Last week at Tech Fest Vancouver (a local recruiting event), I pitched the audience of ~700 on “why you should work for Hootsuite”, in two minutes, with no slides.

The shorter the time frame for a speech, the more effort required to distill only the essentials. Mark Twain said If you want me to give you a two-hour presentation, I am ready today. If you want only a five-minute speech, it will take me two weeks to prepare.” [1]

I spent some time thinking about why our organization is special, above and beyond the more obvious and public facing perks (a poor substitute for culture), and decided to tell a story about what motivates me to go to work everyday.

Channeling my inner rockstar.
Blinded by the lights. Photocredit

My Story

I’ve been reading a book lately, one that my Dad – who’s been in business for over 40 years – said was one of the most outstanding business books he’s ever read. It’s called Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Disney Animation Studios.

Let me share you a quote from the book, because it stood out to me as something I say and feel about Hootsuite:

“What makes Pixar special is that we acknowledge we will always have problems, many of them hidden from our view; that we work hard to uncover these problems, even if doing so means making ourselves uncomfortable; and that, when we come across a problem, we marshal all of our energies to solve it. This, more than any elaborate party or turreted workstation, is why I love coming to work in the morning. It is what motivates me and gives me a definite sense of mission.”

This is the same reason I go to Hootsuite in the morning. The people. Their mindset. The recognition that change is constant and sometimes uncomfortable, but that we’re all in it together, and collectively we can make our situation better.

Each quarter this year we’ve done an internal open space/unconference with over 150 people in two locations; Vancouver and Bucharest. All ideas are put forth by participants, the people that make up Product & Engineering. The whole idea is to learn from one another and learn about one another. To surface the things that aren’t working – to fix them – and to surface the things that work really well, to spread to others.

This is how we ended up with No Meeting Days on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is how we ended up visualizing our issues with our build server and hiring a Build Engineer. This is how we ended up with a Technical Recruiting Guild to improve our hiring practices. This is how we ended up with an internal Stack-Overflow to help share expertise within our growing department.

My point is, the issues that arise from rapid change and growth can be unnerving but it becomes fulfilling and motivating when you are solving them together. At Hootsuite this means working as part of a passionate, egoless team having fun building something bigger than ourselves.

Over in our booth we’ve listed eight current issues that we’re actively working on. We recognize that some of you, out there in the audience, have some answers that can help. Come and have a conversation with us on our couch.

Thank you.

Why should someone work at your company?

@mackmarshall91 talks software on the #convocouch at #tvtechfest #hootsuite

A post shared by Noel Pullen (@noelpullen) on

[1] My source is Goodreads though the origin of the quote is debatable.


To Tracey, Rajan, Matt D, Lindsay, and Kimli for their input.

About the Author Noel Pullen 200x200

Noel focuses on culture, employee engagement, community involvement, and training for Hootsuite’s technical groups. He loves to exchange ideas and would like to hear how you do these things at your organization. Get in touch via Twitter @noelpullen.