Company Culture: Fail Fast and Often

This post was written by Social Tables CEO, Dan Berger.

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This is the final installment of a blog series that features the four pillars of company culture. Written by Ann Yang, a  Summer Associate, this series aims to look at the company’s growth and cohesion one year after the pillars were first introduced. Read Dan’s original company culture post here. Read the first part of the series here. This week is about “Fail Fast and Often.”

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Failing fast and often is the means in which Social Tables obtains high rewards. As Dan puts it: “It’s the method we use, the process that team members go through, in order to be high performing, goal oriented professionals.”

As Founder & CEO, Dan is especially passionate about developing talent in his team. For him, “Failing fast and often is a mentality that helps people stay in a mindset of learning and growing constantly.” As the company keeps growing with 3 new team members in the last month and $1.6 million dollars in funding, here are a few ways that Dan continues to develop talent at Social Tables:

1. Transparency. Social Tables prides itself in having a feedback intensive culture not only with its customers but internally within the team as well. Dan creates a transparent environment with an emphasis on communicating bottom-up instead of just top-down. This policy allows team members to be open about making mistakes, and view them as an opportunity to learn rather than something to hide.

2. Asking Questions. In one on one meetings with his team members, Dan strives to always ask questions like “How can I help you?” and “What did you learn from this situation?” Dan doesn’t like “talking at” his team, rather he wants it to be a “dialogue of continuous feedback” that encourages people to always think about what they could be doing better.

Trevor Lynn: Recipient of the “Get Shit Done” Award at the 2013 Chiavaris

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After college Trevor knew he wanted to work for a start-up, and everyone he talked to told him that Dan Berger was “the man to learn from and work for.” Trevor studied Finance in college, but he wanted to feel like his job was creating a direct impact on the trajectory and growth of a company. Since then, he has fearlessly led our Marketing team and is a brand building, growth hacking expert.

For Trevor, the idea of “Fail Fast and Often” is all about “empowering people to do what they are good at and interested in.” This mentality empowers “people to test their ideas without hesitation.”

Ozkan Kosoglu and Jake Scott: Engineering Team (both recently promoted, congratulations!)

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Ozkan, referred to by the Social Tables team endearingly as “Oz” is from Istanbul, Turkey where he initially studied Economics. He is responsible for lots of awesome features, most notably the ability to collaborate in real time.

Jake Scott joined the team with a similar passion for coding and solving problems and has made our product operate significantly faster. He also is responsible for the feature that allows users to simply click and drag through a diagram in order to number their tables.

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Jake loves working for Social Tables because he feels like his “input actually matters.” He says “it’s obvious how your work is impacting the growth of the company.”

For both Jake and Oz, “Fail Fast and Often” is reflected in the product team through constant iteration. This allows the engineers at Social Tables  to always be thinking about what can be made better.

Julia Damon (Marketing & Communications Queen)

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Just over a year ago, Social Tables was a team of two. Dan Berger was running the whole show and Julia was the intern that helped him out. Now, she is a critical part of the Marketing and Communications team, and is responsible for making Social Tables a leading information source in the event and hospitality industries.

As an intern last summer, Julia saw firsthand that Dan was willing “to do anything and everything to make the Social Tables team successful.” Julia was in the original company culture brainstorm, and for her, “Fail Fast and Often” represents the commitment that Social Tables has to always be learning. As she observes, “We hire a lot of people that don’t necessarily have previous experience in what they are doing. Dan sees potential in them, and the ability to become great.”

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