It’s a dangerously potent question and I’ve pondered its answers intently these past few years.
Sure, at first glance, lofting the question into the air seems elementary, but at the root of its response, you can find intention and truth if you get an authentic reply.
But I’m finding that’s rare these days.
Regardless, with intention comes a heightened sense of understanding, and with understanding, alignment around any business’s mission can be born.
And it’s this alignment that’s required to move any organization in the same direction—to build something meaningful.
Every spring, we hold a hack day to give Stackers a day to work on a passion project of their choice. This year I was out of town, but I had to try to defend my title so I gave it a shot. I decided to create an audio recording (my first one ever) and I had it played for the entire company while I was out.
Ever since I’ve worked at Stack (now 4+ years) I always told myself one of the biggest ways I can help the company achieve its dreams is to help it focus on improving what gives it life.
So here went another attempt.
The Mind Hack: Why Stack exists and how we can take our existence to the next level.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Stackers and Stackettes, I know you thought you could get rid of me one day but I got things to say on my 4th Stack Hack day.
Maybe it’s just a little different this time because you don’t get to watch me prowl around the room, but that’s okay because I’m sure you’ll get another chance soon.
Honestly, when I heard Hack Day was on 3/17, I was instantly overcome with happiness—knowing that I wasn’t going to be here.
Today can be a stressful one knowing that work continues to pile up while you’re chipping away on something that may not end up being impactful.
But not to worry Anna, then my heart chimed in and my inner competitor took over. Suddenly I thought to myself, doesn’t today give us Stackers the opportunity to change the game? You’re damn right! And wait, wasn’t I on the winning team last year? Okay team maythesalesforcebegifyou!!
With these in mind, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. So without further ado… buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Again… my hack is called, The Mind Hack: Why Stack exists and how we can take our existence to the next level.
I know what you’re thinking…
Tall order for a short man, right?
Given some thought, these statements are only as complex as you make them out to be.
Here’s why Stack exists.
For those of you who haven’t experienced our annual company offsite yet, it’s an important day where the entire team goes on a local retreat to realign on our mission, vision, and values. And during our last one this past fall, I launched our Stack Pillars. Never heard of them? Think of them as our guiding principles that should help us focus on improving the things that give us life.
Again, the Pillars are:
1. Better the lives of our people.
2. Better the lives of our consumers.
3. Better the lives of our product makers.
4. Better the lives of our content creators.
And if we continue to help these people more and are smart about our finances, then I’m confident we’ll be able to achieve our fifth one as well, which is to sustain our business.
So why did I launch them?
Simply put—because just like in life, there are reasons we’re able to breathe, and if we don’t continue to understand and improve these things, well then, life as we know it, may be in jeopardy. And in our case, I never want that to happen to my Stack Fam.
I believe the only way this company will ever be able to achieve its dreams depends on how much our thoughts, talks, and actions collectively contribute to bettering the lives of these people.
So for these reasons I figured this was the perfect time to remind you all why we’re able to exist today.
We’re able to exist because all of you, our warriors, who fight the daily battles to keep our train on the tracks; our vendors, who fuel our ecosystem with the products that make revolutionizing Native eCommerce possible; our publishers, who propel our growth to new heights every single day, and our consumers, who sustain our ability to live.
Don’t believe me?
Put it this way—we make money because we help these people, not because they help us.
Why on earth would they want to help us if we’re not helping them?
They wouldn’t because that’s not the way business works.
In business, money transfers hands when value is given, otherwise what on earth is the person paying for? And if it’s not value that’s being given, then what is? No value? Well I sure hope that’s not the case.
But if you still don’t believe me.
Let me paint an even more vivid picture.
In 2015 alone:
We employed more than 40 people who helped give them stability and experience in the startup world.
We made product makers over $16M by helping them sell their products to new customers all around the world.
We made our content creators over $2.5M by helping them sell relevant products to their audience.
And last but not least, we helped our consumers save over $470M by giving them a place where they could discover some of the best tech and lifestyle deals on the web. Let me say that again… we helped them save over $470M! Are you kidding me!?!?!!
We provide some serious value to a lot of people on this planet and because we help them, they help us back—monetarily—and hopefully intrinsically as well.
But again, my point here is to remind you why Stack is able to exist today.
And we exist…
Because we help these people.
And the bigger and the better we can help them, the more we’ll be rewarded for it.
So now that you know why we exist…
Here’s how we can take our existence to the next level.
Notice how I said we.
To be honest, I can only fly as high as the Stack leash lets me, but with your help I know we’ll be able to soar as high as we want to go.
However, the length of our flight depends on these 4 things:
How much we can better the lives of… each other, our consumers, our product makers, and our content creators.
Collectively, how much energy, compassion, empathy, intelligence, and grit can we dedicate towards carrying these pillars out for the rest of our life?
And why do we even care about helping them in the first place?
These two questions, I can’t answer for us because we’ll need to continue to figure them out together.
But here’s what I need from everyone if we want to take our existence to the next level.
To all my teammates that hold leadership positions in this company, I ask you with all my heart to continue to center Stack’s thoughts, talks, and actions around bettering the lives of the people we serve rather than the money generated from it.
And to everyone else, I need you to keep fighting for bettering the lives of each other and the rest of the people we help.
Because if we can do that together—as one—I’m confident we’ll be able to figure out how we can take our existence to the next level.
A next level that’ll be great wherever we end up.
Thanks for listening, and as always, keep Stackin’ ya filthy animals.
So did I win?
Nope, but that doesn’t matter. Whether realized before or not, now my fellow Stackers know that we exist because we help these people, and that our potential greatness will depend on how much we continue to help them.
I guess our future actions will tell us how much we actually care.
Help others fly higher.
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Please share your thoughts or feedback as I’m always looking to heighten the conversation. Maybe it’s because I’m short.