has faced in its success, and how has the team dealt with them?
We have faced all the normal issues scaling from 0-500k customers, which are by no means easy. The additional challenges have been in scaling our highly experimental lab. There have been many points where the structures needed some hard conversations and revision as we grow. Thankfully our environment is designed for amending, but that too has been complex.
If we asked your newest hire to describe SumAll’s culture, what do you think they would say?
Holy crap, this really is different!
What is the single-most important quality in a company’s leadership to guarantee a happy, productive team?
Transparency! We make a ton of mistakes but being open about it all and conversing on what we see allows everyone to understand how we where so wrong and work to be better in the future!
What do you love most about working at SumAll?
The rate of learning is off the charts. The environment is designed for information flow and reduction of obstacles. We are maturing a world class group of entrepreneurs.
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