Last week, I hopped on a flight departing from Oakland International Airport. Twelve hours later, I was lounging poolside at Mas Salagros, an eco-resort just 40-minutes outside of Barcelona. productboard’s team retreat had officially begun!

Did I mention that this was my first day at productboard? Not a bad way to kick things off.

I asked our CEO, Hubert Palan, why we host an international retreat each year. He explained that it’s so we can:

  1. Celebrate what we’ve achieved together as a company.
  2. Rally the team around productboard’s mission, vision, and values.
  3. Give team members from our Prague and San Francisco offices the opportunity to connect face-to-face and contribute to productboard’s company culture, together.
  4. Drink sangria and watch the sunset… on a boat.

Celebrating milestones: productboard turns 5!

This year’s retreat corresponded with a major milestone — productboard’s 5th birthday! With the team all together in one place, I got to chat with my new coworkers in a fun setting and learn about everything productboard accomplished over the last five years.

To very, very quickly summarize…

Back in 2011, Hubert was struck by inspiration on a plane ride from Prague to NYC. He quickly jotted down his idea and took a selfie to accompany it (he does this with all his ideas — entrepreneurs, am I right?).

His idea was simple: I believe there is a better way of building great products and companies. The seed for productboard was planted, and Hubert set out to work.

In 2013, Hubert put out feelers for developers that could help bring his idea to life. Daniel Hejl saw Hubert’s social media posts, reached out via LinkedIn, and came on board as co-founder and CTO. In 2016, productboard made its public debut at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco with 100 paying customers. Within the next two years (and a lot of work in-between), productboard grew to over 1,000 customers!

Fast forward to today at 5 years old and productboard has grown to over 80 employees and raised $20 million in funding. Over 1,900 modern, customer-driven companies – like Zendesk, Avast, and Envoy – now use productboard to understand what users need, prioritize what to build next, and rally everyone around their roadmap.

I am blown away by how much everyone has accomplished, but am not at all surprised that such a stellar team pulled this all off. I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring!

Aligning on our mission to help today’s product teams make products that matter

The retreat gave us a chance to come together as a group and discuss why we exist as a company, what our values are, and why these things are important.

I learned that productboard isn’t just a great product, but a company with an inspiring purpose:

We are on a mission to make products that matter, together. Our vision is one of a world full of amazing products that function and delight.

So, what does an amazing product actually look like?

I, personally, am a fangirl of ClassPass, an app that gives you access to an endless variety of fitness classes at participating studios. As someone who gets quickly bored with the same old workout routine, I love how easily ClassPass lets you switch it up and try something new. Just the other day, I attended an Afro-Brazilian dance class that I spontaneously booked through the app, something I never would have thought to try otherwise.

Another great example is something we rely on at productboard, and I know a lot of other companies do too. Of course, I’m talking about Slack, the fastest growing SaaS startup in history. Slack’s team collaboration tool is currently used by over 130,000 organizations worldwide and has actually managed to make communication in the workplace fun. Cue the emojis! 🧐🤪😍🥳😱

Everyone deserves to work on products like ClassPass and Slack: products that people will use, enjoy, and love — products that are truly excellent.

Life is simply too short to work on features that go unused and products that fail.

Helping product teams achieve excellence drives everything we do here at productboard. It informs how we interact with our customers at every touchpoint, determines the features we choose to build next, and shapes how our product and company will evolve into the future.

Because when our customers succeed, we all succeed.

Building productboard’s company culture together

Hubert and all of productboard’s leaders firmly believe that the entire company plays a role in shaping productboard’s culture. This collaborative, inclusive mindset is one of the many reasons why I — and many others — chose to join the company.

This year, we had many candid discussions about how to scale productboard’s culture during this exciting period of hypergrowth.

As we grow, we will continue to bring on talented people who embody our values. At the same time, it is important to stay open-minded about the evolving needs of an expanding team. In a session led by Tereza Macháčková, People Ops Lead at productboard, we took a deep dive into the topic of diversity and why we must codify it into our values as we scale.

I was excited to learn that everyone at productboard believes that diversity — in culture, cognition, skillset, and lifestyle — is an organization’s greatest asset. When people from unique backgrounds come together, they share their experiences and create something greater than the sum of their parts. While productboard has come a long way in building an inclusive workplace, there is always more we can do. That’s why we pledge to hire people from all walks of life and to empower them to do their best work every day.

This month saw the launch of Women At productboard (WAP), a workplace group for women and those who identify as female. We will proactively pioneer more initiatives to ensure that diversity is prioritized now and in the future.

And now for the part about drinking sangria on a boat…

A truly unique first week

I’ve never started a new job in a different country before (something my mother will certainly be bragging to her friends about). When I was still interviewing for my current role, I was so impressed by how smart and kind my future colleagues on the marketing team are. At the retreat, I was happy to learn that smartness and kindness are traits valued and possessed by not only the marketing team but everyone in the company.

While there was a bit more sangria-drinking than your average onboarding process, I received a very comprehensive overview of everything productboard during our all-hands sessions. Over the course of the week, I learned so much about our culture, mission, and long-term vision — and got even more excited to be a part of it.

That’s the magic of having everyone in one place. Cheers (or na zdravít in Czech!) to the start of my productboard journey! 🥂

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productboard is hiring! Want to join a fun and growing team? Check out our careers page to see how you can help create a world full of amazing products!

Dottie Schrock May 30, 2019