A taste of startup culture

Startup culture in tech companies are infamous for awesome perks, great work life balance and a community environment for fostering personal and career growth.

Of course, not all startups are like that. Companies vary greatly in how they build their culture and may look for different things when they hire their people. And let’s not forget that most early stage startups often have long hours and the need to juggle many hats with few people.

That being said, our company is established and our culture is pretty awesome. So while I can’t say what it’s like to work with Google or an early stage startup, I will share some of our company’s core culture and what makes it such a fun place to be.

Standard fare for a startup

Standard fare for a startup

This will be taken from a slight developer’s bias as I favour the developer related perks.

Let’s start with the general stuff. Let’s talk food.

There’s always food and drinks at the office. And when I say always, I mean always. We have a dedicated fridge for beers, ciders and wine and the snack cabinet is always full of goodies. The espresso machine receives tons of mileage and you can make your own coffee exactly the way you like it. Fresh fruit is delivered every week and so is fresh beer. We have a catered lunch once a week and our team often goes out on Fridays for lunch.

Catered lunch

An example of a catered lunch

So when we’re not stuffing our face, we’re working away on building the next feature, hammering out a bug fix or building infrastructure for ourselves. We work in a relaxed environment with a totally open office structure. Nobody is sheltered away by walls and everyone can move around as they see fit. We work flexible hours with a 10am standup everyday. Everyone’s opinion is valued and regardless of your position, you can be a driver for most decisions.

For developers, there is a good support system to learn and grow. We have two front end wizards with the rest of the team having interests/specialisations in various areas of the back-end. The juniors still lack identity but we’re free to explore our own areas of interest and move towards a specialisation of our choosing. We pair often and everything is code reviewed. Anyone can deploy to production and we have a continuous delivery process that is always being improved.

We believe in trying new things often and failing quickly to learn faster. We do weekly catch ups with our dev manager to discuss any issues/ideas/thoughts related to our personal growth/work.

Every two weeks we have an optional developer lunch where all the devs in the building (our building holds 5 companies) share topics of interest through mini presentations, or we watch tech related talks for an hour. We run a hack session every few months where we take a few days off to collaborate on something fun/interesting. Every week, everyone is encouraged to take one study hour to learn something new. It can be related to the work you’re doing or simply something of interest. We believe in constant growth and learning. 

At the end of the day, I think our most prominent identity is that we blend work and play seamlessly. Personally, I find the whole thing a form of playing. Sometimes I’m playing with code, other times I’m taking a break by playing some sports. Lunch hours sometimes sees half the office leave to play soccer/football, tennis, go for a run or hit the gym. Everyday, we run a trivia quiz at 4pm for anybody that wants to join in. I have only known two answers for all the times I’ve participated, but I’m sure I’ll win one day. Outside of the office, we also have social events that range from drinks to concerts. The office manager organises the social events for the building, but it looks like I’m going to become the organiser for our company!

Quiz time!

Quiz time!

So there you have it! There’s much more to be said but that’s a taste of our startup culture. What do you like about your startup culture?

If our culture has peaked your interest, feel free to drop me a line. We’re always looking for stellar people.


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