The #CultureFirst series is a chance to showcase the team here at Culture Amp. We asked everyone a few questions which will give you an opportunity to get to know each of us a bit better.
Rod Hamilton - Co-founder and VP of Product
Rod brings a background in management and technical delivery, but it's the people side that makes him tick. Rod helps our customers get the most from our platform, develops our roadmap and tells penguin jokes. Don't call him normcore, he listens to metal.
Culture Amp: What can you do as a CAmper (Culture Amp team member) that you haven’t been able to do elsewhere?
Rod Hamilton: Work with some of the smartest and most talented people I've ever worked with on something that I'm truly passionate about. It's also a genuinely rewarding experience to work with our customer #peoplegeeks from some of the world's most innovative companies and see that what we're doing is having a positive impact on their culture.
CA: What were you doing before Culture Amp?
RH: I was working in the Enterprise Tech space in architecture and delivery management roles. The projects I worked on would often run for several years with hundreds of employees across several companies. It was an interesting space to work and I learned a lot. The thing that stood out more than anything was that the success of these projects rarely came down to the technical solution. We could always innovate and bash through any technical obstacles but it was the people side of things that determined success or failure. This was a big motivator behind starting Culture Amp with Doug, Jon, and Didier - I could see how Culture Amp could have helped me in these roles.
CA: Best day you’ve ever had at work?
RH: Hard question. Two days come to mind.
The first was from earlier in my career when I was in a pre-sales role getting ready to do our final pitch to a room full of executives and high flyers for a big transformation project. Our bid team had worked right through Christmas and New Years to get us to this final hurdle and I was doing a run through of my presentation to our business owners and CEO. I was completely under prepared and could barely string two words together. Afterwards the CEO called me to his office and I was expecting him to say "Sorry mate, it's just too risky for you to present tomorrow" but instead he just said "Relax, you've got all night to prepare and you'll be fine." The pitch went really well the next day and we won the project. The level of trust that the CEO placed in me had a big impact and I learned a lot from that experience.
The other day was actually just yesterday. With Thanksgiving upon us one of the Campers here created an internal slack channel #thankfulforatwork for our team to pause and share thoughts on what they are thankful for at work. Some of the messages from our team really exemplified why we started Culture Amp and I'm extremely proud and thankful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.
CA: What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
RH: It's probably from a book called 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Dr. Viktor Frankl. “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way." This is the essence of Frankl’s message. It may sound a little bit poetic, but I love the accountability that Frankl places on each of us to never be a victim of circumstance.
CA: What are you a geek about outside of work?
RH: Outside my family, it's all about music. I love playing guitar and writing songs.
CA: What’s on your playlist this week?
RH: It's a pretty weird mix this week. Dillinger Escape Plan, Closure in Moscow, Kyuss, Ben Harper, Paul Dempsey and a touch of Dave Brubeck thrown in for good measure.
CA: If you could go anywhere in the world tomorrow - where would you go?
RH: Somewhere on the South Island of New Zealand. I've done some amazing hiking there - the place is magical.
CA: What advice would you give to someone who wants to found a start-up?
RH: Start by finding the right co-founders. I was very fortunate to find Doug, Didier and Jon who are extremely talented in their own right, but very complementary to each other too. Next, taking the risk is not anywhere nearly as scary as what you think it's going to be. If you've got the genuine drive to try it, it's probably riskier not to give it a go.
CA: What does workplace culture mean to you?
RH: To me it's about creating an environment where everyone can bring their "whole self" to work. It starts with the founders and morphs ever so slightly with each individual that joins or leaves, but it's not just about putting everyone together and seeing what happens. You need to be intentional in designing your culture around a shared vision of what you're trying to achieve. If you want it to be great you need to invest time and energy in it. It's really hard work but it's the difference between a place where employees want to be and a place where they don't want to be.
CA: What is your one prediction for the future?
RH: That Mat will make these clunky answers sound really good! :)
Note: Mat did not edit Rod's answers.