Why We Bid Farewell to a Part of Our Company Culture
April 15, 2016
Back in the day, Wistia was small. We had one bathroom. We didn’t have a set content schedule, let alone an entire marketing team to tackle the difficult task of feeding an active blog. So, our then content strategist, Alyce, created Non Sequitur Fridays, a weekly content series that had all of Wistia writing. These posts quickly became an important part of our culture, and given our smaller team, they helped us add four pieces of content to our monthly calendar and celebrate the individuals at Wistia.
Fast forward to the fall of last year. We became more focused on the actual customer experience on the blog. Was this content actually useful for folks? Were people arriving at the Wistia blog and wondering, “What do these people do”? After some lengthy discussions, we decided to move our beloved Non Sequitur Fridays series off the Wistia blog and onto its own site, with the goal of sharpening the blog’s focus.
And now, nearly six months after the move, we’re here to change things up again. With a heavy heart, we are letting go of the Non Sequitur Fridays series. But before we do, let’s talk about what went well, what went wrong, and how we plan to move forward in the future.
Are we still having fun?
When I started at Wistia as the social media coordinator six months ago, I also became the “owner” of Non Sequitur Fridays. I quickly recognized what I like to call, the Non Sequitur Paradox (more on that later). I loved these posts! They helped me learn more about my new coworkers, and as the editor, it was an opportunity for me to flex my writing muscles. However, as time went on I couldn’t help but notice an underlying sentiment from people who were next in line to write a post…"I’m screwed."
What was once a flourishing part of our culture at Wistia, was now something everyone regularly dropped the ball on — it became a chore for all parties involved.
When in doubt, take a poll
In all honesty, when we moved the Non Sequitur Fridays posts off the official Wistia blog it was the kiss of death. People were already struggling to find the time to write, and knowing that their post wouldn’t make it to the Major Leagues didn’t help. Nonetheless, these posts were public facing, which meant they still needed editing, formatting, scheduling, etc. From a marketing perspective, I quickly realized that for the amount of work these posts required, they weren’t providing enough payoff.
That being said, I was still really torn. Traffic and shares aside, there was no denying that Non Sequitur Fridays aligned with Wistia’s culture and more importantly, our core values.
The fact is, I was worrying about a problem that wasn’t mine alone to solve… it was all of ours! So, I took to a survey to get some feedback. I wanted to know what people thought. Were they excited to write? Did they even read the blog? Would they be devastated if it went away, or would they be apathetic?
The results were affirming, and also slightly comical.
- 43% of people were overwhelmed when it was their time to write.
- 76% of people said they read the blog… sometimes, or not at all.
- 60% said they would be pretty bummed if it just “went away.”
- 60% said they think we should keep doing Non Sequiturs, but not in this format.
To summarize the data, I present to you the Non Sequitur Paradox:
“People don’t have time to write these posts, but they’d be upset if no one wrote them, even though they weren’t really reading them.”
Plans for the future
When I collected feedback from this survey, I also left an open-response question, where I asked folks what they thought should happen next. The general consensus was that no one really knew. One thing did become clear, however: Non Sequitur Fridays were a great way for people to get to know each other better within Wistia. An internal, company culture experience. We’re still figuring out how to incorporate Non Sequitur-esque information into our daily lives at Wistia, but we’re confident that we’ll land on something great.
When I emailed the team about the survey, I got lots of great feedback from the team, including this heavy quote from our director of engineering, Robby Grossman:
“It’s easy to get caught in the habit of tradition and then find it’s running your show rather than vice versa.” Too true, Robby, too true.