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“Do you know how much our company is spending on free sodas and snacks?” And to answer her own question she presented the spreadsheet totaling it all up.
There were some experienced VC’s in the room and I was waiting for them to “educate” her about startup culture. But my jaw dropped when the board agreed that the “free stuff” had to go.
“We’re too big for that now” was the shared opinion. But we’ll sell them soda “cheap.”
One day the engineering team was clustered in the snack room looking at the soda machine. The sign said, “Soda now 50 cents.”
The uproar began. Engineers started complaining about the price of the soda. Someone noticed that instead of the informal reimbursement system for dinners when they were working late, there was now a formal expense report system. Some had already been irritated when “professional” managers had been hired over their teams with reportedly more stock than the early engineers had. Lots of email was exchanged about “how things were changing for the worse.” A few engineers went to the see the CEO.
The most talented and senior engineers looked up from their desks and noticed the company was no longer the one they loved. It had changed. And not in a way they were happy with.
The best engineers quietly put the word out that they were available, and in less than month the best and the brightest began to drift away.
Sensmoral: Det kostar så lite att hålla sin personal glad.