Erika is a full-stack marketer passionate about the intersection between technology and social impact. She mixes research with content design and a human touch to help people and startups succeed in delivering value through their work. When not writing or talking to people, you’ll find her reading or quoting Hamilton for any life situation.
There’s nothing like the last of autumn sunshine to make you reflect on all the awesome stuff the Tapp Squad did together this year. We’ve organised Tapp Talks, team breakfasts, birthday get-togethers, our yearly team building and our traditional rooftop party. And they all contribute to the magic glue that keeps us together and nurtures our ‘get stuff done’ attitude.
Simona, our Team Happiness Manager, calls it company culture. We like calling it magic glue, even if that doesn’t have as much scientific backup.
Here are the highlights of the year, as reported by our Tapp Squad.
Tapp Talks – Knowledge sharing is caring
Step into the kitchen at any time of the day for your cup of coffee, and you’ll catch the occasional debate on a product, a piece of code, a particularly simple, yet well thought out, interaction design. We loved seeing people share what they do and what they’re learning, so we decided to formalise this in a monthly meetup. We lovingly called these internal meetups Tapp Talks.
The format itself has been longtime tried and tested by others as well, so we saw no reason to change it: 20 minutes for each speaker, with a Q&A session at the end. The topic could be chosen by the PM, developer, designer, or the growth team member speaking. They covered topics such as:
- Behind the scenes in the making of project
- The process of discussing and closing a new lead
- Machine learning and more new technologies
Tapp Talks are the way we celebrate our wins with the whole team. Some are about launching a new product or a new feature. Some are about the behind-the-scenes of bringing in new projects to work on.
The end of a Tapp Talks day is also the time to celebrate our teammates’ birthdays from that month. We’re always happy to be along for the ride as they complete another journey around the sun. Cue cake and drinks, as well as an ear-splitting ‘Happy Birthday’ song with a healthy dash of embarrassed shuffling for the birthday kids. We’ll be honest with you, we’re never going to have our own company band.
Squad goal unlocked: The yearly team building
There’s a lot of things we try not to take too seriously. Code pieces glitch, but those can be fixed. Typos get through the cracks, but that’s why the edit button was invented. Sometimes the food delivery is late, but we’ve got closets full of snacks to help us move the lunch hour for later (sorry, mom!).
But there are two things we take very seriously in this company.
One is the products. We’re a product company, what did you expect?
The other is the yearly team building. We take our relaxing and quality time together very, VERY seriously.
The team building is all about the challenges
For this year’s venture, we went for a beautiful location at Salciua, a Bed and Breakfast called Sub Piatra (Under the cliff).
The first day was all about relaxing, discovering the surroundings, and playing a massive round of ‘Mafia’.
The second day, we took on challenges that had a “Mission Impossible” ring to them.
The first challenge was a run against the clock to collect several items and tiny critters and crawlers. The list included:
- One meter of string
- A spider
- A snail
- A car tire
Spoiler alert: you can find spiders in dark places, and snails in wet underbrushes. For the car tires, there was some serious negotiating going on for the spare tires of the local car owners.
The second was a team-based board game with a lot of storytelling behind it. The challenge: climb (the metaphorical) Everest with limited resources. Each team would get a rock for each day (round) they spent on the peak. To win, a team had to come down safely with as many rocks as they could gather.
The game itself was fun for the teams, starting from planning resources and hard negotiations to hoping for the best. How do you plan an expedition like this? What do you take with you? How do you negotiate inside the team or with the other teams?
And in typical Tapp Squad fashion (going where no one has gone before), one team doomed to an early (icy) death threw a wrench in the game. They donated all their rocks to another team.
The insights we took back to our real life
The highlight of this game is how much of it could be translated into real-life scenarios. They say life is a game, and some days you win, some days you lose. It’s on days with conversations like these that you realise how much truth there is in that simple sentence. Some of the things we figured out included:
- If you want to make good plans, you need to take into account all the risk factors
- Successfully negotiating in high-stress situations requires that extra effort of empathy, even if you’re feeling on your own. The best teams were able to successfully plan and include all the team members’ concerns.
- There’s a fine line between driving competitiveness to win vs pushing competitiveness to the point it ruins the team. That extra effort in empathy pays off here too.
- All teams were bad at foreseeing the environment they were entering. Hoping to get resources from other teams in a resource-scarce environment is really not a recipe for success. Especially when all the teams have the same plan.
Seriously, do your research at home. Evidence-based decisions are always better-made decisions.
August brought the traditional Rooftop Party
On the last weekend of August, we had one more shebang to celebrate the sunny days. We used this as an excuse to party on the really neat rooftop terrace of our office.
The party is the classic combo of great location, good food, good drinks, nice music and great people. It’s one of those moments where we disconnect from work and just enjoy each other’s company.
For the Tapp Squad, it’s all in a day’s work
We’re a straightforward bunch: every day at Tapptitude, we work together, we take care of each other, we have fun together. The way we push each other to grow and enjoy ourselves is a reflection of the way we work with our clients. We pay attention to their goals and encourage them to do better at all times.
We believe a successful company is one where everyone has the environment to thrive.
- For our Tapp Squad, it means doing work that matters.
- For our clients, it means building great products with intent and forethought.
- For their users, it’s making sure they get products they love to use.
We call it the circle of tech, but if you squint at it, it may just pass off as the circle of modern life. At the end of the day, we work to deliver only good things into the world, so good things come back to us.