Despite continuous growth, San Luis Obispo’s Hathway remains innovative and nimble in markets where we do work for clients 200x our size.
With more than 9,000 employees and approximately 19.5 million customers, Transamerica is one of Hathway’s largest clients; others include Applied Materials, TransUnion, Behr Paint and Jamba Juice. And though these companies span across a diverse set of financial, CPG and QSR industries, one thing they all have in common is their choice to utilize the innovative prowess of Hathway’s 50-person team of experts to make their large-scale projects happen in a short amount of time.
As we continue to grow and expand our business at what the SLO Tribune calls a “breakneck speed,” it’s our startup culture that helps us retain both market agility and marketability for large and mid-sized brands alike. It turns out ‘fast’ is the new ‘big,’ and Hathway works fast—and effectively.
Advantages of a Startup Culture
It’s not for everyone. Startup culture is a challenge for many businesses to maintain after they bypass the five-year anniversary of their official date of actual ‘startup.’ However, Hathway continues to take on the challenge, succeeding year-by-year with new team members, more clients and greater goals reached.
“Obviously, the fewer people and resources you have, the faster you can adapt to major industry shifts or approaching trends,” iMedia Connection industry insider, Jason Burnham, says on startups. “For bigger companies, this flexibility is not usually an option. There are several layers of bureaucracy, lots of people to convince, and several systems to disrupt before change can occur.”
According to Burnham, it’s this disruption of the status quo and continuous improvement of existing processes that allows teams greater flexibility to adapt and—rather than just keep up with the pace—to set the pace for their industry. This is precisely what Hathway has managed to do since its founding in 2008, establishing a culture we plan to continue nurturing as we pick up speed.
Important Insights for Creating/Maintaining Startup Culture
Hathway has created a unique environment for its team members, which fosters not only its ability to stay agile and produce large-scale results, but also to keep energy high when the work influx is heavy. According to Barre Hardy, senior director and agile marketing research lead with CMG Partners, there are a few essential points to remember for businesses such as Hathway who are focusing on creating and/or building this type of agile marketing culture:
- Teams should be trusted to use their initiative to experiment, with the understanding that failure is tolerable when it provides a learning opportunity greater than the failure itself.
- People within a culture need to feel empowered to adapt, learn and communicate.
- If you want to move quickly, you need to know where you’re going: company goals need to be clear across the company, both inside and outside of marketing.
- Establish and share not only where you’re going, but also how you’re going to get there.
- Maintain knowledge-sharing and transparency across departments.
Finally, teams should be excellent at one set of skills, but also contribute with other skills as well.
“The best people for agile teams are called ‘T-shaped,’” says Jonathan Becher, chief digital officer at SAP. “They have a vertical specialty, but they also contribute horizontally with enthusiasm, ideas and support.”
Hathway’s diverse and highly skilled team of experts are encouraged to think curiously, experiment constantly, develop open-mindedly and communicate transparently in order to ensure the maximum amount of idea sharing, strategy and collaboration. It’s this environment that allows us to pull ahead of competitors, as well as to know exactly which “on the curve” technology to react to, and which to be knowledgeable about but to bypass hype on for the time being.
The Importance of Location
Hailing from San Luis Obispo, Calif., which seems to be steadily shaping into what some are “the new Silicon Valley” due to the wealth of tech businesses thriving in the area, Hathway has no plans to move.
“In business, you need to have access to business and access to talent,” Hathway CEO Jesse Dundon recently told the SLO Tribune. “SLO is a great place for that. It’s growing, we have a university here, and we’re getting to a point of critical mass of technology and creative businesses.”
Hathway also enjoys the luxury of being almost exactly halfway between LA and San Francisco, making commutes to clients in those areas a frequent and mostly hassle-free occurrence. Despite the San Luis Obispo area being smaller than the larger hubs in which many agencies choose to put down their roots, there’s definitely something to be said about the “SLO” life as opposed to the faster buzz of a city like LA or SFO.
“The pace [on the Central Coast] is slower…more laid-back,” said Gregg Sargeant, Hathway’s Senior PM said in a recent interview on his career switch from Starbucks to Hathway. “There’s no traffic, the beach is so close and actually has sand.”
Along with the Central Coast environment, Gregg enjoys the sunny weather and spending a lot of time outside in shorts, not soaked.
“I love it,” said Gregg.
Some of the perks of being in located in SLO, besides being in a good location for commuting and recruiting, include:
- Year-round sun and fair weather
- Close proximity to other tech businesses
- Near the heart of downtown, including shops, restaurants and leisure options
- A huge variety of trails and hikes
- A wide selection of fitness and wellness facilities/options
- Several beaches, all within a few miles
- Unique, niche businesses and local commerce
- Ease of networking and engaging in the community
- Local agriculture and produce (with a highlight being weekly farmers markets all over several towns in the SLO metro
- Excellent music and entertainment scene
- Quality education, including several colleges (namely, Cal Poly)
- Wine country and a thriving culinary industry
Altogether, SLO makes the quality of life for Hathway’s employees exceptional, keeping it a place where both Hathway (as a company) and its team members (as individuals) can thrive and grow. Hathway team members stay and develop, work hard and contribute, work fast and make things happen, and maintain balance. Because Hathway’s employees can therefore stay agile and flexible in their own lives, the quality of their experience translates into the quality of their work and—by default—the quality of Hathway’s endeavors and success as we continue to take chances, succeed and grow.
As far as fitting into Hathway as someone from elsewhere (the Pacific Northwest, specifically) goes, Gregg thinks it’s awesome.
“I love collaboration and we do a lot of that here,” said Gregg. “We celebrate our successes and our people, so I feel like I am part of a family and not at the place where I work.”
Join the “Agile Agency” Culture
Hathway is looking for it’s next innovator, and that could be you. Yes, we are now hiring for a variety of jobs here, and we couldn’t be more excited to be ramping up our teams in SLO and SFO. This is your chance to work for a company that’s small enough to know the whole team and maintain its “niche market” charm, but large enough to scale for collaboration with some of the US’s largest brands. We are a mobile agency, consisting of a team of experts who unite to produce amazing outcomes in the web, mobile, digital and marketing realm. Hathway is currently looking for a:
- Account Director- SF
- Administrative Assistant
- Client Engagement Director
- Director of Projects
- Director of Strategy
- Operations Analyst
- Project Manager
- QA Engineer
- Senior Strategist
- Strategy Director, New Business- SF
- UI Architect
- UI Designer
- UI Developer
- UX Director