So, your startup is growing. Great! But, how do you keep your people connected? As a founder it's tough to see people lose track of their colleagues. The penalty to your customers for that disconnection is high. The risk to your startup is higher still.
"So... how do I fix it?"
"To cut to the chase... use Chinwag."
"Okay, um... but can you pair people that'd never connect? Maybe Alice from finance, with Mike the data scientist? Mike only joined last week. Alice is working remotely."
"Sure. Just make sure they're all in the
#fun-and-games Slack channel."
"Okay. But what do they talk about? Alice loves everything Marvel. Mike's not a big talker, though he did get inspired by some swimmer in the Olympics and took up knitting. Not exactly a big cross-over..."
"No worries. They'll need to talk to get each other through the game. That's ice breaker enough."
"Right. So it's not going to be like a giant conversation?"
"No. The games are short. The point is to get people across the team comfortable in each other's company. Over time those conversations will happen naturally. (Just like this one.)"
Ever wonder why successful founders say culture is the most important starting point for a startup? I didn't - to my cost. Here's the why-and-how to do it.
As your startup growth accelerates, you’ll start to see silos of people. It’s natural. As a founder you can use silos as a prompt to build an epic culture.
People in fast growing startups often struggle to establish their identity. When teams are growing 20% a year people quickly start to see each other as no more than their job role.
"It happened again. I heard someone talking about the new IT guy. They were talking about Mike. Mike doesn't even work in IT."
"Yeah. It's sad when things start to get that big-corp vibe. "
"I dread the day I become 'the founder-guy'... You reckon Chinwag can fix this?"
"Okay :) Well. You know how in an office you can overhear a conversation that gives you brief snippets into someone's life? "
"Well. Some of the Chinwag challenges duplicate that. But they scale it across the whole team."
"I'm not sure I follow..."
"Okay. Here's an example. There's a challenge called Who's my human. People anonymously post pictures of their pets. Then the others guess who the pet's human is. "
"So, with those small peeks into someone's life - they become more than just their avatar. Or their output. They become more... human..."
"It makes your startup a more wholesome place to be. Those I'm-a-human-too reminders make people kinder to each other. It's also quite fun."
The better the product-market fit is the faster everything moves. In an ideal world everyone would deeply understand your vision, make sensible decisions and just get on with work.
Sigh "It keeps happening. I lose the thread with one team and they head off in their own direction."
"Yeah. Those silos are tricky - people get stuck in the weeds and lose sight of the bigger picture."
"I bet you're going to tell me Chinwag can help, right?"
"Of course! Well, we can't magic up a perfect solution - but Chinwag games can definitely help!"
"Well. The foundation of any good startup is a shared secret. A sense that you're all in it together. Co-conspirators."
"Okay. I've read Zero to One too, so what?"
"Right. So, Chinwag games bring people together. Across the company. People get familiar with each other and regularly break out of their silos. Those small, frequent connections are the lifelines that tether them to the broader vision."
"Hmm. That seems a little grandiose."
"Maybe... Chinwag can't completely absolve you of your responsibilities to your people or culture."
"But. Our games can make it easier to put some bits on autopilot. So, you can focus and execute on the important pieces that define your company's future."
Startup founders love Chinwag. Why? Well, it helps them make sure company culture doesn't go off the rails as they scale. Chinwag does this in 3 key ways:
First up you've got to install Chinwag in Slack. Once that's done you'll create a dedicated channel for Chinwag. Anyone in that channel will be invited to participate in a game or challenge once a month.
Games are usually between 2 people - selected at random. Challenges usually involve the whole team and are often one-off i.e. never repeated with your team.
Games and challenges take place within Slack or at
Well, it really depends on the game. The "get to know me as a person" challenges like Who's my human take 3 minutes per session. The games that need teamwork like Finding Fusilli take around 10 minutes per session.
Usually people play a few sessions a month. The games are intentionally kept simple so they don't cause distraction - they just create good vibes.