Seth Shumate Senior Scientist at Silicon Solar Solutions in the Secret Sanctuary

Culture is important in any startup. Culture sets the tone for everyone involved and it helps to keep everyone moving together as a team. There are lots of famous examples which include Apple and Southwest Airlines. Each of these companies demonstrate that their specific company culture gives them an edge. How does this translate to a small startup? Steve Blank describes a starup as a temporary organization looking for a scalable business model. It is during this search that the culture must be realized and nurtured, otherwise it is too late as everyone scrambles to scale.

Silicon Solar Solutions has a great group of folks that I am delighted to work with on a daily basis (even including weekends!). Together we have formed our own culture which includes a great deal of coffee, naps on the floor at times, a lot of lunches together and regular walks around the “secret sanctuary” located behind the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. A lot happens on these walks. Some compelling insights into what we should be doing over the coming days/weeks/months occur, but it is mainly about growing together as a team. At the end of the day, the team is what will make or break a startup – so it better be strong. Mueller of the Austin Business Journal writes:

Over the years I have learned that good culture takes continued nurturing and full attention, and should begin at the company’s birth or soon after. Assess the look, feel and tone of all your physical and communication touch points. Do they reflect your values and brand? Do they cultivate the kind of workforce that will give you a competitive edge in your industry? Are your team members passionate about what they do and feel valued for their contributions?

Seth Shumate, our Senior Scientist, is the biggest proponent of these regular excursions into the wilderness (and I use the term wilderness loosely). In fact, I am pretty sure he named it the “secret sanctuary” just so this post would have the mother of all alliterations! The other day we happened across two geese enjoying life where we all stopped to unwind for a few moments and snapped this picture. A few minutes later I almost stepped on a water moccasin but that is another story entirely. What is the culture like in the place where you work?

Seth and his geese friends at the secret sanctuary behind the Arkansas Research and Technology Park