I was wondering about your numbers though, your post says :
> $3,000,000+ yearly revenue run rate (and growing fast)
> Grown the Team to 34 full-time people and hiring
> at least 10 more as soon as possible
 As an example, with a nice (but not lawyer nice) office and a healthcare plan we're paying > $30K per employee annually for just office space and medical benefits.
So that would mean they're still being very economical with per-employee expenses. My guess is that a lot of those employees aren't developers, they're in other roles where the average pay is lower (support, film and video editing, administration, even some sales roles).
Our office costs are generally pretty low, although if you factor in desks, chairs, monitors, laptops, iPads, kitchen stuff, etc... it does add up fast.
I don't support 7 day weeks and 12 hour days, but frankly for politics it works. Why? Because for 95% of campaign employees it's not work quality that matters, it's talking to a ton of other people, repeating simple messages, engaging them and asking them to get involved with the campaign. I am extremely supportive of organizations that support reasonable work hours and not overextending yourself. I would never work 7 days a week again. But just as much as you should not needlessly overwork yourself and your employees, you need to understand (or at least try to understand) what is necessary to hit your goals.
I suspect the average engineer at most startups could use an extra day off. For some founders it may make sense to work long hours because some of that work is touching base with investors, forging connections and doing other things that may not be intellectually draining but just need to get done.
As the original author and many pointed out, working tons of hours doesn't work for knowledge workers. I think what you're pointing out here (and I agree with it) is that political campaigns aren't really knowledge work. It seems like it would be, but it sounds like a lot of the work is quite mindless.
Particularly for statewide and national elections, the last 2-4 weeks before a campaign there is nothing else. No downtime, no family, no hobbies, nothing. Just the candidate, the message, the voters, the outreach. It’s rare in those major elections to get more than 2-3 hours of sleep (or sleep at all) in the last 72 hour push. Again these are elections for POTUS, Senator or Governor in contested states. A state rep race is going to be much more low key but still easily 60-80+ hours for the final month or two.
Things may have lightened up some since I moved to programming, but I doubt it.
In a country like India, where I come from, this is totally understandable...if your candidate wins, you stand to make a lot of (corrupt) money.
For most people who treat it as a career though, it's just a job. Rather than a 40-hour a week office job, they have a job where they work 100 hours a week 5 months out of the year. The vast majority of campaign workers I worked with in my younger days are now working in government (state and federal) so that's definitely one of the best ways to get into that work. To be clear, I'm referring to Administration-type posts, not civil service or public service positions. These are still very political jobs such as spokesperson and generic staffers.
EDIT: And maybe this is my idealism shining through (I'm still a 20-something, after all :)) but a lot of us really believe that Our Side is better than The Alternative, and we're willing to give up time to try to make that a reality. Even though I don't make money from politics anymore, I still donate a decent amount of my spare time every cycle to the candidate(s) I choose to support.
These things have got to be made more common by mass sleep deprivation. Maybe, maybe, the next president will be the one who insists his staffers work a strict 40 hours a week.
And I have a question....
All professors of management and organizations understand that work week should be defined differently for knowledge workers. And that most the important quality of knowledge workers is initiative.
So if you have 80 hours work week and all innovation or initiative is dismissed, that can mean two things:
1) you are not "knowledge worker" but just "coding monkey" (it is "above your pay")
2) the company sucks
Majority of tech companies require 7-day work week and they discourage any initiative.
Does this mean that majority of programers are not actually hired as "knowledge workers" but as "coding monkeys"? Or that majority of tech companies suck?
EDIT: This 7-work week is actually based on calculation: 5 days * 10 hours per day + 5 hours on weekend (just check email) which is 55 hours per week => 7 working days of 8 hours each.
Majority of tech companies require 7-day work week
PS I agree that tech companies (among others) often have a culture of overworking.
This 7-work week is actually based on calculation: 5 days * 10 hours per day + 5 hours on weekends (to check email). All companies I worked required 10 hours per day. 9 to 5 is not looked nice unless you don't login in the evening and "do some emails".
Which tech company has 9 to 5?
I cannot believe you think this is the norm for tech companies.
Plenty do. In fact, outside of the startup world, 9 to 5 is probably much more common in tech than in other industries.
anything over 40hr is overtime and I expect to get paid for it and not to do too much of it anyhow
If you are working your schedule (10 hours a day, what the actual fuck), you are being taken advantage of.
I'm confused at your balking. Perhaps because I work in finance and shit hours are the norm, but 10 hours a day is not ridiculous. I work that almost everyday unless it's a busy week.
- one was in the 40-50 hour week normal expectation, no serious spikes due to the way we worked over a 2 year period.
- one was 40-50 hours per week with regular (every 2-3 month spikes)
- one was completely insane and expected 60+ hour weeks (it was saner pre-"coming out party", but barely). This company had no concept of planning, if things were behind, the solution was more meetings rather than cutting features. Senior management on the team was more apt to either not be around or play ping pong while engineers worked away. Technically, it was the most diverse project I ever worked on, but the most poorly run...that was a reflection on immediate management. Launch was 60+ hour weeks plus I got the fun of doing ops since I knew most of the system.
That third company taught me a lot, probably most directly, the value of work life balance and, especially as a lead, pushing back on poor planning and management. My goal as an engineer has always been to deliver and provide end user delight, but that needs to be balanced with balance for myself.
However, statistically speaking, it's likely not an either/or scenario. I'd be willing to bet that it varies greatly and there is no "majority," additionally what about the companies that suck and only hire monkeys?
However, I'm surprised that you single out a 40-hour work week as though it's something exceptional. Isn't that the standard? I would never consider joining a company that expected me to work weekends. I hope that's not as common as you imply.
The site has given me enough structure to learn the basics while other books and the internet has provided me with more in depth learning.
I wrote Nick at teamtreehouse yesterday and said that I was disappointed with the end of chapter quizzes because they were sometimes difficult to bypass due to confusion over what they were asking.
He responded immediately and said they knew it was an issue and were hiring to fix it very soon. While the round announcement is old, if they are in fact hiring, it is great news for those who use their service.
Other than that one interaction, I don't know the team, but I was impressed.
I can say, I used to work a few blocks from their office in downtown Orlando. Orlando usually sparks memories of Disney, but Disney is actually located in Kissimmee, FL about 45 min from downtown. Downtown Orlando is young, great nightlife, fairly small and EXTREMELY affordable.
Thanks for the customer service yesterday!
[Edited because the round was actually a few years ago]
Surprisingly, I found that my productivity really didn't drop that much. I went into a week with a sense that I only had 4 days to get stuff done, and so often felt much more focused. It's only an extra day, but somehow in my head a 5 day week feels almost endless. The suddenly it's Friday and you wonder what happened...
Whether or not I am productive or not is another story altogether. I feel like I don't accomplish much in 30 hours a week, but I know I was very efficient. With the power of learning interest rate, I slowly accumulated knowledge and skills. I was able to accomplish a few projects worth of note in that time as well. In the end, I fell off the wagon because I couldn't keep up with the painful routine of 30 hours a week hyper efficiency. If I want to make 30 hours work, I have to add mindless routines as well.
> Ford astonished the world in 1914 by offering a $5 per day wage ($120 today), which more than doubled the rate of most of his workers. A Cleveland, Ohio newspaper editorialized that the announcement "shot like a blinding rocket through the dark clouds of the present industrial depression." The move proved extremely profitable; instead of constant turnover of employees, the best mechanics in Detroit flocked to Ford, bringing their human capital and expertise, raising productivity, and lowering training costs. Ford announced his $5-per-day program on January 5, 1914, raising the minimum daily pay from $2.34 to $5 for qualifying workers. It also set a new, reduced workweek, although the details vary in different accounts. Ford and Crowther in 1922 described it as six 8-hour days, giving a 48-hour week, while in 1926 they described it as five 8-hour days, giving a 40-hour week. (Apparently the program started with Saturday being a workday and sometime later it was changed to a day off.)
> Detroit was already a high-wage city, but competitors were forced to raise wages or lose their best workers. Ford's policy proved, however, that paying people more would enable Ford workers to afford the cars they were producing and be good for the economy. Ford explained the policy as profit-sharing rather than wages. It may have been Couzens who convinced Ford to adopt the $5 day.
From his original Shop Class as Soulcraft essay:
"Given their likely acquaintance with such a cognitively rich world of work, it is hardly surprising that when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1913, workers simply walked out. One of Ford’s biographers wrote, “So great was labor’s distaste for the new machine system that toward the close of 1913 every time the company wanted to add 100 men to its factory personnel, it was necessary to hire 963.”
This would seem to be a crucial moment in the history of political economy. Evidently, the new system provoked natural revulsion. Yet, at some point, workers became habituated to it. How did this happen? One might be tempted to inquire in a typological mode: What sort of men were these first, the 100 out of 963 who stuck it out on the new assembly line? Perhaps it was the men who felt less revulsion because they had less pride in their own powers, and were therefore more tractable. Less republican, we might say. But if there was initially such a self-selection process, it quickly gave way to something less deliberate, more systemic.
In a temporary suspension of the Taylorist logic, Ford was forced to double the daily wage of his workers to keep the line staffed. As Braverman writes, this “opened up new possibilities for the intensification of labor within the plants, where workers were now anxious to keep their jobs.” These anxious workers were more productive. Indeed, Ford himself later recognized his wage increase as “one of the finest cost-cutting moves we ever made,” as he was able to double, and then triple, the rate at which cars were assembled by simply speeding up the conveyors. By doing so he destroyed his competitors, and thereby destroyed the possibility of an alternative way of working. (It also removed the wage pressure that comes from the existence of more enjoyable jobs.) At the Columbian World Expo held in Chicago in 1893, no fewer than seven large-scale carriage builders from Cincinnati alone presented their wares. Adopting Ford’s methods, the industry would soon be reduced to the Big Three. So workers eventually became habituated to the abstraction of the assembly line. Evidently, it inspires revulsion only if one is acquainted with more satisfying modes of work."
I think every worker in America should read Crawford's superb book, btw.
At last I got a laugh scanning the post.
I've been thinking a lot about company size lately, and was always impressed that not long before acquisition time Instagram had a team of just six (which quickly expanded to twelve prior to acquisition).
Is such a small team size really only achievable by user generated content companies?
The content team (teachers, video, audio, motion design) is a sizable portion of the company. They focus on writing, producing, and supporting the learning content and video.
The app team (devs + designers) focus on things like the the web app, the learning tools like our code challenges, and quite a bit of other stuff.
We have support team members who are always interacting with and helping our students. Marketing, sales, and operations are doing what you would expect them to.
It's interesting to watch the scaling in person. When I started it was just Nick Pettit and myself as teachers ( and we did our own video/audio work), Ryan the CEO, and we had a contract dev and designer. Now it's ~60, not even sure of the exact number, and everyone keeps really busy.
Source: I'm Nick.
I'm beginning to think the business is marketing, not technology.
Also if you work with external people this will communicate with you every workday. Just ignoring them on a workday is not easy.
But I like the concept... Once profitable :-)
I found their (high, compared to blog posts) pricing to be a positive indicator of quality, and their videos and code seemed to match.
Thanks from those of us who are stuck with Time Warner Cable ;)
What do I do on my Fridays?
If I have errands, they get run. I usually pop-in and off my computer. Sometimes I actually am working, but I'm "playing". I'm a data scientist and I love my job. I love working on my tools and I love trying new methods. So I might be improving my D3.js skills. Or learning Python (like I have been). Or teaching myself new Bayesian analysis, or survival analysis methods. So in once sense I work on Fridays, in the other hand it feels like play. And I'm not obligated, so I can get up whenever.
Also, this isn't every Friday or weekend. Many weekends are just non-tech play, like a trip to Boston.
In general, my stress level is way down. I feel focused and happy to be at work when I'm "there" (I work remotely, another Treehouse core value). I think about Treehouse, much more than 4 8-hour days a week, but it's so much more pleasurable! I'm totally thankful to work for Treehouse.
Has anyone worked in this kind of alternative environment?
For example I'm tired of seeing the Marissas Mayer's of the world praising that they go back to work just two weeks after giving birth. What kind of mother is this?
"here’s what we’ve been fortunate to achieve:"
Even being really good you gotta have some luck too.
Being able to see that I think makes people being not assholes when talking about their achievements.
I'm curious how you guys decided on a 4-day week? Was it a group decision or founder laying down the new way of getting stuff done?
Company folklore has it that Gill, Ryan's wife, basically commented that it seemed like the company was running them rather than them running the company back then, so their solution was to switch to working 4 days per week.
A sibling post to yours says "Treehouse developer here. It's actually four 8s." so that is likely the case.
They are profitable. And have a pretty large team. I think he can brag a little.
May want to make it a 5-day week a little longer...