Have you heard of Buffer? I’m assuming that – like the thousands of people that use their service every day – you have heard of them and know they are ridiculously awesome. If you haven’t found out about them yet, then consider this your introduction to one of the most forward-thinking companies I have had the pleasure of chatting with. Like EVER.
Let me break it down for you:
They are a completely remote company…their team is located literally everywhere and they love it that way.
They are all about opening the lines of communication for companies via social media, making it easy as pie to share their company stories with the world.
Their goal is to help people live authentically and to make meaningful connections with those around them – how epic is that!
But enough about my take on Buffer – let’s dive into this interview with Mary, an integral part of the Buffer team and an all-around awesome gal. (Side note – she works in the Customer Support division. Her email tagline? “Happiness Hero.” LOVE IT!)
JM: Thanks so much for taking the time for a virtual interview! Tell me the story of how Buffer started…was it an idea formed over some beers late at night or maybe the brainchild of college roommates?
MJ: Good one! Joel noticed himself thinking quite often that it would be cool to schedule out tweets. I remember him saying he used to write them down on post-it notes so he could connect at better times with people in different timezones. He worked like crazy to make that vision into a reality and we’ve now grown to a team of 30! I think Joel tells the story much better than I could here.
JM: I LOVE that you are a fully remote team; can you tell me WHY you opted to go that route?
MJ: One of our values is to live in the place that makes you happiest; this philosophy has lead to us being a team that is remote and distributed everywhere. We’ve also found that it really widens the circle of applicants and potential team members! Here’s a video of Joel and Leo explaining this question even better!
JM: What are the top 3 remote work tools that your team can’t operate without?
MJ: We’re really lucky to use and grateful to the people who work on Hipchat, Sqwiggle and Hackpad! Our distributed team relies very heavily on these tools and a few more too! Here’s a link to what we use in more detail.
JM: How long have you been in business? What was the turning point when you knew that Buffer was on to something special in terms of growth and number of customers?
MJ: I’ve been at Buffer for about a year and a half now. When I first started we were a bit more focused on growth and churn and number of customers. While this is still obviously important to us, there’s been a shift over the past few months to focus more on doing the best we can and sharing those results openly and honestly with our customers. This feels special to me. 🙂
JM: I really like your company philosophy: “A commitment to culture and customers has helped Buffer grow from humble beginnings to now serving more than two million people every day. Our passion for support, happiness and quality flow through everything that we do.” – If you could sum up Buffer’s core value/mission in 10 words or less, what would you say?
MJ: “To help people live authentically”
JM: One of your 10 key principles is “Live smarter, not harder;” tell me more about this and how it has set you apart from your competitors and created a killer work atmosphere?
MJ: That’s another good one! We’ve found as a remote team it can sometimes be hard to ‘turn off.’ A big learning curve here for me has been to practice managing my energy rather than my time. I’ve found that sometimes it’s okay to leave things until tomorrow morning as I’ll have more bandwidth and do a better job that time around. 🙂
JM: If you could step into a new product offering tomorrow, what would it be?
MJ: That’s a really great question. There aren’t plans for this and I’m probably a bit biased as I focus on support, it could be cool to offer tools to help others with their customer support. We have this dashboard: https://happiness.
bufferapp.com/. Could be cool to help other set up similar tools!
JM: What 2 or 3 blog posts would you recommend to first-time site visitors?
MJ: Here’s a compilation of our top posts – I definitely recommend checking them out!
JM: Where do you see the future of social media going?
MJ: I love this question, Jen. 🙂 I think it’s so amazing how social media allows us to connect with people all over the world. It gives us a chance to meet people we never could have before and to connect over similar interests. It blows my mind sometimes. I don’t know where the future is but I hope it keeps going in this awesome connected space. 😉