Here at Peaksware, we've been growing quite a bit in the last few months. We're up to 35 employees now, and as the CEO, my job has increasingly been about building the company, rather than just overseeing the products. Turns out, this is a lot harder than building the next cool feature or widget for you. It's a great challenge for any company to balance growth, revenue and profit while keeping personal development, career growth, product strategy and the 8000 other organizational challenges all sorted out along the way. To help guide us, the management team recently went through a two day seminar on team building and leadership. It was 10 years overdue.
One of our deliverables after this meeting was the development of a company “playbook”. I've been working on this for a year, but realized there was a key element that was glaringly missing: our core values. Frankly, I was remiss to realize that it had escaped me. Perhaps I took it in stride or felt it was just obvious that our values were things like honesty and integrity- important values that often go without saying. However, we needed to express what truly represents our core values so that every team member in the company lives and breathes these governing principles, every day. With the help of a fantastic facilitator that guided us through the process, I want to share with you our 6 key values:
- PASSION for what we do, BALANCE in how we do it.
- Seek the BEST. Be the BEST!
- Customer driven.
- Think SMART, move FAST.
- Change. Evolve. Adapt.
- Trusted. Accountable.
These are critical to how we operate, work together and develop products, and everything we do will be guided by these values. Perhaps most importantly, these values are represented in every new person we hire. To show you, I have asked a few of our most recent new employees to introduce themselves, so you can get an idea of what we're all about from the inside out, rather than me just spouting about how great I think we are. I think you'll enjoy hearing from the people that work so hard to bring you such amazing software. Without further adieu, I’d like to introduce our newest employees, and share their perspectives on working for TrainingPeaks.
Corey Steimel, Quality Assurance Tester. It was during my training for Redman, a full Iron distance triathlon, that I had my first exposure to TrainingPeaks. My coach was using TrainingPeaks to prescribe workouts for me as well as analyze my Garmin GPS and heart rate data. At the time, I was working in support for a mapping and graphing software company, so I was fascinated by TrainingPeaks’ ability to map, graph, and analyze my sports performance data. As a long-time endurance athlete, I immediately recognized the value that TrainingPeaks brought to my training.
A month ago I became a member of the Quality Assurance team at TrainingPeaks and have loved every minute of it. I get to work with a highly skilled and motivated team of developers and testers, who are all passionate about sports performance. It is amazing to be a part of an organization that is deeply committed to developing the most sophisticated and advanced sports training tools. The entire focus at TrainingPeaks is on the athlete’s training and performance, which is why the role of Quality Assurance is so vital. It’s my team’s responsibility to thoroughly test every feature of our products prior to release, to ensure that we deliver a top-of-the-line experience and toolset for our athletes.
The environment here at TrainingPeaks is incredible. There’s always a buzz in the air about the latest advancements in training and sports science, and curiosity as to how we can incorporate these advancements into our products. I also love how many opportunities there are to train. Everyone heads out for a ride or run during lunch, and often times I can use my afternoon training as an opportunity to test out the latest feature the we are preparing for release!
Michelle Mjoen, Office Administrator. I’m a cyclist and a runner. I currently compete in road cycling on the local amateur level and am in my fourth season of racing (my second season with McDonald Audi/Primal Women’s Racing Team). After competing at the NCAA Division III level for distance running in college, I now trail run for fun.
The main reason I wanted to work at TrainingPeaks was to be among people who understood my lifestyle and my training goals. I think most people are able to grasp the concept of riding a bike, but not everyone understands what it means to train. I also have an educational background in exercise physiology so I had been looking for the opportunity to work for a fitness-based company. I’d seen TrainingPeaks out at the races and on the road sponsoring teams and events, and I have a huge amount of respect for companies who support the racing scene!
I think what makes TP special as a workplace its dedication to work/life balance. We’re all training for something, and we need that time to go and train. Here, it’s expected that you will probably leave at some point in the day to complete your training goals, and we’re empowered to do that. When everyone is back in the office, we work even harder. This makes for a positive and fun environment which is radiated from the top, down!
As admin, I’m one of the “behind the scenes” people. I make sure that our snacks and drinks are stocked, our workspaces are clean, the loose ends tied up. Believe it or not, the first task actually takes quite a bit of my time - with an office full of athletes and the amount of calories they consume, it’s a tough job keeping the cupboards stocked! In short, I do my best to keep the TP employees happy, so that they can continue to produce and develop an exceptional product.
Dan Blankenship, Mobile Products Project Manager. I joined TrainingPeaks in February to help deliver and enhance our smartphone and tablet apps. Before that, I was an engineer who developed and supported IBM printing systems. I was happy to join TrainingPeaks because I was looking for new technologies and especially products that I could use and relate to. TrainingPeaks was an obvious choice as I had already been using it for a couple of years, and I had seen its results.
I originally viewed myself not so much as an athlete as I did an addict for backcountry adventure. Running became my most frequent fitness activity, probably due to its pure elemental simplicity. At first, roads were my primary venue because that’s what was outside my front door. However, I finally tried trails, and became a trail running convert after pacing a friend at the Leadville Trail 100. I saw displays of determination, focus and grit that pushed my hot button. And so I signed up for my first ultramarathon the next spring, joining Cindy Stonesmith’s “UltraRunner Training” to avoid making rookie mistakes. That’s how I began using TrainingPeaks.
TrainingPeaks’ tools are an essential part of Cindy’s coaching and her clients’ successes. I’ve been impressed at how those tools in the hands of a capable coach can quantify and demystify the art of training success. But working at TrainingPeaks means more than delivering cool products and services. It means hanging out with people who walk the talk, who push the edge of their own limits, and who are driven to deliver the same results to our clients. It matters to us because it matters to our customers.
Gloria Liu, Marketing Coordinator. Prior to landing at TrainingPeaks six months ago, I was working at an investment bank/financial advisory firm. Going from a pretty traditional, suit-and-slacks professional services organization with over 1000 employees to a 30-person tech company with dogs running around the office and athletes walking around in jeans and t-shirts was a big, but welcome, change.
It’s hard to pick just one thing that’s cool about working here. I love the flexible schedule and the ability to leave in the middle of the day to go for a run, or check out a little early to hit the trails before dark. At TrainingPeaks, my life doesn’t have to go “on hold” between weekends.
It’s a great feeling to be part of a group that’s excited about what we’re making and working together towards a common goal, giving 100% when we’re here. I’m always amazed at how quickly this small but hardworking group cranks out new features, new initiatives, new partnerships- and the amount of passion with which they do it. Says my colleague, “there’s zero fat in this company,” and that’s a great way to describe it. It’s lean and efficient - just like an athlete.
As Marketing Coordinator, I manage our blog, PR, and social media efforts. I love using social media to get to know our customers. People share their training and racing accomplishments with TrainingPeaks and even ask for encouragement when they’re feeling unmotivated. Sometimes they give us constructive criticism, which we always listen to and which drives our development goals. We hear all kinds of success stories, from people who used TrainingPeaks to run their first half marathon, to seasoned athletes completing double Ironmans. On a regular basis our customers inspire us, humble us, and remind us of why we go to work every day.
Whitney Fisher, Developer. The job I had before working at Peaksware couldn’t have been more different. For seven years, I worked for a defense contractor as a software engineer writing applications for major Department of Defense programs. There was a lot of bureaucracy and red tape, and as a result, development was slow and creative development was limited.
I’ve worked at Peaksware for about six months now, and it’s changed my life. I know that might sound a little dramatic, but it’s true. At Peaksware, it’s a requirement to bring creativity to the table, to speak my mind, and to be innovative whenever I can. Everyone’s idea is heard and considered and I believe that’s one of the reasons our products are so great.
I started using TrainingPeaks in the spring of 2011, when I decided I wanted to improve upon my 2010 triathlon season, my first year in the sport. My boyfriend, a cyclist, introduced me to TrainingPeaks; I signed up and dialed in a training plan. I was committed, and quickly realized that with TrainingPeaks, it was easier, not more complicated, to balance my endurance goals with my work and personal life. Not only did I meet my goal of improving on my previous year’s results, but I also completed my first Half-Ironman. You might say the endurance sports bug has sunk its teeth into me. I now use TrainingPeaks to beat previous times, get stronger, and increase the distances on future goals.
I couldn’t be happier working on a product that I use and believe in. I’m proud to say I love coming to work every day. I get to share ideas with like-minded people — people striving to live a healthy lifestyle, all while creating a software product that helps others do the same. Working at Peaksware also keeps me accountable. There have been days when, for whatever reason, I’ve considered skipping a workout. But my colleagues are always there to entice me into going on a ride or run with them at lunch. I’m always glad when I do, and after the ride, I just have to smile as I upload my workout data into the product we all work on with pride.
Adam Haid, Senior Developer. Before being hired by Peaksware I worked at Level 3 Communications designing software for the broadcast services division.
For the last three years I've been a TrainingPeaks user. Cycling is a huge part of my life and my favorite thing to do besides playing with my two little boys. I race mountain bikes for the Trek Bicycle Store Team and train consistently on both road and dirt. One of my lunchtime riding partners introduced me to TrainingPeaks when I started asking about his cycling training and how he coordinated it. My fitness grew steadily as I started using it and I quickly signed up with a coach to begin customizing my workouts. Then a Facebook friend told me about the job opportunity at Peaksware, and I was all over it. I submitted a resume and crossed my fingers.
Since being hired by Peaksware work just isn't work anymore, it's fun! I develop software used by top athletes and professional cyclists on daily basis. The calculations I write and the features I enable help people just like me get as much out of their training as possible. Peaksware encourages a healthy lifestyle and work/life balance. My coworkers are enthusiastic about their job and are all highly qualified. It's refreshing and motivating to be in such a great environment where everyone loves what they're doing for work, but is very focused on their athletic pursuits too.
Gear’s Closing Thoughts
As a software company, our most important asset is our people. I am humbled and honored to be joined by such a talented crew who is so passionate about building the world’s best training software for endurance athletes and coaches. I hope you enjoyed this small glimpse behind the scenes, and that it gives you a little better understanding of who we are, and what we value.
For more entries on Gear's Thoughts, visit here.