Why the company culture matters in Silicon Valley? Reflection on the Top 500 Innovators’ visit at GoDaddy.
By Ela Kozera
Last week, together with Poland’s Top 500 Innovators, I had the benefit of visiting the new Sunnyvale offices of GoDaddy. GoDaddy is a high technology company that has created a unique, colorful, vibrant, and free-flowing workspace connected by circulating push pedal go-karts along many lively race-track-themed hallways and spaces such as cafes, lounges, game zones and huddle rooms.
Silicon Valley is well known as a mecca of leading high tech innovation and development companies that constantly allure a pool of skilled, talented, hard-working and passionate people from around the world. Silicon Valley’s most important and valuable asset is human capital that is well educated with 47% holding a bachelor’s or higher degree, compared only with 29% in the U.S. at large. People here not only drive the economy but also shape the culture and lifestyle of this extraordinary region. To attract the best talent, the Silicon Valley companies, among many other things, invest into state-of-the-art workplaces that inspire collaborative teamwork experience and enhance self-development.
GoDaddy follows that flock… As a world leader in domain registration (with 60 million of registered domains), the company has a market share in 37 countries, conducts its business in 17 languages with 30 million customers. GoDaddy’s mission is to serve small and medium size companies around the world by bringing high tech products and great customer care. 3,000 of GoDaddy’s staff members communicate with its customers 24/7 because the company strongly believes that only by listening to customers and knowing their needs one can serve them well. Hence, the well-being of customers defines the company’s strategy.
According to GoDaddy’s Scott Wagner, COO/CFO, and Steven Aldrich, its Senior Vice President, the relaxing and cool office space is not the prerequisite to GoDaddy’s culture. It’s more a result of this mega-competitive Silicon Valley labor market in attracting crème-a la crème. Most of all, the company fosters an environment where people are allowed not only to experiment and explore, but also to act openly and collaboratively in order to sustain a high level of creative and productive energy. Quoting Scott Wagner, GoDaddy’s culture encourages the following key attributes in a person: “be able, capable, take the risk, fail to be successful, focus on customers, care about employees, fail but not repeat the same mistake over and over again.”
By visiting GoDaddy, I realized that the company took a step forward by embracing a culture in which relaxing the rules is not about allowing employees to act silly and eccentric but allowing them to act as “whole people” – happy and motivated to be part of the GoDaddy’s team.