A brief explanation of who we are and how we like to do things.
MessageBird first began in 2011 in a garage (yes, really) and back then “our way of working” was easier. The entire company sat within several feet of each other, and making announcements was as easy as standing up and saying a few words. As MessageBird has grown, times have changed — and while we no longer fit in a garage, we want to ensure our unique way of working evolves, survives and thrives.
The below content provides a clear and candid explanation of how we approach work at MessageBird today — it’s the essence of who we are and how we like to do things. Articulating this “culture” in words has been both exciting and challenging, and we admit that some parts made us feel uncomfortable to express. We’ve included it all to provide an honest impression of our values, manage expectations through transparency, and emphasize how we collaborate with our most valued assets: our Birds.
We want to empower you to decide if MessageBird is the right fit for you. Our team is diverse, smart, fast, and hungry — and our potential for growth is limitless. If you read this and think, “Sign me up!” then we hope to get you on board!
We’re all geeks about something. Whether it’s music, online gaming, sports or history, we love talking about our passions and knowing more about them than just about anyone. At MessageBird, we “geek out” over our customers, both internal and external. Talking about them in great detail is our way to express our excitement and enthusiasm for them.
That means we aren’t just familiar with our customers and the products we sell — we also test-drive them every day. Our very own Inbox is used across the company, from customer service to finance to operations. We also have a voracious appetite to learn about our customers, in order to build the best possible solutions for them. Did you see that webinar? What do you think of that new pricing model? Did you read their latest blog post? Ultimately, we understand how customers use our products, why customers use them, and what business problems we help solve. (And we can’t stop talking about it!)
In our business, speed matters — so we move at 200 miles an hour in everything we do. Some people may think this speed is unreasonably high, but it’s a key contributor to our success and it’s important that we move together. For most Birds, once they get used to the pace, they never want to slow down!
Making decisions with speed means we sometimes make the wrong ones. Of course that’s not our aim, but when it does happen, we take ownership, fix it, and move on. Decisions made to please everyone often end up accomplishing the exact opposite, so instead, we ask for input and keep the relevant parties informed. We’ll always go for the best version of an idea — and even if it’s not yours, you should still be able to commit.
The demands of our business and industry mean that traditional “9 to 6” mentalities don’t fly here. That’s not corporate code for “we expect our Birds to work 12 hours a day” because that’s also not the case. However, we do put our customers first, which means we pay attention to Slack and email during off-peak hours and — while it’s not the norm — we sometimes put in hours on evenings or weekends. But this flexibility works both ways! As an employer, we want you to be able to do the things that are important to you: whether it’s spending after-school time with your kids or joining a midday gym class, our 80/20 rule allows for versatility in schedules. Ultimately, our Birds are empowered to choose where and when they work, because they know best what’s needed to get their shit done.
We aim to have meetings with as few people as possible; in fact, when we designed our Amsterdam HQ, we purposely created small meeting rooms. It’s not because we don’t want to be inclusive or build consensus (we do!), but because we want our Birds to be able to focus on their priorities. It’s easy to fall into the trap of accepting meeting invites, finding yourself with a full calendar, and feeling like you had a full day... but we don’t believe that’s the best use of your time, and that’s not what we try to do at MessageBird.
Evolution is essential, and your priorities may shift as our needs and intel evolves. Sometimes that means we need to go slow in order to move fast. Sometimes that means we launch products faster than others, which may feel uncomfortable, but we do it because the market is dynamic and we need to keep up. We’ll gather the people with the right skills and experience — regardless of their job titles — or hire new senior leaders with diverse knowledge that can drive our business even further. No matter how challenging, we know that every decision we make is in the best interest of our company and our customers.
Successful Birds are well prepared. They’re inherently curious to “roll up their sleeves,” look under the hood, and get their hands dirty. Lazy thinking doesn’t fly here; we’re interested in the details and we’re skeptical when metrics and anecdotes differ. Instead of making assumptions, we develop solutions through a combination of reason, logic and information.
We admire Birds who have an informed point of view before asking others; that doesn’t mean we can’t turn to our colleagues for answers or help (we absolutely can!) but we make a habit of trying things ourselves and stimulating others to do the same. You’ll probably also find that this curiosity is infectious! You’ll be surrounded by a flock of Birds who are equally as passionate and motivated to uncover out-of-the-box solutions.
Questions you’ll often hear us ask are, “What happens when you try it?” and “What happens when you build it yourself?” You can expect the status quo to be constantly challenged, which makes for an inspiring and innovative atmosphere. At the same time, we agree we don’t need to “know everything” before making a decision. While innovation is at the heart of our organization, we don’t have to shoot for the sky or reinvent the wheel.
MessageBird’s mission is to make talking to a business as easy and as natural as talking to a friend. In our daily operations, we take the same approach: we collaborate and communicate with colleagues in the same way we interact with friends. Yes, really! We know that for an outsider this might seem like a false promise, but we mean it. We love to have fun and we don’t want it to “feel like work” — even though what we do is important (and we take that seriously!).
Great Birds set high standards to deliver quality work, continually raise the bar, and inspire others to do the same. They are competitive against themselves but not their colleagues, because we’re in it together. It’s “we” and “us” instead of “I” and “me”; we embrace a “team first” rather than a “me first” mentality.
This also means we care. We’re inclusive. We’re empathetic. We’re respectful. Different perspectives are invited to the table and that actively contributes to our collective success. Since we’re a “Work Anywhere” company, we aim to over-communicate and keep Birds “in the loop” to avoid isolation or a lack of knowledge sharing. We assume positive intent and hear each other out. That means if a fellow Bird questions your idea, we don’t speculate that they have ulterior motives. Concerns often come from genuinely caring, so don’t rush to conclusions. You can calmly discuss feedback — and even if you disagree, you can listen and say thank you.
We are all owners so we do what’s best for the company, and we don’t need manager approval when we know the right thing to do. If things go wrong (and they sometimes do), we rally the troops, jump on a call and firefight. There’s no blame game.
We want our Birds to be as comfortable talking about mistakes as they are talking about successes. We expect you to take ownership of your work and raise your hand if you’ve made an error. By admitting our faults we can learn, feel safer, and grow stronger.
Birds are empowered (and expected) to drive their own development. We believe in performance management and feedback, but we’re not rigid in terms of career paths and box checking. We pay for impact, so people who go above and beyond are rewarded with equity and cash. We all have a stake in the company (it’s a core part of our compensation package) and shared ownership means shared commitment to our success.
Truthfully, there will never be enough time in a day to accomplish everything on our “to do” lists — that’s the nature of a fast-growing business and part of what makes it exciting! But we recognize that it can also be overwhelming. To ensure we stay on track to achieve our long-term vision, we focus on accomplishing the things that matter most while eliminating the background noise. There will always be a piece of tech to build, a customer who wants a new feature, or a market to address. Without focus, we could end up running in every direction at once … which means we’re not going anywhere at all.
If you’re fixated on job remit or you want to know exactly what you’ll be doing in six months, you’ll probably struggle working here. The complexity of our company is constantly changing, but that gives us room to design the future and push the company forward. Remember: with continuous change comes endless possibility for growth!
In our first 10 years we haven’t always followed a straight line, and our hunch is that in the next 10 years we also won’t. Our culture will continue to evolve — just like the market, our customers and our products — and that’s a good thing! It means that as the company grows, so do we. It also means things can change. What helps us successfully manage the process is being aligned in the way we work, so we can cross the finish line — together.
Do these behaviours and attitudes resonate with you? Is there something you feel we’ve missed? Most importantly, do you feel inspired? In MessageBird’s spirit of transparency, we invite you to submit your thoughts and feedback.
We’re particularly interested to hear from you if you’re (thinking of) applying for a role with us. Your submission will be anonymous and not be reviewed by recruiters or anyone on your hiring panel.