Every company claims, “you’ll never work somewhere like here” and, “we have the best company Values.” And I’m sure they are all (mostly) true. But there’s something really special about working at Gainsight – although I may be a little bit biased.
I love talking to people. If you casually Google my name, you’ll find thousands of YouTube interviews and podcasts of me blabbering on.
Some of my favorite conversations are the ones I have with teammates. Much like a conductor driving a train, I have enjoyed welcoming new teammates when they join and thanking them as they leave.
During these conversations, I like to ask the same question, phrased in two different ways:
- New Gainsters: “What’s even better than advertised about Gainsight?”
- Departing Gainsters: “What’s special about this company that we should always hold onto?”
I also like to ask the converse: “How can we improve?”
While the constructive input varies year to year, the positives are almost always the same. I decided to write this post to capture what I’ve heard over the years – from 2013 to 2022, from Series A VC funded to our Vista Partnership, from the San Francisco Bay Area to Hyderabad.
1. Gainsters Love Working In Category Creation and Enabling Careers
Normal and rational people launch companies to build a new product to serve an existing need. Crazy and slightly irresponsible people (like us) decide, “let’s build software for a category that doesn’t even exist.” We didn’t quite realize that when we launched Gainsight in 2013, we not only had to build software, but we had to help create a whole new industry. This resulted in everything from the world’s largest conference on Customer Success, Pulse, with more than 20k attendees, to 3 books on Customer Success which have collectively sold more than 100k copies.
In the early days, category creation often felt like Sisyphus pushing the proverbial rock up the hill. Still, once we got to the top and saw what we had made, it was pretty rewarding.
In the spirit of category creation, one of the impacts that Gainsters value is how our category catalyzed a brand new career – Customer Success – Showing up in roles such as Customer Success Managers, CS Operations Professionals, CS Executives, and Chief Customer Officers.
LinkedIn listed CSM as the 6th most promising job in the world, while Bain recently shared a study showing CSM as one of the most in-demand jobs in tech.Our Gainsters take pride in fostering and championing this new career from our Pulse event connecting CS Professionals to our CSYou program bringing underrepresented groups into tech. Every day, we do this for our clients and community, helping thousands of CS professionals find new roles.
2. Gainsters Are Transparent
We pride ourselves on being transparent with our team and community. Gainsters love this because it helps us collaborate, learn, and grow together. This shows up in many ways, including:
- Our calendars are shared openly within our company by default.
- We feature details from Board Meetings, strategic topics, and other critical areas in our weekly huddles and quarterly All Hands.
- Our “Ask Me Anythings” lead to engaging and candid dialog.
- I send out a weekly email (properly dubbed “Mehtaphysical Musings”) to all teammates about what’s happening in the business, highlights in the week ahead, and what’s going on in my personal life.
- I post to Slack nearly every day about key learnings – including how many steps I took (it’s important to take care of ourselves).
We know we won’t achieve our goals without everyone’s input and involvement.
3. Gainsters Value Flexibility
It may be the cool thing to do now, but we worked remotely WAY before it was cool!
Our early teammates were spread between Hyderabad, India, and St. Louis, Missouri (pro tip: no direct flights between those cities!), which taught us to work without all being in the same room. Some people looked at this as a negative, but we immediately saw the inclusivity and “work-life blend” that came from flexible work. In our early days, we were by no means perfect. We learned about the pitfalls of having meetings where some people are in a conference room and others are dialed in, trying in vain to get their two cents in, and wondering if the laughter in the room was about them.
Obviously, the pandemic forced every company to operate in a distributed model, but we were ahead of the curve. Indeed, we leaned in to make flexible work one of our strengths.
Gainsters value flexibility as much as anything else at Gainsight. We all strive to achieve a “work-life blend” that works for each of us. Nothing makes me happier than to see Gainsters take time for their personal lives, whether that’s school drop-offs, time with aging parents, or breaks with friends. Our “Recharge Days” (an extra company holiday each month) are one of our all-time greatest hits in this regard.
Personally, I like to take a walk during Zoom meetings to keep my step count (and my spirits) high!
4. Gainsters Strive for the Golden Rule
Our company Values are very important to me. I often hear from new and departing teammates, “this is the first company I’ve been at where the Values are actually practiced.” While that makes me sad for other companies, it makes me proud to be a Gainster.
“Treat people the way you want to be treated,” the Golden Rule, and our first Value. A huge part of this is “assuming good intentions.” Every person in our community – teammates, clients, partners, investors – is a human being trying to get through their day. The Golden Rule is one of the easiest principles to say and hardest to practice. But we definitely strive in this area. Indeed, many new Gainsters are always struck by how helpful and supportive their teammates are.
5. Gainsters Want Success for All
In 2013, when we defined our initial three Values, we realized that winning isn’t just about shareholder value (though we LOVE our shareholders!) – it’s about all of our stakeholders winning. This includes our investors, clients, partners, teammates, teammates’ families, and the communities around us.
Gainsters want to see the impact they have on everyone in our ecosystem. And they’re particularly excited for… Customer Success!
6. Gainsters Channel Shoshin
At Gainsight, we commonly hear the question “Why?” “Why do we position our product that way?” “Why did we decide to prioritize that feature?” “Why do you keep suggesting we need another rap video, Nick?”
This is all a result of our Value of Shoshin, the word for “Beginner’s Mind.” Input from our newest Gainsters that have yet to drink from my “Kool-Aid” can be the MOST important. This shows up as our Teammate Success (or Human Resources) team having input on our product and our Product team digging into Finance. Sometimes the best ideas come from people with the least experience in a given space.
7. Gainsters Stay Thirsty
One of our funniest Values is “Stay Thirsty, My Friends.” I can neither confirm nor deny whether a beer commercial inspired this, but I will say that Gainsters are some of the “Most Interesting People in the World.”
Our “thirst,” or ambition, isn’t to prove anything to anyone else. We strive because we want to do great things. Gainsters get excited about that. Indeed, they get fired up!
8. When Gainsters Bring Out Their Joy, It’s Child-like
Child-like Joy is definitely our most famous Value. Since 2013, people have joined and stayed at Gainsight because of our aspiration to “bring the kid in you to work every day.”
Now our most well-known examples of Child-like Joy are the high-profile parody videos that I somehow can’t stop writing. Yes, I have only one skill in life: rewriting good songs to be cheesy tech parodies.
But Child-like Joy means showing up as your most authentic self. Including everything from icebreakers (“What was your childhood dream?”) to talent shows to people featuring their kids and pets in day-to-day meetings. Everyone is at their best when they are able to be their true self. That is our goal.
9. Gainsters Know Diverse and Inclusive Teams Win
Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging has become the norm in many companies. For us at Gainsight, DEI&B is important for two reasons. First, we know that diverse teams bring in ideas from different perspectives. Second, creating an inclusive environment is core to our Mission and Purpose as a company.
Indeed, the mission of DEI&B is never-ending, and we know that we have a long way to go. Gainsters inspire us in their commitment to getting better every day.
10. Gainsters Believe in Human-first
Our company Purpose was created during an amusing journey that involved my mom and P.F. Chang’s restaurant. We know we’re not flying people to Mars like Elon Musk, nor are we curing COVID like Moderna. But know that we affect a large number of human beings around us – from teammates, friends, families, clients, partners, investors, and our communities. So we wrap up our entire reason for existence into this statement:
“To be living proof that you can win in business while being human first.”
We can do it. We can win and still remember everyone around us is a human being. And other companies will do it too. It’s not Mars or vaccines, but it’s a start.
Gainsight isn’t for everyone. But for the right people, it’s a pretty special place. I may be the most biased person in saying that – but I also know from thousands of conversations that it is true.