How we've spent 10k in 1 day

2017 was the year of birth of FRIDAY. Not only that we signed our very first customer (thank you, Nissan Qashqai driver!) but we also strived for much more. Now that everyone is talking about ‘scalable businesses’ there should be plenty of experience and knowledge how to do that. Easy-peasy! Well… spoiler alert: we did not only spend 10.000 Euro on growth in 2017, but it’s still a relevant figure.

The story of how FRIDAY employees spent 10.000 Euro in less than a day

So apart from doing the actual growth and setting up marketing channels, tracking, digital product and customer service, we knew that this will be a tough nut to crack. Agility and adaption to change is something many teams aim for, but once you are in a high-pace team that has to deal with lots of uncertainty and change, you realise: That’s exhausting! So apart from solving the mystery of how to start car insurance and half a year later be ready for 15.000 customers, we also needed to focus on the happiness of our team. Free pizza and free drinks for extra-hours are something that is almost a stereotype for start-ups. We do it, we enjoy it, but we know it will never make up for something.

Individual bonuses you would think? Nope. We have a policy when it comes to your salary: You should be happy about it. So ask for the salary you want and deserve. We will not artificially induce competition and discrepancy within our team, because everyone is looking at her individual goals and bonus.

Christoph therefore came up with the idea to offer a pot of money to the whole team for reaching a certain goal. Whatever the team wants to do with that money will be done. The more customers we acquire until end of 2017 the bigger the budget to spend. We managed to get 15.000 customers and therefore 10.000 € budget to spend. Now what … ?

You can’t just put 50 people in a room with a bathtub full of euro bills

 Alright, you could, but we are more decent kind of people. So we had a clear goal, didn’t really know how to achieve it but had to handle many (50!) stakeholders. Perfect job for a Product Manager! This is where I came into play. And here is how what we did it: 

  1. Create a Slack Channel so everyone could just pitch her idea what to do with (some of) the money. Here is a list of my favorite ideas from that early phase:
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  2. Have a Refinement Session with the people contributing to make sure all ideas are feasible and viable and had an estimate of costs. 
  3. At one of our offsites we used half an hour where these contributors could pitch their ideas again. Every team member got a voting card to hand to the person with the (in her eyes) best idea. Person with the most voting cards (by relative majority) won and the estimated amount was subtracted from the 10k budget.
  4. Still money in the pot? Do another round of voting until the pot is empty. 

So  here is what we finally came up with:

  1. A proper portafilter espresso machine and coffee grinder (Bezzera BZ16 DE and Quamar M80E from our friends at espressonisten.de)
  2. Plants for the office
  3. A PS4 and some games for the big tv screen in our kitchen
  4. Donate 2500€ to a children's hospice kinderhospiz-regenbogenland.de
  5. Save some money for our next summer event

 I want to use that opportunity to thank everyone in the team: You could have just ‘wasted’ the money on more funny gadgets but instead gave a quarter of the budget to a charity without a doubt. No one made a fuss about it, because it goes without saying. Thank you!

What else are our take-aways from the whole endeavor?

 Bonuses are more fun and can help build a team, if they are not on an individual basis, but cater to the whole team. Still today we have our contributors feeling responsible for their ideas (e.g. cleaning the coffee machine, reminding people to water the plants etc.). It’s not the espresso machine of my employer it’s our machine.

 If you have the urge to take over a topic that is left hanging in the air, just do it. You will be happier after for doing something you really wanted to do. For me that what was one of the key moments to find “FRIDAY is a place to stay”.

 50 people can have a throughput of 1000 liters of water on an espresso machine.

 Plants fade away quite quickly.

Bei FRIDAY arbeiten Entwickler, Coder, UX-Designer und Scrum Master zusammen mit Aktuaren und Schadensexperten. Wir investieren Zeit und Energie, um FRIDAY gemeinsam nach vorn zu bringen. Dabei lassen wir uns aber nie die Chance entgehen, unsere Erfolge laut zu feiern.

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FRIDAY ist Teil der Schweizer Baloise Group.

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