November 1, 2012

Job 1

Job 1 The first “new” post in my series of posts about Return Path’s 14 Core Values is, fittingly, Job 1:  We are all responsible for championing and extending our unique culture as a competitive advantage. The single most frequently asked question I have gotten internally over the last few years since we grew quickly from 100 employees to 350 has been some variant of “Are you worried about our ability to scale our culture as we hire in so many new people?”  This value is the answer to that question, though the short answer is “no.” I am not solely responsible for our culture at Return Path. I’m not sure I ever was, even when we were small.  Neither is Angela, our SVP of People.  That said, it was certainly true that I was the main architect and driver of our culture in the really early years of the company’s life.  And I’d add that even up to an employee base of about 100 people, I and a small group of senior or tenured people really shouldered most of the burden of defining and driving and enforcing our culture and values. But as the business has grown, the amount […]


October 26, 2012

Exciting News for Return Path

Exciting News for Return Path If you’ll indulge me in a quick moment of company self-promotion, we are so excited at Return Path to announce that we have been included in Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the Best Places to Work — we are ranked #11 in the Medium Size Company category!  Our official blog post/press release are here. This is really exciting and a testament to all 360+ of our talented team members at the company.  When we talk about one of our core values as being Job 1 — a shared responsibility for championing and extending our unique culture […]


September 6, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 7: Create a Thankful Atmosphere

The Best Place to Work, Part 7: Create a Thankful Atmosphere My final installment of this long series on Creating the best place to work (no hierarchy intended by the order) is about Creating a thankful atmosphere. What does creating a thankful atmosphere get you?  It gets you great work, in the form of people doing their all to get the job done.  We humans – all of us, absolutely including CEOs – appreciate being recognized when they do good work.  Honestly, I love what I do and would do it without any feedback, but nothing resonates with me more than […]


August 30, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 6: Let People Be People

The Best Place to Work, Part 6: Let People Be People Last week, in this continuing series on creating the best place to work, I talked about being a great enabler of people, meaning you do your best to let people do their best work.  This week, I want to talk about Letting People Be People. I wrote about topic a bit this last year when I wrote my series on Return Path’s Core Values, in particular the post on our value People Work to Live, Not Live to Work . Work-life balance is critical.  I’ve worked in a grind-it-out […]


August 23, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 5: Be the ultimate enabler

Fifth in my series on creating the best place to work – Being the best enabler.  As any management guru will tell you, as you have a larger and larger team, your job is much less about getting good work done than it is enabling others to get good work done.  What does that mean? First, don’t be a bottleneck.  You don’t have to be an Inbox-Zero nut (but feel free if you’d like), but you do need to make sure you don’t have people in the company chronically waiting on you before they can take their next actions on […]


August 16, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 4: Be the Consummate Host

The Best Place to Work, Part 4: Be the Consummate Host Besides Surrounding yourself with the best and brightest , Creating an environment of trust,  and Managing yourself very, very well, it’s important for you as a creator of The Best Place to Work to Be the Consummate Host. What does that mean?  This is how I approach my job every day.  I think of the company as a party, where I’m the host.  I want everyone to have a good time.  To get along with the other guests.  To be excited to come back the next time I have […]


August 9, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 3: Manage yourself very, very well

Part of creating the best place to work  is learning how to self manage – very, very well.  This is an essential part of Creating an environment of trust , but only one part.  What does self-management mean?  First, and most important, it means realizing that you are in a fishbowl.  You are always on display.  You are a role model in everything you do, from how you dress, to how you talk on the phone, to the way you treat others, to when you show up to work.  But what are some specifics to think about while you swim […]


August 2, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 2: Create an environment of trust

Last week, I wrote about surrounding yourself with the best and brightest.  Next in this series of posts  is all about Creating an environment of trust.  This is closely related to the blog post I wrote a while back in my series on Return Path’s Core Values on Transparency.  At the end of the day, transparency, authenticity, and caring create an environment of trust. Some examples of that? Go over the real board slides after every board meeting – let everyone in the company know what was discussed (no matter how large you are, but of course within reason) Give bad […]


July 26, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 1: Surround yourself with the best and brightest

First in my series of posts around creating the best place to work  is to Surround yourself with the best and brightest.  This one is simple.  Build the best team you can possibly build…as you need it. As a founder, you may be the best person at doing everything in your company, especially if you are a technical founder.  But as my long-time Board member at Return Path Greg Sands always says, when the organism grows, cells start to specialize.  Eventually, you need a liver and a brain.  Just like companies need a head of sales and a CFO (not […]


July 19, 2012

The Best Place to Work, Part 0

The Best Place to Work, Part 0 I keep getting questions about a deck I’ve used several times at Techstars, Seedcamp, DreamIt, and the like which is called “7 Ideas for Creating the Best Place to Work.”  So today I will launch a 7-part series over the next 7 weeks to describe my 7 points.  As always, this is not intended to be perfect or comprehensive, but it is a bit of lessons learned over the last 12-13 years at Return Path.  It’s just 7 ideas – not the only 7 ideas.  And there’s nothing magic about the number 7, […]