Names like Craigslist and Ebay are commonly known as the big dogs of the classified ads world. But there is another system you should know about. AdFreeq is a new way of approaching the buyers and sellers connundrum, as well as consideration for publisher sites (TV/radio, newspaper, media portal, blog, and so on). Easily connecting people to the ads they are interested in real time, while integrating a simple widget onto a publishers site that looks and feels like the site. It eliminates the need to visit a dedicated site, so buyers find what they want, sellers sell their stuff, and publishers earn extra revenue.
AdFreeq is a small team in Columbia, MO, headed by the founder and CEO Peter Meng. He has over 26 years of internet and technology experience, including 7 years in education sales and marketing at Apple. He is an experienced entrepreneur and an expert at online marketing and internet services. Peter discusses the culture at the adFreeq offices, and how culture is important to the small Silicon Prairie company.
What is company culture? How would you define it?
Company culture is the shared values of the people who work for a company. It’s not about the type of chairs you have, or the games you play during break, or whether you have free meals. It’s about how you value your customers and your people and how you work to support that value. Company almost company culture comes primarily from the shared values of the founders/leadership.
How would you describe your company’s culture? What rituals or types of activities does your team/company partake in to build community and culture?
We’re a hyper-distributed company with everyone working independently here in the US and in China. So our values have been formed around the limitations and opportunities that presents. We don’t have rituals per se except our Holiday JibJab card. We do meet on an as needed basis via screen-sharing/video conference. When we’re together we like to have meal together so everyone can get to know each other as humans. But our biggest culture builder is the way we communicate with each other. We do regular updates that are presentations with narration and are digitized so everyone can listen to them at a time convenient for them. These always end with a charge to Keep Going! And a request for honest feedback. Our greatest cultural attribute that everyone seems to share is continuing to persist no matter how difficult things get. We will always keep going. We also are committed to honest and timely communication. And we like to have fun and keep our work in perspective to the bigger picture of family and community.
Can you create company culture? Why/why not?
Absolutely. The leadership simply creates the understanding of what their core values are and that they won’t be compromised. Team members that don’t except them will eventually leave or be left. Team members that accept and support those values will thrive and will coincidentally create the activities and traditions that not only support those values but enhance them.
If you could change one thing about your culture, what would it be?
A stronger commitment to creativity. To disrupt the industry we’re in takes solutions no one has seen before, and to do that we need to up our creative commitment exponentially.
Can your culture ever steer you wrong or harm the business? If so, how?
Yes. If you’re values do not match the needs of your employees or customers they will destroy your business. The company that says they offer world class customer support, but leadership makes all their short term decisions based on their financial return or profit – minimizing their commitment to support – will soon find they have a team that doesn't know which way to go and will do nothing. Customers will leave en masse and cash flow will disappear.
How do you create and maintain a strong company culture where you work?