Voice of the Culture

“The greatest asset of a company is its people.” 

– Jorge Paulo Lemann 

Hi Everyone, 
   
Hope you enjoyed the extra time off last week. For my part, I rented a house in the mountains, enjoyed some golf, watched a bunch of movies, and got crushed in Monopoly by my children as they decided that teaming up to beat me was their number one goal. While I wasn’t super happy about losing … I am a competitive person; I took a lot of joy in seeing them work together as a team! I trust that each of you used your time wisely and had a chance to recharge the batteries. 
   
The Voice of the Culture is a super important feedback loop within Tahzoo. I would really appreciate each of you continuing to rate your week and expressing your opinions. If we can keep the participation rate at or above 80% that would be fantastic. 
   
The goal of the VOC is to give everyone an opportunity to reflect on the previous week, find moments of gratefulness, especially related to experiences with co-workers, and provide constructive feedback to me and the leadership team to improve the effectiveness of the company. Some of you are more vocal than others and that’s ok, we just need to keep the lines of communication open. 
   
As part of our core values “if you take care of your customer and your employees, you’ll have a company worth caring about”, the VOC is a very important tool to ensure that we live up to those values. It’s a journey, not a destination and the company has evolved a lot over the years. The VOC has been instrumental in making necessary changes. If you couldn’t tell based on my last few DOBs, I am a huge fan of freedom of speech. I think it’s necessary for democracy and necessary for a thriving company. The twice-weekly all-hands meetings, the VOC, and an open-door policy are all mechanisms to make sure your voice is heard. 
   
It’s your company too! Tahzoo can only be great and we can only achieve our mission of making millions of people a little bit happier every day by working together and providing honest feedback. I look forward to hearing more from each of you. 
   
Thanks, 
Brad 


  

4th of July and Register to Vote!

“America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination” 
 
— Harry S. Truman 

 
Happy Birthday, America! 
 
The 4th is one of my favorite holidays, second only to Thanksgiving. The birth of our nation, the founding of our republic, and the commencement of a grand experiment in Democracy. 
  
There is a story, often told, that upon exiting the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was approached by a group of citizens asking what sort of government the delegates had created. His answer was: “A republic, if you can keep it.” Democratic republics are not merely founded upon the consent of the people, they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people for their continued good health. 
  
Take a quick moment to review the first two paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence. 
  
The Declaration of Independence:  
  
“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. 
 
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.” 

 
I’ve read these words over and over, it clearly states when a government no longer meets the needs of the people, we are compelled to separate ourselves from that government. The problem with that is that under a monarchy, autocracy, or authoritarian government, the only way to make a change is a revolution. A revolution that will cost lives, economic injury and not necessarily lead to a better government, but to government organized by the leaders of the revolution, who were best capable of waging a war. It’s a vexing problem that has played out over the course of human history. Whole civilizations have been destroyed because modifications to the government could not be achieved incrementally or systemically but through war and revolution. 
 
The genius of the Constitution is that it created checks and balances in government so that the tyranny of the majority would be held in check. It established the rule of law and clear guidelines on our essential rights as citizens. The ebb and flow of political discourse, cultural change, and most importantly the needs of the people are managed in the framework of representative democracy. This allows the country to evolve to meet the needs of the people and the changing landscape of global and geopolitics. Think of a relief valve that lets out pressure, so the only option isn’t a revolution. 
 
However, this only works if there is a peaceful transition of power at every election cycle. It’s a revolution of sorts but without the bloodshed, economic harm, and most importantly protect the rule of law. The Founding Fathers knew that the government would need to change from time to time so they create a profoundly better model to absorb the change. It’s why we have been so successful as a country. 
 
The right to vote and the peaceful transition of power is the most important obligation of every citizen. We need to do everything we can without regard to party or ideology to ensure that we continue to be good stewards of a system of government that has set an example for the world over the last 250 years. 
 
As such, I have decided to make November 3rd, 2020, Election Day, a companywide floating holiday. Think of it as a community day in which each of you is encouraged to take the day off so that you can vote and get involved with your communities to support the Election Day process. We are a company full of very smart and happy people that can make a difference. I pass no judgment on your political party or which candidate you’re voting for; I only ask that you fully participate in our democracy. 
 
I hope you enjoy the 4th of July, spend time with your family and friends and remember we have a great country if we can keep it!  

 
Let’s go be great, 
 
Brad 

When was the last time you guys talked?

 “Be well, do good work, and keep in touch” –  Garrison Keillor 

Hi Everyone, 

“When is the last time you guys talked?” 

I think about my old friends from time to time, I wonder what they are up to and how they are doing. Of course, there is the social media portrait of someone’s life but that is often a facade or just a snippet in time. They say the best thing about old friends is that they knew you when you were young. If you’ve been thinking about someone and haven’t spoken to them in a while, pick up the phone today and talk. Say hello and check-in. We are all going through a weird transition and you just never know how well-timed your call might be. 

We had our first book club meeting last night it was great fun. We reviewed the book “Range”, which was an argument for why being a generalist is more advantageous than being a specialist in today’s world. We had mostly positive but mixed reviews for the book. I enjoyed the dialogue and appreciate everyone’s contribution. We choose the book, “The Infinite Game” by Simon Sinek for our next read. We’d love to have you join our group. 

We’ve selected a winner for the T-Shirt contest.  We’ll be having the T-Shirt printed up for everyone over the next few weeks. Please continue to post designs as you feel inspired, you never know who will get picked next! 

We are making progress on a lot of fronts across the company. Keep up the good work everyone! I appreciate everyone’s commitment and dedication during this difficult period. Let’s keep pushing hard, taking care of clients, and each other. 

Thanks, 
Brad            

Making Connections through Literature, Let’s Get Our Read On!

“Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” – Aesop 

There is an old saying that “the difference between people is the books they’ve read and the people they’ve met”. As most of you know I enjoy reading very much. I still consider it reading if you listen to a book on Audible etc., (just to state my position on the topic). When I was in the Tahzoo Richmond, Virginia office, we had a quick chat about books and restarting Tahzoo’s book club. I read three books over the holidays: Designing Your Life, Partners in Command and Talking to Strangers. All great reads – thought provoking and good brain food. 

I enjoyed Designing Your Life the best. I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in a more conscious and prescriptive approach to living your life. Many of you are early in your careers, this book is a great way to frame how to approach the critical thinking and next steps for creating a fulfilling life. 

When I read, I am in ‘Flow’ … a state of total immersion where I lose track of time and I am fully engaged at the moment. There is an American psychologist named Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who pioneered the study of Flow or sometimes referred to as “being in the Zone”. His work is fascinating, and at Tahzoo we used some of his methodologies for analyzing the quality and intensity of various brands and their customers. One of the main points of Designing Your Life is to make sure you are doing things that put you in a state of Flow. 
 
In an effort to sponsor more Flow within Tahzoo and to give us an opportunity to share ideas and perspectives, I am restarting the Tahzoo book club. The first book we are going to read is Range, by David Epstein. “Why generalist triumph in a specialized world”. It appears to speak to my belief that success and innovation at Tahzoo will be a byproduct of bringing together interdisciplinary teams in support of the customer experience. However, I haven’t read the book yet, so we’ll see. 
 
We’ll read one book a month and meet every four to six weeks depending on schedules, which seems like a reasonable cadence. If you’re excited about this, then let me know and I’ll send you a copy of the book to get started. 
  
Let’s go be great! 
Brad 

9 Years!

“Values can set a company apart from the competition by clarifying its identity and serving as a rallying point for employees. But coming up with strong values – and sticking to them – requires real guts.” -Patrick Lencioni 

Happy Anniversary, Tahzoo!  

Nine years… What a pleasure spending time with each and every one of you today! We get to make millions of people happier every day. One person at a time, one account at a time, one project at a time, we are growing and building a great company. We set our course today and we have work to do. We are the best and what we do and we compete against the best in the world. Stay focused, keep building, orient the new people we are hiring, and remember what you will be most proud of when we have our 10-year celebration next year!!! 
 
Let’s go be great! 
Brad 

All Hands 2019

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer 

Ready for next week? We have the all-hands meeting on Friday, we’ll be broadcasting for those who are unable to attend in person. For everyone else, I look forward to meeting with you in person.
 
I am excited to have everyone together again. I know for many of you this is an opportunity to finally meet people face to face for the first time. We have plenty of time allocated to make sure you get a chance to socialize and build rapport with one another. This meeting has been nine years in the making and what an amazing nine years it’s been. We’ve accomplished so much and stuck together through thick and thin; I am so proud of each of you! 
 
No specific homework before the company meeting, I know everyone is super busy these days. What I would ask is that you take some time to consider the company’s mission and our values, take some time to reflect on why you’re at Tahzoo and how you’re aligned. Tahzoo is a great company that will only be stronger and more capable as each you of internalizes our mission. We will be effectively doubling the size of the company over the next year and each of you will play an essential role in teaching our new team members the Tahzoo way. 

Our Mission – We exist to help our clients deliver contextually appropriate and personalized experiences to their customers. This means we have the opportunity to create solutions that make millions of people a little bit happier every day!  
 
It’s a lofty mission and one that is worthy of your time, not only because there is ample opportunity for personal growth, but we are also creating positive change in our small piece of the world!  
 
I am practically bursting with enthusiasm; I’ve got a lot to say about how a small group of Smart and Happy, dedicated individuals can change themselves and the world. I can’t wait to see you all next week! 
 
Let’s go be great! 
Brad 

Moving Offices

Today marks the last day that our headquarters will be at 1005 7th St NW, starting Monday we will be taking up residence in a different office space at 1015 7th St NW- located just down the block.  
 
Many of you may recall when we first got our soon to be former office space… we announced it at our 4th Anniversary party in August of 2014. It was such a momentous occasion to open a “cool” office space and we were all so proud to see our name on the side of the building.  
 
We took over that office as a leap of faith in what Tahzoo could be. We were a small company. It was a big commitment. It was scary and intimidating. And it was totally worth it.  
 
When I think back to all of the milestones, people who’ve come through those doors and the challenges and victories that we’ve faced here I couldn’t be more proud of where we’re going.  
 
I feel the energy changing in the company. It might be slower than I’d like, but its building…We are winning new projects, we are hiring and we’re not sitting around waiting for change- we’re making it happen.  But the only way we will continue gaining traction is if we don’t lose sight of the priorities. We need to take care of our clients and our colleagues, we need to be good stewards of our finances and our relationships and we need to continue to be innovators and leaders in our space.  
 
So cheers to 1005 7th St- you were a milestone in our history and I’m grateful we had you through such pivotal years. 

I can’t wait to see what new adventures await us in this next wave! 
 
Let’s go be great! 
Brad

Tahzoo is 8 Years Old!

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.” 
– Gail Devers 

Hi All, 
 
Happy Anniversary Everyone!!! 
 

Tahzoo is eight years old this week. We’ve been on a remarkable journey from a big idea with a few people; we’ve grown and continue to work with some of the most amazing brands in the world. 
 
I am truly humbled and thankful for the opportunity to work with such a talented and committed group of people. You exemplify Smart and Happy
 
We have amazing opportunities for our team. This week Gabi and I pitched with a recent client; it’s an early-stage opportunity but one that represents a huge upside for all of us. Opportunity for us in Asia is just exploding… I’ll share more about that next week. In the meantime, I need everyone to start learning Mandarin 😊 and as a reminder, we are hiring – please send us your referrals. Don’t forget about the new hire bonus! 
 
The last eight years has not been without its challenges, the last year being the most difficult… but I see a better Tahzoo now. We will grow organically, a little more slowly, and especially more thoughtfully. It’s been quite a ride… my sincerest thank you to each of you for caring about our customers. 
 
Let’s go be great! 
Brad 

Guiding Principles

I had a nice visit to the Richmond office this week. As Dara said, it’s going to be “Richmond hipster”, replete with a huge mural along the main wall.

As we were moving various items into the new office, I came across a whiteboard that had advice written for new employees. It got me to thinking about the difference between our values and operating principles.

Think of our values as guiding strategic vision and operating principles as guidance for day to day activities. As we are re-engineering the company for this next wave of growth, I plan to spend more time defining the operating principles to help the decision making within the company.

This list is a good start and came from a series of conversations I had with Travis about the onboarding process.

ARE YOU TELLING THE RIGHT PEOPLE?
• There are challenges and opportunities for Tahzoo – do you have the right people involved to help you?

WILL THIS BE EASY TO FIND LATER?
• We are a geographically dispersed company and collaboration can be difficult; have you explored Tahzoo Connect and Learning Exchange to stay up to speed?

DOES THIS DECISION FIT OUR BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL MODEL?
• Stay focused on our market; always remember we are a premium shop.

DELIVER ON TIME, ON BUDGET AND WITH QUALITY
• This is central to our success as a company and core commitment to clients.

HAVE PATIENCE WITH GROWING PAINS
• Change is inevitable as we grow, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

NEVER LOSE ALONE
• When things aren’t going right, don’t suffer in silence, get everyone involved to create a win.

The sub-bullets provide a little more color to the principles. Take this guidance to work with you on Monday and keep this in mind as you make decisions about our business.

On a closing note, thank you to Kevin Parker and his two sons, as well as Sam M, Dara, Eddie, Olme, and Gabi for moving the offices.

Thanks!
Brad

Living through Experiences – Tahzoo’s 7 year anniversary

“First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII — and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we’ve realized it’s a brochure.” – Douglas Adams 

Living Through Experiences 

   
Thank you for a great week. What a pleasure it was to celebrate 7 years of Tahzoo with each of you. I am so excited to see the progress we’ve made and the opportunities we have before us. This is the healthiest I’ve seen the company since its inception. We are on the precipice of some truly remarkable account wins and the team that we’ve assembled is truly “Smart and Happy”. 
 
Take what you’ve learned this week and apply it to serving our customers and one another. Remember that we are in the business of improving people’s lives, we CAN make millions of people happier every day. We live our lives through our experiences; let’s help our clients make customer experiences that are more memorable and sharable. 
 
A special shout out to the winners of the Tahzoo annual awards, Shawn, Kevin, Chris, and Tal – you set the example for all of us and you make this company great! 
 
Let’s go be great, 
Brad