Our Culture: For Wonks, By Wonks

February 14, 2013

Recently our culture was described as “for coders – by coders”.

I’ve never thought of it like that before, but it is spot on.  Makes sense too, considering my “corporate up bringing”.

Work hard, reward employees and have fun

My first “real job” happened when I was promoted to Junior Programmer at National Research Corporation in Lincoln, NE. They had the typical company calendar at NRC that was printed and distributed every month.  But the most iportant task I remember being on the calendar was which department was responsible to go on the beer run for Beer:30 on Fridays.

At the time, this was a 15 year old company with 100+ associates yet they had never missed a Beer:30 in the history of the company.

I accredit much of my thought on how a business should be ran (flat structure, no HR department, reward new ideas and hard work) to National Research Corporation and Mike Hays.

Open door and camaraderie

My second job was when I couldn’t take the commute to Lincoln any more and found another market research company in Omaha, Customer Service Profiles.  When I started, of the 20 employees, the only other guy was the co-owner and salesman, Sandy Friedman.  Because of this, Sandy and I bonded and I really appreciated the approachability of a company owner.  CSP was very good at putting on company events, whether that was a picnic outside, potlucks, etc. it helped bring the employees together.


Then I went into consulting – staff augmentation actually.  Staff aug can be pleasant or horrible or somewhere in between.  You can be set up at a folding table with rough edges to rest your for arms on while you sit on a metal folding chair and work on archaic technology.  Luckily, I was placed at IntegriGuard for 3 years and they treated me like an employee.  I even received “employee of the month” while I was there.  Working with the folks at IntegriGuard, made me understand the difference between being treated like a vendor and working together as a partner.

Presentation, polish and good coffee

Lastly, before starting Volano, I had a quick stint at MSI.  MSI made me understand the importance of polish.  At MSI, people dressed nice.  It was a sales-driven organization.  It had good coffee always available.  They knew the importance of presentation.

With each of these companies, there were also things I learned not to do, but I’ll save those for another post.

That’s how the Volano culture came to be – at least a large part of how.  

Our culture

We work hard and we very much like to have our fun.  There’s no HR department at Volano.  We play darts and drink on Friday afternoons.  We play our jukebox.  We reward people for thinking of better ways of doing things.  We eat lunch, go to movies and go to the bar together.  Our clients are our partners – that’s not just something we say.  We work to the best of our ability for each and every client-partner we have.  We can effectively communicate with the client and present ourselves in a professional manner from the C-level executives to the entry level staff.

That is Volano.