When your startup consists of you and your co-founder, it’s not that hard to shape the culture. Even though Typeform started with two co-founders , it has grown and in the last 18 months from 30 to 150 employees, and they have no intention to stop growing.

So how are they keeping a healthy culture? It’s not a poster on a wall, we live it, says co-CEO and co-founder Robert Munoz:

Our company culture is a product of what kind of workplace I, David (co-founder) and the first employees wanted to create when we started Typeform. We didn’t have a master plan to define our culture but we knew that a total focus on product, people and creating a collaborative place to work made sense.

Product & People first

Traditionally SaaS companies are all about product in the beginning. Robert and David have always been searching for the balance where product meets people:

We know that if we invest in both our talent and in our product at the same level, revenues will come along with it.

Typeform’s co-founders and co-CEO’s David Okuniev and Robert Muñoz.

That’s why they have created three pillars to put people and product as top priorities:

  • Business to take the market
  • Innovation to be ahead of the curve
  • Culture to create a great work environment

He explains that scaling culture has become more and more important with growth, as the company has been going through three different stages most startups face.

We started at (1) product phase, where it’s all about building the best fucking product. Then moved into a (2) service phase where it was all about giving our acquired users the best service possible. Now we’re at the (3)organizational stage, where building a well functioning business with different teams and functions. Here’s the focus on scaling culture maybe the most important key.

At a time when good work culture is uber important, the founders acknowledges that they’re facing challenging times as they grew from 50 to 150 employees in one year.

The magic number — 150

Oxford evolutionary psychology professor Robin Dunbar created a theory that humans only can maintain personalized relationships with 150 people, so it’s not without reason Robert says they’ve been struggling a bit with communication lately:

We are very aware that we’re crossing this magic line. Decision making based on consensus is not as effective as before and spreading information across the organization is a new challenge, so we need to add more structure in place.

The main challenge with adding structure, according to Robert, is to be efficient as an organization without killing creativity and the startup feeling.

The last year we’ve been focusing on redefining our vision, product mission and values, as this is a big part of creating alignment and improving communication and decision making.

Creating values is hard, especially if it needs to resonate with a lot people. So a while back the Typeform people sat down to draw out their company values.

First, me and my co-founder David met with the creative/content team and some other people to write a list of values that we thought made sense for our day to day. Then we published and announced the values to the company and we realized that some of the values didn’t resonate and that some others were confusing.

They needed a value revolution.

We decided to scrutinize the values with every team of the company and we realized that if you want people living the values, it’s better to make them participate so they feel more engaged and you don’t end up just hanging your values on a wall.

At the end, they threw away their first values and came together with the whole company up with a list of seven values that randomly formed the acronym: CHEF PIE.

Lunch roulette

Another key element when growing fast is making sure everyone get to know each other, no matter how big the team gets, says Robert:

Something we really focus on when growing fast is keeping founders and managers approachable, this is super important, and we are experimenting with several ways of making this happen easier.

One of the experiments is a Slack bot that matches random people for coffee breaks and lunches, so everyone gets to know each other better, also all the managers.

It’s actually been a real success. I love having coffee with people from the office I don’t know that well.

The Typeform barception.

When you walk into the Typeform office in Barcelona, the first thing meeting you is the barception (bar + reception) with free drinks and coffee served by the barceptionist. There’s also free healthy lunches, more benefits than your average day can handle, and a big lofty office.

You would think that even for a company that have raised $15 million in venture capital, this kind of spending would be over the top. Robert thinks the opposite:

Somebody told me that you’ll never over-invest in people. I don’t think investing heavily in culture is expensive at all, at least in our industry. Luckily we have investors that believe in that mentality as well.

Inclusion

The co-founders Robert and David along with the management team is learning as they go in terms of growing a huge, fast-moving organization. To succeed in their mission to make their product a little more human, there’s one element they need to do perfectly.

We need to include our teams as much as we can in the shaping of our culture, and continue to spend a lot of time, effort and resources on making people challenged, happy and at home.

As they’re planning on growing the team substantially the next two years, and with an additional office opening in the US soon, the ultimate test for Typeform lies ahead of them:

As we scale the culture of the company can change a little bit, but we don’t need to freak out about that, it’s like any person’s personality, it changes. However, we want to keep building an awesome place to work. A place where people can be themselves, be heard, innovate, and do big things together.

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E.

Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs & Tech Lovers

Podcasts are a great way to discover new subjects and new people. Whether you are a tech lover or an entrepreneur, bellow you will discover podcasts for entrepreneurs you should – without a doubt – listen to. 

Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre
Itnig Podcast with César Migueláñez, Bernat Farrero and Carlos Pierre

« Masters of Scale » 

with Reid Hoffman

The host: Reid Hoffman decides to turn to the corporate world instead of pursuing a university carrier. He worked for Apple, Fujitsu for then starting his own business: SocialNet and left it in 2000 to join Confinity. Confinity gives life to Paypal after fusionning. Finally, in 2003, Hoffman co-founds LinkedIn. He is Master of Scale’s host. 

About: The podcast welcomes some of the greatest entrepreneurs. You will discover throughout the talk how they managed to take their companies from 0 to a lot of zeros. You can listen to Masters of Scale’s special guests like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Selina Tobaccowalla (Evite), Brian Chesky (Airbnb) or Nancy Lublin (Crisis Text Line). Must-hear: one of the top tech podcasts for entrepreneurs.

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Youtube

The Team: Reid Hoffman, June Cohen, Deron Triff and Jai Punjabi

« Rocket » 

with Christina Warren, Simone de Rochefort and Brianna Wu

The hosts: Christina Warren started as a Freelance Writer. Then, she worked at Mashable as a Senior Tech Analyst and Tech Correspondent and ended the journey at Microsoft as a Senior Cloud Developer Advocate. About Simone de Rochefort, she is  Senior Video Producer and co-host of The Polygon Show. Brianna Wu founded her first startup at the age of 19, Giant Spacekat. She was Head of Development at the time. She is now running for US Congress. 

About: In this podcast, you will discover three passionate women and their “geek conversation” as they like to call it.  No guest speakers, but you will be able to listen to a panel of tech subjects from Apple to Comics, you will not be disappointed. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« This week in Startups »

with Jason Calacanis

The host: Jason Calacanis starts as an internet industry journalist in New-York. In 2003, he co-founded Weblogs, Inc and then a few years later he joined Sequoia Capital, launched the web directory Mahalo. He also founded ThisWeekIn.com. Furthermore, he created This Week in Startups podcast and a startup named Inside.com. Finally, he was part of the creation of the Sydney Launch Festival. 

About: Either you are looking to start your own company, or you are a successful entrepreneur, or you just love technology, this podcast will give you a peek to the entrepreneurship world. You will hear stories of all kinds! On his website, you will also find his events and some research on transportation, healthcare and more. This is one is part of the tech podcasts for entrepreneurs not to be missed.

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Youtube, SoundCloud and RSS Feed

You can also subscribe to their newsletter in order to receive episodes directly. 

The Team: Jason Calacanis, Jacqui Deegan, and Tony Agapiou

« Recode / Decode » 

with Kara Swisher

The host: Kara Swisher is an American journalist specialized in the technology industry. She first started to work for an alternative newspaper in Washington for then working for the Washington Post. She wrote articles for the Wall Street Journal and New York Times and wrote her own books. Finally, in 2014, she created Recode, a website dedicated to the latest technology news. In 2015, she initiates Recode Decode. 

About: The weekly podcast welcomes tech experts and great entrepreneurs. They review how they got there, what’s on their mind about the current industry and what they would improve or create. Her recent guests were Elon Musk (Tesla CEO), former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Mark Zuckerberg. 

Listen to the podcast: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn

« K Fund PodKast »

with Jaime Novoa

The host: Jaime Novoa’s background is quite diverse. He is a writer and an investor, but he also worked in data analysis and social media analysis. In 2014, he founded Novobrief, a newsletter for startups. Then, in 2016, he becomes an investor at K Fund and he founds, in 2019, Dealflow, a weekly tech newsletter. 

About: The podcast discusses startups, entrepreneurs and Venture Capital. You will discover enterprises and their story. From data science, unicorns or digital platforms, you sure will find more than one interesting podcast. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website and Soundcloud

« Clockwise »

with Dan Moren and Mikah Sargent

The hosts: Dan Moren is an active author and writer as well as podcaster. He was a Senior Editor at Macworld. Today, he hosts two podcast shows: Clockwise and The Rebound. As for Mikah Sargent, he started as a Website Designer and Developer for then switching as a Senior Editor at Newsy. He now hosts few podcasts such as Clockwise on Replay FM or on TWiT.tv. 

About: The weekly podcast discusses technology and welcomes each time 2 special guests. For 30 minutes, they address 4 topics where all four speakers get to elaborate on the matter, highlight the issues and expose their thoughts. 

Listen to the podcast: On their website, Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify and Castro

« Itnig Podcast»

with Bernat Farrero

The host: Bernat Farrero starts his career as a Developer. In 2009, he founded Itnig, a startup ecosystem that organizes entrepreneurship events. They also have a coworking for startups, a podcast and a fund for early-stage projects. Furthermore, he is a Founder of Factorial, Quipu and Camaloon. He is also a Board Member of Playfullbet, GymForLess and Parkimeter. Finally, he hosts Itnig’s weekly Podcast. 

About: The podcast welcomes every week a new guest. If you wish to learn from successful entrepreneurs, you are on the right platform. The discussions turn around Technology and its industry. You will come across guests like Carlos Pierre (Badi), Vincent Rosso (BlaBlaCar) or Oscar Pierre (Glovo).

Listen to the podcast: Youtube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Ivoox, and Google Podcasts

You can subscribe to their newsletter if you want to receive the podcast’s link every Monday. 

Whether you are at an early stage of your project, an investor or you are just curious, these podcasts for entrepreneurs give you the opportunity to be updated on tech and business news. Also, you get to learn from successful international entrepreneurs, which can definitely be very useful for your business.