Wistia provides video hosting, management, and marketing for businesses — and they've been incredibly successful. In the past year, Wistia has gone through a growth spurt, doubling headcount to a total of fifteen people and continuing apace. What's most inspiring about Wistia is that they've maintained a tight-knit, distinctive company culture even as they've grown — and it's turned out that the culture they've built has blossomed into a full-blown competitive advantage.
How their company of fifteen feels like a company of two
Co-founder and CEO Chris Savage recalled that when it was just him and co-founder Brendan Schwartz, there was an easy immediacy and intimacy to working together. They shared a deep knowledge of what they were working on and the direction where they were headed.
But as companies grow, it's easy for that togetherness to fracture. Formal communication, often in the form of meetings, can become incredibly disruptive and, too frequently, neither relevant nor helpful. As Chris explained, “It’s hard to know what everyone else is doing, which I think is really important.”
Chris told us that he loves iDoneThis because "it makes a company of fifteen feel like it did when it was just two guys sitting around a table." It makes it simple for everyone to communicate what they're accomplishing, and it does that that asynchronously, without interrupting peoples' work. iDoneThis “facilitate[s] what would often be those random connections that would happen if you were sitting next to somebody, if you were walking by somebody working on something."
It makes a company of fifteen feel like it did when it was just two guys sitting around a table.
For Chris, the impact at Wistia can't be understated. The immediacy and connection iDoneThis brings has been "something that’s been really big." iDoneThis provides common knowledge, and with a single click, you can start a conversation about what someone's getting done. "It’s good that other people can see that that’s happening, know that it’s important, and can comment on it.”
It's all about building a tight-knit and distinctive culture
What’s distinctive about the Wistia team is the obvious pride that they have in the company culture and the deliberate effort with which that culture is cultivated. Chris elaborates, “A big thing we wanted to do was start to write it down and talk about it and have a vocabulary, because we felt like if we don’t fight for it, we won’t be able to maintain it."
Part of building that company culture meant defining a company identity, or the “Wistia way” of doing things. When Wistia launched a free version of its service in June, for example, they created a rap video instead of simply sending out an email and adding the plan to the pricing page. They did it the Wistia way: “Go a little over the top, have a lot of fun with it, and express our own excitement.”
iDoneThis is an accomplishment list and a way to show others what we’re working on. Other tools don’t supply that.
Fighting for your culture means demanding a lot out of your tools and processes to ensure that they reinforce company values. The Wistia team relies on tools like Yammer for social conversation at work and continues to hold weekly stand-up meetings but specifically for announcing goals for the week. iDoneThis is used for “a very different purpose,” says Chris. “It’s an accomplishment list and a way to show others what we’re working on. Other tools don’t supply that.”
iDoneThis's focus on accomplishments builds a culture of getting things done at Wistia, that empowers the team with ownership, authority, and freedom over their work. What results is often unique, quirky and maybe even bizarre, but it's 100% Wistia — and it works.