Is the start-up life a dog’s life?
“Well, yes it is! That is, if you are me: Bennie – the Chief Happiness & Customer Suppawt Officer at Mercator Launch. In Silicon Valley it is already the most natural thing in the world: dogs accompany their owners when they go to the office every day. In fact, companies like Google, Zynga, and Facebook (to name a few) are actively encouraging this. Due to COVID-19, the office actually came to me. So, I decided to join the team.
What my day looks like? First of all, it’s my job to greet entrepreneurs and colleagues when they come to the house, err, office. Because, let’s be honest, would you prefer my spontaneous and happy hello or the early morning ‘before-the-first-coffee’-faces of your co-workers… This part of my job is actually quite challenging. I have to wake up and get up all the time! So, when I can, I take a quick break. I like to visit a patch of grass outside or hang out at the “barking lot”. After my break, I like to join meetings from my pillow. When they start talking about human stuff and I get bored, I tend to fall asleep pretty fast and start snoring, much to the joy of all my colleagues.
The other really important task I have is to improve the team spirit. On a daily basis I make the team do some teambuilding exercises to improve collaboration and communication. Small ones, so they don’t really notice. Like, deciding who gets to walk me that day or give me my afternoon snack. And sometimes, when someone in the team has a really stressful day, I just offer to take them for a walk and after 10 minutes they always say: ‘I feel so much better’. I do what I can.
Finally, I am an active promoter of a healthy lifestyle and make sure all my colleagues exercise enough. Did you know that a dog’s microbes are good for humans? These microbes shape your health and help humans strengthen their immune system. And, of course, I work very hard to distract and reduce stress. Not to brag but people just melt when they pet me. Being around me makes my colleagues happy, their blood pressure drops, they are more zen and the overall working atmosphere improves tremendously. And it’s not just me making this stuff up, it has been scientifically proven.
My role after COVID? Good question. Well, some humans are allergic and some people just don’t like being surrounded by dogs like me all the time so I will probably not join the team on location but, as I already barked at my team mates, I am always ready to help if they need me.
Who inspire me? In the world of tech, dogs have been part of the founding lore. Back in the early days of Amazon, the company’s first dog (a corgi named Rufus) would help launch new versions of the website by a click of his paw. At Google, the company’s first dog was Yoshka. The dog and his owner were often the only ones who showed up at the office before 11am, making Yoshka de facto the first receptionist. I want to be like them and follow in their paw steps.
The lesson here: great companies like Google and Amazon were founded by a dog. So, make sure to get a spirit animal just like me in your founding team!