Since its inception in 2000, Wildbit has fostered a work culture with values that divert from those of a traditional company. It is self-funded, remote-friendly, and intentionally small with a healthy, people-first approach to its products and its team. And while most companies its size has one product, Wildbit has three: Beanstalk, a workflow for version control and deploying code; Postmark, a transactional email delivery service; and Conveyor, a new workflow for developing and shipping web applications.
During the past 17 years, Wildbit has transformed itself from a tiny web design consultancy into a small, but profitable software company with fiercely loyal customers around the world. That Wildbit has managed to grow into a thriving and debt-free business while maintaining a tightly-knit team with little turnover is no accident. Because Wildbit is self-funded, it doesn’t deal with pressure from investors to grow at a pace that could be detrimental to the health of its team and its products. It has only itself to guide it. This independence allows Wildbit to listen to its customers and satisfy their needs first. It also means it can consider the needs of its team and take its time hiring. Without the obligation to hire quickly, Wildbit can be more selective about who it hires and from where.
A little less than half of the team works out of the Wildbit office located in Old City, Philadelphia, while the rest of the team works remotely from locations spanning from Novi Sad, Serbia, to Portland, Oregon. Being able to hire from anywhere means that Wildbit can select from a more diverse pool of applicants than most other companies, without the limitation of time zones or even countries. Although Wildbit has a physical office space, all of its employees have the option to work remotely.
For those who do work in the Philadelphia office, Wildbit offers some non-traditional perks, including chef-prepared team lunches, a playroom for kids, and plenty of casual seating areas for visitors and informal hangouts. One of the most unusual perks is the design of the office itself. While many companies have adopted an open-office floor plan, Wildbit has private offices with doors that shut. So whether working from the office or home, Wildbit employees have access to quiet spaces from where they can do their best work. Wildbit’s remote culture influenced this choice as it encourages asynchronous communication among its team regardless of location.
Having a mostly remote team isn’t without challenges though. For folks who work in an office, having people around to interact with is taken for granted. But for those who work remotely, that same kind of interaction requires a deliberate effort. To ensure everyone gets face-time with each other, Wildbit uses video calls for their meetings. To encourage the team to get to know each other better, Wildbit uses weekly check-ins to ask how everyone’s weekend went or to solicit reading or music recommendations. Also, the entire company gets together for a week-long retreat every year. These interactions, whether virtual or in-person, are imperative for strengthening relationships and reinforcing the company’s values, the most important of which is that Wildbit exists for its team.