I’ve never been happier to work with a great bunch of weirdos.
I’m probably not alone in feeling like Silicon Valley today is full of companies pushing the snake oil du jour. After spending years working at an outside PR agency focused on technology companies and startups, I had seen my fair share of overly competitive tech cultures, snooty leaders, and questionable product offerings. Being personally invested and passionate about tech vendors was starting to feel like a challenge.
But when I landed at Rocana, I knew I had found something special. There’s something intriguing, and weirdly authentic about Rocana: a company with an amazing product that cares just as much about its culture as the tools it sells. The co-founders are real, friendly, approachable people, along with the rest of the team. How refreshing!
Why does Rocana put such an emphasis on culture? Because we know people today make large purchasing decisions from a holistic perspective. No matter how great, a product is only one dimension of a company. Buyers buy products not just because of obvious logical justifications like price and features, but also because the vendor practices good ethics, and has a culture that goes beyond product to actually make the market (and the world) a better place. Whether that’s committing to open source projects, creating an environment where working parents can really thrive, or cleaning up more than 700 lbs of garbage on the beach as a team.
That all makes sense. So why would Rocana care about having a weird culture? We like being weird. You have to be a little weird if you want to challenge the status quo. You have to be weird to achieve things once thought impossible. Jessica Hagy put it best in her Forbes column:
You know who’s weird? Astronauts. Saints. Nobel Prize winners. Scientists. People with hobbies you’ve never heard of or are afraid to try. People who speak their minds. People with both problems and (gasp) solutions. People who are (enviably) not like you. Being weird means being noticeably different. It means being or doing something that makes other people stare, or laugh, applaud, or boo. And it’s something we all need to cultivate… Weirdness, by its very definition, is a deviation from the norm—the opposite of a commodity. Weird makes its own markets. Weirdness makes its own rules. Weirdness provides breathing room and leverage.
We love being weird. We don’t fit the mold of a traditional startup, which we think is a good thing. And we like our “weird” policies. For example, our distributed workforce model allows us to hire the best weirdos, anywhere they are in the world, who are bold and authentic and thirsty to succeed. We have company on-site meetings, rather than off-site meetings (where you may spot an exec channeling his or her inner Minnie Mouse). We have distributed happy hours and town hall meetings where anyone can speak what’s on their mind. Unlimited vacation and sick leave mean our employees can focus on being human beings first and foremost, not servant cogs in a corporate machine. And we have what some might call an unusual obsession with goats.
At the end of the day, the IT operations market is crowded. As a startup in this quickly evolving and growing $30 billion industry, we have a unique opportunity to use our weirdness to define who we are, challenge perceptions, and define the art of the possible. We embrace our weirdness. It sets us apart, allows us to focus, and challenge people to think differently. That’s the power of genuine authenticity, and it comes from everyone at Rocana.
Watch Joey embracing his weird on theCUBE at Hadoop Summit San Jose below (PS: If you “Embrace Your Weird” you can buy the official shirt here and proceeds go to anti-bullying charities).
What amazing shirt will Joey and the crew don at Strata + Hadoop World NYC next week? To find out, you’ll have to stop by our booth at the Cloudera Partner Pavilion (#K3) or catch him during his presentation "When it Comes to Customer Experience, Context is Everything", Tuesday, September 27 at 5:45 p.m. at the Solutions Showcase Theater!