2020 — what a year it’s been! Like much of corporate America, most of Outrider’s employees have been self-isolating away from the office for the past seven months. It’s been a while since we checked in with everyone in-person, so we took the opportunity to see firsthand how people were doing in quarantine…and shake things up a bit as well. So, we’d like to share some of the fun with you.
Let me set the scene. Imagine it’s a typical morning working from home: you’re relishing each sip of coffee, sorting through emails, and hanging out in your bathrobe. You don’t have to put in your contacts or fix your bedhead for that video conference (you can just turn off the camera!). It may as well be the weekend — if not for those back-to-back meetings, of course. These are the perks of working from home.
While you’re waiting for people to join a Zoom call, the doorbell rings. Is it your Amazon order? A grocery delivery? Flowers? Whatever. You go to answer it because, well, who cares if you show up at the door in your just-rolled-out-of-bed look. But wait! It’s not a delivery person at all. It’s a mariachi band, donning sombreros and dressed in the traditional ‘charro’ attire, ready to serenade you. Your COO — iPhone in hand — is standing by, recording the whole affair. This stuff only happens in TV commercials or America’s Funniest Home Videos, right? No, it happens at Outrider, too.
We visited five employees at their homes. Everyone was decent (if not exactly dressed for success) and ready for work. They were great sports about our surprise visits — all of which were accompanied by a decoy video conference invitation to make sure they’d be at home and available. Everyone’s fun, roll-with-it attitude toward events like this is one reason I love my job so much.
Company culture is hard to capture in words – and this short video hardly does it justice. Culture is what our employees prioritize, how we treat each other, and what we celebrate. It’s the accumulated feeling about how we act and react, and how we support one another professionally and personally. I could use a bunch of cliches to describe it, but I’ll share some more stories instead. Our culture is:
- Dan Ambrosio, Senior Software Engineer and Head of Software Integration, stealing employees’ bikes over the weekend to clean and fix them
- PlayStation car racing with Vehicle Technicians Gary McKinney and Joe Perdue after work in the warehouse
- Critt Coburn, Vehicle Technician, helping new hires move furniture into their new homes
- Gary Seminara, Director of System Integration, offering new hires extended stays on his couch as they search for their own places
- Too many Slack channels with endless jokes
- Dressing up on Halloween and having lavish fashion shows
- Racing to the breakfast burrito truck every morning at 8:30 am
- Taking midday breaks to ride mountain bikes up nearby North Table Mountain
- And, Andrew Smith, Founder and CEO, leaving a meeting early to join that ride
These stories only scratch the surface of a company of tight-knit teams that work hard, share ideas, design robots, write code, test and fix bugs, and build autonomous trucks. This fantastic team is forging a path into new territory, solving problems that have never been solved before.
One of my favorite moments of the mariachi check-in was our second stop of the morning. Our employee opened the door to the smiling musical trio and said, “I have a meeting,” rather than, “Woah! A mariachi band is here?!” He’s still new. We’ll work on him.
Autumn McLain is the Office Manager at Outrider. She's the first person to greet candidates and help new hires get settled into their roles. Previously, Autumn worked for Alfred University, her alma mater, as the Assistant Director of Residence Life. She also coached men's and women's varsity tennis and basketball, taught leadership courses, and served as the Sustainability Coordinator for the campus. Autumn loves adventures, games and sports of all kinds, and spending time with her family, friends, and co-workers.