The Importance of a Creative Business Culture
Creative business culture is to a small company as character is to an individual.
In the high-tech world you can tell a lot about a company by their culture. Companies whose culture encourages their employees to channel their creativity often develop products that are innovative and groundbreaking.
Just think of Apple, Google, Saleforce, Amazon, Adobe and Tesla. Some have very driven cultures and some are more laid back, but all of them have distinct and unique personalities.
Why Does a Company’s Culture Matter?
I’ve been through the evolution of application software and the highs (and lows) of the dot-com era. In every company I’ve worked for, the culture ultimately played a key role in its success or downfall.
In my experience, the most successful firms are the ones that focus on the area that they know well and then hire people who believe passionately in the company’s mission.
I’ve always worked for companies based in the U.S., mainly ones in Boston, a hotbed of early-stage companies.
So when I signed on with a company overlooking the Irish Sea in Portstewart, Northern Ireland, it was a first for me.
Zymplify impressed me with what they had accomplished in less than three years, with a very small team and a limited amount of capital.
In this case, ‘small’ meant just five people and ‘limited’ meant less than $500,000 in outside capital.
What I saw was a founder, Michael Carlin, who had a vision of building a company in one of the most unlikely locations, one not known for technology companies.
He knew that the skill sets of graduates of local universities had talent equal to those coming out schools in Dublin, London, New York or Silicon Valley.
I saw that he had created a culture of ingenuity, freedom to create and, above all, excitement. After being involved for a few months, it is now clear to me that there is every reason to believe that Zymplify will be a great success.
It has only reinforced what I believe about high-tech startups – that what a small group of committed people can achieve is amazing. That’s what I believe has defined Zymplify from the outset.
The Influence of Location on Creative Business Culture
How is location a factor in determining company culture?
Location, including history, traditions and even geography, can be key in forming the identity of a company. Understand Northern Ireland and it’s easier to understand how Zymplify has gotten to where it is today.
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are two separate countries with a common heritage and a complex history.
The Republic of Ireland has 4 million people, while the country of Northern Ireland has 1.2 million. Ireland’s currency is the Euro, NI’s the UK pound. The north measures distance in miles, while the south use kilometers.
For thirty years, Northern Ireland was best known in the rest of the world for the conflict called ‘the Troubles,’ which finally came to an end in 1997 with the signing of a peace treaty.
Since then the Northern Ireland economy has grown rapidly. Its capital Belfast is now becoming a trendy destination and the home of the megahit TV series Game of Thrones.
The people I’ve encountered are smart, funny, pragmatic, and creative. They have been through a lot over the past fifty years and it has made them stronger.
The climate is constantly changing, but always with the hint of rain in the air.
Even though it was certainly not the image I had of an ideal area to build a high-tech company, after spending some time there I began to understand why this quaint area on the Irish Sea has its own version of culture that will most definitely lead to Zymplify’s success.
So I took off my U.S-centric blinders and bought into the company’s vision.
Building a Creative Business Culture at Zymplify
With the backing of Invest Northern Ireland, a government agency dedicated to bringing jobs to Northern Ireland, along with some angel investors, Zymplify has launched its next phase of growth.
We are adding staff at a rapid pace, outgrowing our office space and landing new customers at dizzying speed.
I’ve seen this picture before a few times in the past. It has a great plot, excellent acting and is fun to watch.
Best of all, I have a ringside seat and I’m looking forward to the ride.
Written by Steve Lesser, Vice-President of Zymplify
Steve began a career in sales after he realised that a medical degree required passing chemistry.
He resides in the former British colony of Boston, MA and speaks with a normal accent.
When visiting Northern Ireland, he has been known to partake in that Irish game known as golf. He currently holds the record for lost golf balls at Royal Portrush.