One of my favorite startup company stories to tell is about the stress reliving and smile inducing family of websites created, maintained and made successful by Cheezburger Networks. ­­­

The home of ICanHasCheezburger, Failblog and many more sites stares right at the infamous Seattle Space Needle. Seattle is full of exciting startup companies, yet what runs this successful empire of smiles and brings in around 12 million hits to their websites each day isn’t magic – It is their leadership and staff.

Too often big box companies produce siloed cultures. Customer services sits here, sales sits here, and so on. Then layers are added to the equation, sales managers talk to customer service managers, and mangers talk to directors and directors talk to executives.

I can has Cheezburger Happy catThe reason I love to tell their story is that they seem to crush any of the corporate rules on how a company should run and what it must do to be successful. Instead of cubicles the offices are open; people sit in groups not isolated from one another. There is no seven layer bean dip of management; the CEO Ben Huh sits among the LOLMart developers, and within two feet of customer service.   During the day the office is surprisingly quiet and everyone is focused.

From day one my husband was impressed with how he was empowered, and given tools to be successful.

“At Cheezburger, our new developers write and commit code to our production software on Day One. Yes, you heard that right…we throw a newbie into the fire before they even have time to know what hit them.

I would strongly encourage you to aim for this goal with your new employees on Day One. The result will be happier, more empowered employees with an attitude of ownership and a focus on productivity.” – Cheezburger Network Doesn’t Show Its New Employees the Bathroom Until They’ve Checked In Code by Scott Porad, Cheezburger CTO

Having developers and customer service sit together is empowering. They both hear what is going on with customers, hear what is going on in the development process. Teams spend time producing quality, investing in thier own education and being proud to be apart of the Cheezburger community. It is obvious that the leadership sees teams working together as essential. The leadership removes barriers, empowers employees, sets up mentors and nurtures a culture that is focused on quality and fun; these are the key ingredients to destroying to-do lists and moving a business forward.

If you are in Seattle tonight you should attend:

Cheezburger Networks LOLcat bookThe Launch of the Teh Itteh Bitteh Book of Kittehs

Where: Third Place Books in Ravenna

Burgers and fun from 7-9pm

Come meet the Cheezburger team, get your copy of Kittehs signed, and eat free bacon jam burgers from Skillet of course!!

RSVP on Facebook

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About the author

Lyndi Thompson wrote 114 articles on this blog.

Online startup marketing strategy & solutions. Customer focused, high energy, creative & thankful. I love connecting good people to create great communities. New Mom. Fan of chocolate & the smell of horses.