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Goodbye 2013. Hello 2014!

Thank you to our clients, partners, family and friends for an awesome 2013. We can’t wait to grow together in 2014!

rodan

song

squats

high5

football

jill_dom

phil

tshirts


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Culture

Our engineering culture

On Friday I was talking to Kevin, another member of the team here, about our ongoing search for a VP of engineering. At some point in the discussion, he challenged me to actually write out what I appreciate about being a programmer at Percolate.

I’m convinced that culture is pretty vital in any engineering effort, so it sounded like an interesting challenge. There are a few basic aspects of Percolate’s coding culture that I think are particularly unique and enjoyable, so I’d like to talk about those in no specific order.

Choosing the right tool for the job

One of the things that I value most about the writing software at Percolate is that preference is always given to the right tool for the job, even if the right tool is outside of our familiarity.

This results in a rich ecosystem of Python libraries: our core app runs in Django, but for smaller services we use Flask, and for nascent hacks we use Google’s App Engine. For most modeling we use relational databases, but for more exotic kinds of data we turn to alternate storage technologies like MongoDB or Amazon’s DynamoDB (depending on structure and access patterns). Sometimes we distribute work with a message queue, sometimes with a Redis set: It all depends on which technique will best solve the problem at hand.

The autonomy to solve a problem with the best technology available is a luxury for programmers. Most organizations I’ve been exposed to are encumbered, in varying degrees, by institutional favorites or “safe” bets without regard for the problem to be solved. Engineering at Percolate has so far been free of that trap, which results in a constantly engaging, productive mode of work.

I also appreciate that our culture recognizes another implication of the “right tool for the job” principle: We’re wary of the use of a tool just for novelty’s sake. We recognize that there are right and wrong tools within the context of a particular problem, even if in degrees. Tools bolstered mostly by hype are commonly regarded with caution around the office.

automation!

A culture of automation

On your first day as an engineer at Percolate, ten minutes after cloning our development repo (colloquially called Devolate), you have a full, usable Percolate instance with the latest production code. Everything from the message queue to the Nginx process is configured and running on your virtual environment, thanks to CFEngine (which also manages our production servers).

After you create your first branch and make a code change, you open a pull request on Github. A Jenkins build is automatically initiated for your branch and test results are reported back to your pull request without you doing anything.

One of our internal tools notices that a human reviewer left a comment OK’ing the PR; it also notices that the tests have passed, so it automatically transitions the task for your branch to QA. Our QA engineer, Mahima, stages your branch with the assistance of a Hubot instance that manages our distributed stage.

shamu BOOM

Your branch passes QA and is merged to master. API documentation is then generated and pushed live, drawing from automated test results and controller code to provide usage examples. Your code is then deployed to our production servers with one command. Graphite monitors visualize how the system responds to your change on two big flatscreens.

Automation is a priority here; it’s really the core of our development methodology. There is a strong consensus on the team that removing any and all boilerplate in the development cycle makes writing code not only more enjoyable, but it allows us to ship frequently and safely.

Excellent coffee-making equipment

Coffeemaking
Enough said.

Appreciation of the Unix philosophy

Not all of our engineers are die-hard, crusty Unix aficionados (though one maintains a pretty heavy-duty commandline tool written in, of course, C), but most everyone on the team seems to have an appreciation for old-school Unix philosophy.

  1. Less is more: We don’t build cache layers until we’ve proven we need them.
  2. Simpler is better: Do the silly O(n^2) loop if it’s more readable, then refactor it when (if!) it becomes a problem.
  3. Be clear: Our style-guide encourages use of the grep test.
  4. Clean boundaries: Our frontend is powered off our own REST API; decomposing the system into services is a priority.

Rapid prototyping, a classic Unix technique, is a big part of our philosophy. We’ve found that releasing features in small, steady increments (usually starting with the very backend) is key in building features that are seamlessly deployed, timely, and well thought out.

Strong personal responsibility

No matter how junior you are, designs are never handed down wholesale. Each engineer is responsible for designing, proposing, and tailoring an architecture for the problem at hand (of course, there’re always other smart folks around to informally gut-check ideas, which happens often). Consequently, each engineer takes responsibility for the feature and any subsequent bugs that arise.

This is far from a unilateral process though; integration and negotiation with other teams are constants. A backend engineer might have to come to agreement with the data and frontend teams, which are a great opportunity for sanity checks. But a strong sense of agency is an important part of how engineering works at Percolate.

This provides an excitement and autonomy that are important in any creative process.

Community involvement

Being involved with communities is an integral part of being an effective engineer. It’s an easy way to learn, stay current, and drink too much.

To that end, we’ve been to PyCon two years running. We’ve hosted Python events at our HQ. We’ve given talks around NYC.

Open source tools have allowed us to build Percolate, and we’re committed to the idea that opensourcing is the fastest way to quality. We’ve patched open source projects (backbone.js, ddbmock, fake_dynamo, RestKit). We’ve also opensourced some of our own (jennifer, jsonmatch) with more to come.

People

Culture stems from people. Good people are a prerequisite for good culture, and there is no substitute for being surrounded by those who are dedicated to perfecting their craftsmanship, writing beautiful code, and creating exciting product. My co-workers are, by far, the aspect of our engineering culture that I enjoy most.

Help build our culture

If these values and ideas sound appealing, you should get in touch.


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Team

So It Begins

This is a selfish post. It’s written so that I can articulate a path to a choice and the best way I know how to articulate it is to write it out publicly.

This morning I rode my bike to a new office in SoHo where I joined Percolate as the Director of Brand Strategy, (if you look closely you can see my new card being designed).

While today is my first day with Percolate, on reflection Percolate and its amazing people have been intersecting with my life for the past three years and what Percolate intends to do has been around my life for the past 10.

In 2010 James Gross published this bit from Noah Brier which I then reblogged with some indecipherable addition. Underlying my idiotic addition was a very real excitement about what was being described about the future of marketing. Like James, Noah and the rest of Percolate team, I was feeling marketing shift beneath my feet even as I sat guiding big brands like LG, Denny’s, Virgin Atlantic and Citi/AA Credit as an advertising strategy director.

That may not have been the first interaction James and I had (probably something about running with five-finger shoes that was originally posted by Scott Rafer), but it clearly was an inflection point in our digital connection. About a year after, James and I met in person over coffee at The Smile. James shared that he had started a company with Noah called Percolate. The thing that got me so excited was that Percolate was going to build tools for brands to publish content at scale. This felt right as I had spent the past three years watching brands and their agencies attempt to connect on social in the same campaign driven ways that they did in traditional media. It simply didn’t work. Brands had to be faster. They had to fill the stream and expose the diversity of their brands, rather than the unity.

The Percolate approach also vibed with the thinking of Kevin Kelly, The Snarkmarket Crew, Danah Boyd and others that I had been reading to help contextualize this communications shift. I dug it and as soon as I could I got my client Denny’s on the platform. Check the Denny’s Blog to see the impact.

In 2004, I left commercial real estate sales in NYC because it didn’t align with the future. For the past 10 years, I’ve been working to build my knowledge and skill sets so that I could make career choices that would benefit from technology’s destabilizing impacts. In New York, that meant broadly betting on startup culture, network thinking and the long term viability of brands.

Percolate is at the nexus of these forces and I believe it is highly probable that it can be a profoundly impactful company. I’m proud to be joining this team and thank James, Noah, Mike, Kunur, Jo, Rodan, Peter and Sarah for believing that I can have a positive impact. I intend to deliver above and beyond their expectations and look forward to getting to know each and every member of the Percolate team.

This post originally appeared on my blog last night. And if you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read, join us. We’re hiring.


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

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Employees

So, you want to ride a bicycle in NYC?

In the spirit of NYC’s bike to work week, here’s some guidance around buying your first bike. Like most things you read on the internet, please take this with a grain of salt, but know that I’ve been riding a bike to work for about 7 years (5 in SF and 2 in NY).

First of all, get excited!

Riding a bike is incredibly freeing. What used to be a 45 minute G train ride from Williamsburg to Prospect Park is now a 25 minute cruise with plenty of scenic brownstones in between. And with the immutable presence of fried chicken in this town, we could all benefit from more exercise.

$$$?

But aren’t bikes expensive? Not really! Depending on whether you want a used or new bike, you can find yourself a reliable steed in the range of $500. If you consider a monthly metro pass is $116 or even the cost of owning and maintaining a car (gulp!), bikes offer incredible value.

Buying a Bike

Option one – go analog (also known as, support your local bike shop):

Physically going into a bike shop and actually checking out the models is a great way to get to know what you like and see what’s out there. Bicycling.com recommends calling two or three different shops to get a sense of the styles and brands they carry in advance to save time. You can also get a sense of how amenable the shops are to first-time bike owners. 

Two bike shops I’ve found to be very good are Velo in the East Village and Bicycle Habitat in Soho. Even if you don’t end up buying your bike there, you can patronize these shops by picking up a light, or a lock there.

For a great first commuter bike, I recommend going single speed. New York is relatively flat, and single speed bikes are easy to maintain with less moving parts to break or have stolen. A bike with a flip-flop hub will enable you to switch to fixed gear. Even if you have greater aspirations of going from being commuter to a proper cyclist, the single speed will carry you through many a long ride up the Westside Highway or around Prospect Park.

Option two – the Internet:

Once you begin to familiarize yourself with brands, you can read up on various reviews. Bike forums are chock full of information and personal feedback around different brands so its easy to start to learn how models stack up in terms of quality. 

For example, in reading up on a frame I was considering, I learned that an online retailer (Performance) had a house brand that was more affordable and getting great reviews.

Option two and a half – Craigslist is your friend:

Once have an understanding of what brands are good and pricing, you can take a much more targeted approach to your Craigslist search. For someone on a budget, Craigslist can be a great path to getting value. Just understand like anything else from Craiglist, caveat emptor.

The Gear

In my experience – some of the most important factors that play in when owning a good commuter bike are having a good comfortable seat, good wheels and durable tires (saving the headache of a flat).

For seats I really like the Fizik Arione, but everyone’s ‘seats’ are different. You can always go the route of the classic Brooks saddle, but don’t forget the not so classic Nylon chain to help keep it from being stolen.

As far as helmets, my number one recommendation is to wear one. After that, buy something comfortable and not too expensive, because that way you can lock it to your bike without feeling nervous. Giro makes a nice range at accessible prices and if you are looking for something more urban check out Bern.

Comfortable sneakers with a hard rubber sole like Vans, Superga or Chrome will do you right. If you’re aiming for a bit of a higher rung on the style ladder, maybe a good wedge sole will catch the discerning lense of The Sartorialist

Overall – Get a bike you like, that feels good to ride and you’ll be excited to hop on in the morning, or after a long day of work.

On the Williamsburg Bridge

So, I’ve Bought a Bike. Now What?

My Go to Streets for Navigating Manhattan are:

North: 1st ave, 6th ave & 8th ave

South: 2nd ave, Broadway & 9th ave

West: Spring Street , 9th St. & 21st St.

East: Grand St, Stanton St., Bleecker St. & 20th St.

A PDF of the 2013 Bike Map for New York can be found here.

Tips & Tricks?

Don’t be a jerk. Running red lights into oncoming traffic, darting in front of pedestrians and riding the wrong way is a fast path to getting hit, or at the least bad karma. And don’t get frustrated with salmon, those impatient cyclists or even roller bladers who feel the need to go the wrong way in the bike lanes.

Sandwiches:

Reward your new purchase by riding to Ferdinando’s in Red Hook and having their focaccia sandwich. It’s not easy to get to by subway and you’ll never look at ricotta cheese the same way again.


There are no shortage of jaywalkers, double parked delivery vans, and errant food carts to complicate your ride, but if you ride with respect and keep aware of your surroundings, you’ll do great and have a blast. Now get out there and enjoy yourself!

Questions? Say hi on Twitter. I’m @brosbeshow.


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

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Employees

PyCon 2013 Recap: Readability Matters

Part of the Percolate engineering team attended this year’s PyCon, held in (comparatively) sunny Santa Clara, CA. Attending the conference was an enjoyable, productive experience for us; it gave us a chance to think about the direction of our system and development practices outside of the frenzy of everyday development. Not to mention it was nice to relax in warm spring weather over a few beers.

Many good talks were given, and the hallways were abuzz with enthusiastic creators.

Relaxing after a “long day” of conferencing

“Readability counts.”

Of the many topics that were discussed at the conference, there was one theme that resonated strongly with me: the community’s focus on clarity and simplicity in the language. In particular, Raymond Hettinger gave a number of good talks that promoted using Python language built-ins to simplify the expression of ideas in code.

Let’s take a fairly contrived (but illustrative) example. In Java, if I want to sum the squares of a list of integers, I’ll probably write something like

public Integer sumSquares(List list) {
    Integer sum = 0;
    for (Integer i:list)
        sum = sum + (i * i);
    return sum;
}

The same idea expressed in idiomatic Python would read:

def sum_squares(alist):
    return sum(i ** 2 for i in alist)

I don’t mean to pick on Java here; it’s a language I admire for many reasons. That said, the relative readability of Python is a big win. Less boilerplate for the eye to parse means quicker comprehension. Logical omissions or faults are more easily identified, which decreases bugs and time spent reviewing. A clearer language facilitates more frequent deploys.

The contrast above might not strike you as being significant, but if you consider magnifying that kind of difference to web applications that are thick lattices of complex business logic, the contrast goes from pedantic to essential. I won’t sell old news, though; this subject has been well covered.

Hettinger also mentioned exciting additions to the standard library in Python 3 that will help make commonly-expressed ideas concise. For example, take the way we’d disregard an exception in Python 2.7:

try:
    content = f.read()
except IOError:
    pass

versus a built-in context manager in Python 3.3:

with ignored(IOError):
    content = f.read()

Pretty nice, huh? There’s nothing like being in a big room of people who get excited about this sort of stuff.

@raymondh delivering the goods.

One of the things I enjoyed most about the talks at PyCon was watching core developers negotiate the balance between language simplicity and convenience. Any additional “conveniences,” by necessity, introduce added complexity to the language. But if no conveniences are ever introduced, the result is overly-verbose, stiff code. Python’s leaders do an impressive job of managing trade-offs in this department.

“One– and preferably only one –obvious way to do it.”

So, readable code helps us build Percolate quickly and safely. But the speakers at PyCon weren’t just concerned with simple syntax: they also discussed conceptual simplicity. Oft quoted documents included the sometimes-cryptic but profound Zen of Python and PEP8, the canonical source of style.

We’ve found PEP8 in particular to be a huge aid as the size of our engineering team grows. Many other environments I’ve worked in have been wrought with argument and frustration around proper code formatting; Python provides a standard. This encourages a uniform, consistent presentation and allows us to avoid many style-related arguments by appealing to a neutral document. This kind of standardization allows us to use automated tools that ensure new code is easy to read.

“Flat is better than nested.”

One of the most exciting parts of the conference for me was hearing Guido Van Rossum, Python’s Benevolent Dictator for Life, discuss his work on the new asynchronous framework Tulip. This project seeks to combat the hairy problem of asynchronous execution with a mechanism called coroutines. It is Guido’s attempt to unify a few disparate approaches in the Python ecosystem into a standard, consistent way within Python.

Almost every experience I’ve had with callbacks as a solution to an asynchronous problem has resulted in deeply-nested code that seems more difficult than necessary to trace through. The result is often lengthy debugging sessions. Guido’s approach with coroutines is exciting because it is an augmentation of Python’s flat function calls (prefix a “yield from” to the call), so we can read through code in a consistent way, independent of concurrency.

“Simple is better than complex.”

Percolate as a tool has many of the same aims that Python does, namely simplicity and effectiveness. Our trip to PyCon reminded me that there is huge value in studying the tools that we admire as we construct our own.


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

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Community

Percolate 4.0 Brainstorm

4.0_1

Building a thoughtful technology company takes many minds. Last week we brought together the entire Percolate company to brainstorm the next iteration of Percolate’s software.

Our product manager Stacy and Design Director Dom organized the session and set the stage for how we should be thinking about the future of Percolate.

Having grown almost threefold in size since the last company-wide brainstorming, Dom walked everyone through the evolution of Percolate since day 1.

4.0_2

This brought newbies and veterans alike up to speed on how we got to where we are today and how what we’ve learned along the way might inform future plans for Percolate.

Before diving into the actual brainstorming of the new product, we were asked to forget everything we knew about Percolate to date. So as not to bias our ideas for new features and functionality, Dom and Stacy outlined the following criteria for brainstorming 4.0:

1. Forget everything
2. Think in workflows
3. Sketch (Actions, Flows, Interfaces, States)
4. How might we create the most amazing version?
5. Have fun

We then broke into groups, sketched out individual ideas channeling a little Percolate Pictionary, presented those to the group and then assembled the best ones to present to the entire company.

4.0_3

I came out of the 4.0 brainstorming session with a few key take-aways for building an awesome technology platform:

  • Create an environment that sifts out the best ideas: During the brainstorming session our time limitations forced us to prioritize what was most important. Our short 10-minute bursts of brainstorming forced us to focus on the most critical features for our given challenge.
  • More inputs lead to better outputs: Involving the entire company helped us to crowdsource the best ideas for Percolate 4.0.
  • Designing to build a culture and community: Getting Percolators to wear a designer’s hat for a day brought everyone together in a unique way. Each person had a say in the company’s future and had an opportunity to exercise their talents in new and different ways.

If joining us sounds like an awesome idea, get in touch or check out our jobs page.


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Employees

Are You on the Right Team?

Each basketball player who’s made it to the NBA/WNBA has been ‘the star’ for a portion of their career. I include portion because these young men and women were likely the centerpiece of their high school or college team. That status likely changed once they made it to the highest levels of basketball where there are 14 other ‘stars’ on the roster.

The great equalizer in NBA/WNBA isn’t height. It’s humility. Would you be able to accept your new role on a team of all-stars? How would you adjust after spending most of your developing life being told you’re the best only to suddenly be the second or third option off the bench? That’s the reality these players are facing.

One of my all-time favorite players, Chauncy Billups, is one example of someone whose years of hard work, right timing and a new team propelled him from role player to NBA All-Star. But, before becoming a five-time All-Star and 2004 Finals MVP, Billups was a NBA journeyman playing for five teams in his first five years.

Billups_journeymanjpg

I’ve followed Billups since he was in high school, watched him play at the University of Colorado and was excited when the Boston Celtics took him 3rd overall in the 1997 draft. But, things didn’t work out like he, or the Celtics, imagined. They shipped him off in a trade and he remained on the wrong teams until he joined the Detroit Pistons in 2002.

It all began to change once in Detroit. He was surrounded by equally hungry and talented teammates and had a visionary coach who saw the team’s potential to disrupt the Western Conferences domination from 1999-2003. And disrupt they would: Billups and his teammates in Detroit won the championship in 2004 and returned to the Finals in 2005.

blog_img

We think about teams everyday at Percolate and over the last many months, we’ve attracted some incredibly talented individuals. Their backgrounds are diverse, and include banking, journalism, the art world, a major social network and recent college graduates, to name just a few. But everyone who joins Percolate, whatever their background, has one thing in common: he or she bought into our vision to redefine the future of digital marketing. And every single person at Percolate is doing his or her part to make this an incredible place to work.

Hackday-Ladies

Good news is we’re still hiring. We have 14 job openings. If you’re interested in joining our team, please get in touch because unlike the NBA/WNBA, you can choose where you play…

Hackday-Ladies2


Want to learn how Percolate can help with your content marketing?

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Community

Percolate Hack Day 2013: Highlights

On Friday, the teams at Percolate – business and product – assembled for #hackpercolate 2013.

Nourished by a delicious and healthy breakfast and raring to go, we divvied up into teams to work on projects ranging from a mobile site to a dashboard view of key metrics in Percolate to an internal website that showed the occupancy state of the bathroom. Yes, you read that correctly and can read the dedicated post for how well that went.

team-aroma

Dispatch from Team Aroma (Arduino Light)

Team Aroma started with the bare materials of Arduino and ended with a product that shows – via LED smiley face –  1. when a client logs in and 2. when a client post is published via Percolate. Erik taught Sarah, Song, and Max to solder, which was key to connecting the circuits so that the display would work. Meanwhile, JOB and Luke worked on programming for the Arduino device (after Max did the original Arduino set-up), enabling it to communicate with the server and display a corresponding bitmap image. On the back end for the server, Danny checked for new posts and logins with Max’s help.

Great news, the team’s prototype worked on the first try–boom! Currently, we are trying to be fancy and get usernames to scroll that will correspond to the login. Sarah christened this project with the name “Aroma.” Erin also made an excellent presentation to showoff everyone’s hardwork. And, in the end, JOB cleaned up our mess. Thank you sir.

Team Perco-Users

Dispatch from Team Perco-Users

The Perco-user team was comprised of two developers, one designer and five business folks with a shared goal of making it easier for all Percolate employees to understand the frequency of client usage.  Peter, an account manager at Percolate, tracks and analyzes client usage data daily.  He knows this information like the back of his hand.  However, Percolators in other functions don’t have easy access to this data.  Our goal was to fix that. We set out to build an internal dashboard that easily communicates software usage.  The ultimate objective is to understand client behavior to improve our product.

We began the brainstorm to find a balance between business need, creativity and product feasibility.  Once we had the general concept, each discipline got to work. With a framework for the dashboard, we needed to understand how to best represent the data to keep it easily consumable.  We decided it should be represented in two forms; an aggregate snapshot of all business, and a detailed breakout of each client.

In the end, the output was a blend of our unique perspectives from across the business. Now, everyone can understand software usage and work together – product and business – to get clients Percolating to their full potential.  Because the more you Percolate, the happier you are!

KeepGoing!

And, a very special thanks to Kate Whitlow for her fantastic and healthy catering services.

FOOD


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Culture

Team Bathroom on Percolate Hack Day

As a startup grows, so does the bathroom line.

Percolate has outgrown our office space, so the mention of Arduino technology during Hack Day kick-off quickly birthed an idea. We can build a way to check if the bathroom’s vacant from the comfort of your desk.

When Team Bathroom assembled–near the bathroom, of course–the first move was out the door. A shopping trip was in order.

1-burglar-alarm-store

At Canal Alarm Devices, the team picked up magnetic sensors to detect when the bathroom door opens.

1-team-in-burglar-alarm-store

Say hi everybody! From left above: April, Percolate office manager; Ian W, ops; Erik, mathematician; and Noah, co-founder and head of product.

2-street-brainstorming

There was a moment of reflection on Canal Street: How is this going to work exactly? The magnets tell a website if the toliet was vacant or occupied, if the door is open or closed. Visit a website to see and, if the door is closed, put your name–better yet, your Twitter handle–in the queue. When it’s your turn, you receive a tweet.

4-april-learning-code

Then it was time to execute. Back at the office, April learned to code for the first time.

5-circuit-board

And Ian and Erik got to programming the Arduino.

5-fieldtrips

Clearly, more field trips were eventually in order.

8-PercolateWC-on-Twitter

Meanwhile Brand Strategists Kunur and Jo selected the Twitter handle @PercolateWC and eventually wrangled a designer, Erin, for a crash-course in wireframing.

6-learning-how-to-wireframe

7-wireframe-evolution

It took a bit of time for Kunur and Jo to find the wireframing templates.

8-leila

At lunch, the team got a visit from Noah’s wife Leila. Clearly the Twitter bathroom reporter idea was born years ago: At Naked Communications, back when Twitter was first taking off, Noah sat near the loo and kept the office informed: “available,” “not available,” “hold off, someone took a while in there.”

picstitch

Soon enough, Ian got the hardware working. Kunur, otherwise useless in these situations, put it on Vine.

nourl-prototype

And a working prototype was born in one working day. Awesome job Team Bathroom and on-the-fly recruits Doug and James OB.


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Team

More on Barista

After Greg’s post on curiosity and communication the other day I thought it was worth digging a little deeper into Barista, our internal communication tool, which Greg introduced at the end of his post.

Like Greg, for a long time I’ve been fascinated by serendipity as a business driver. It started when I used to work for an agency called Naked Communications that was well-known for sitting around one big table. It struck me that this table allowed us to move quickly because we were all in a constant state of ambient awareness. Of course overhearing others’ conversations can sometimes be distracting, it also frequently leads to solutions you didn’t know were possible. What I realized at that point was that while most people identify communication as the major challenge as company’s scale, it’s actually serendipity.

Since starting Percolate I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we do this. Greg pointed out some of the ways (process, documentation, small office, all-hands meetings), but I also felt like there was an opportunity to build tools to help us solve for more serendipity as we continue to grow (in December of 2010 we were 0, December of 2012 we were 7 and December of 2013 we were 30). That’s where Barista came from.

The idea is simple: Anyone can ask a question and direct it for answering to anyone else in the company. You can also subscribe to a question to get new answers as they emerge.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 10.57.58 AM copy

In addition questions can be “verified” by the admins, which means it’s an official company answer.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 10.59.11 AM copy

Where the power (and serendipity) comes in is from the “magic search” which looks for unique words as you search and shows you additional questions asked about that.

Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 11.01.07 AM copy

Like everything else here, this is a work in progress and we have lots more plans for where it will go in the future. But we’re excited about Barista and it fits into our belief that a product company needs to think about how to build products everywhere. It also speaks to our desire to try to keep building new things that are tangentially related to the product but drive value inside the company. To do these things we often bring in outside developers so as not to take focus off the core product and it’s led to a bunch of important tools we now use on a daily basis.

We’ll be talking more about Barista in the future, but wanted to show off our new toy.


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