**This blog post about Lob’s company culture was pieced together over the past 5 years.
Losing Track of Time
It has been 5 years since Harry and I left Seattle to start Lob. I wanted to share a bit about what drives me each day and some of my proudest moments as a CEO and founder. Over the years when people ask me about Lob, I’ve tried to describe Lob’s culture and people to my friends and family; however, I’ve struggled to find the right words that adequately capture how I feel each day when I’m at work.
When I started Lob with Harry in 2013, nothing we did felt like work. We enjoyed what we did so much that we couldn’t stop programming. The best way to understand that is by comparing it to that feeling when you are reading a really good book and can’t put it down. I vividly remember the days in our Sunnyvale apartment where we would sit side-by-side on our dining table turned shared desk, blasting music (I was the DJ so it was probably Top 40 Hits), laughing uncontrollably (might have been the day where I deleted our entire database accidently) and coding until 4am. We loved what we did so much that we would lose track of time. Between building the early version of Lob, Harry and I would play tennis, go to the pool, cook and play NBA Jam on N64. Lob was our life and we brought in all our favorite activities and incorporated them into our work culture. It felt like we were on top of the world.
Somehow we scaled that feeling. When we hired Dan and moved to San Francisco, our intertwined culture grew and incorporated aspects of our new employees lives. We turned our dining room into our office (again) and the 3 of us lived and worked together. While we worked, Dan would occasionally make a soup that would take the entire day and we made it a habit to cook dinner together each night. Everyday at 1pm we would go play basketball at the nearby courts. We lived each day how we always dreamed. Hanging out with friends and working on a company together. Even though this was our work, we were building Lob like a family. The fact that we worked together and lived together and still wanted to hang out with each other on the weekends was what made it special.
Moving to an actual office
When we moved to our first office in 2014, our tradition of building Lob like a family and incorporating everyone’s quirks and passions into the company continued. We made our office feel very much like a home. When you walked in we had a living room, fit with a couch and a mounted TV. Many of us would walk around the office without shoes (Ami and I still lose our shoes in the office). Our kitchen wasn’t just stocked with snacks but it was stocked like our fridge at home. It really felt like a 2nd home for everyone. We would work and watch TV shows together. Some of us even slept at the office (hi Shrav!).
Running to work
In late 2014, I began finding myself running to work. Even with the short 10 minute walk that I had to commute, I began finding myself walking pretty fast (borderline jogging). It wasn’t that I was just excited to see what would happen that day but I was excited each morning to see the people I worked with.
Many people when they get home, tell their significant others, family, friends about how their day was. In the those days I found the opposite to also be true for our early employees – everyone was equally excited each day to come into work and tell everyone what had happened outside of work. We all cared about each other and wanted to win together. Many people forget that half the fun of a startup is the journey – and we wanted to ride this roller coaster together. We wanted to win together.
For the longest time, the daily roller coaster of emotions were part of the excitement of coming in. I never knew what would happen and the thrill of the unknown was exhilarating. I’d come in each day looking forward to opportunity/challenge that I would conquer with the team.
Lob has grown quite a bit but the core of our culture hasn’t changed. Ami still loses her shoes, Dan still makes soup for everyone, and Harry is still Harry; and now our culture has grown and has incorporated a bunch of new people and new quirks. You can find Victoria bringing her newborn Olive into the office, Alam skateboarding down the hall, Larry putting Halloween candy into the gym bags of all those who go to Barry’s Bootcamp, and Raph playing the bass guitar.
Lob is still very much a place where everyone can be their authentic selves.
On that note…gotta run to work!