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This Startup CEO’s Policy on Remote Workers Is Genius (And It’s Based On A Famous TV Show)

This remote workforce has led to crazy growth.

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BY Matt Given - 02 Dec 2017

This Startup CEO's Policy on Remote Workers Is Genius (And It's Based On A Famous TV Show)

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

About a decade ago, Dave Dupont, like every parent with a kid in sports, was somewhere between annoyed and aggressively perturbed with the clunkiness of keeping track of his kids' team happenings. Phone trees and group emails left significant gaps in his ability to know where and when his son should be at practices, games and other team events.

So like any good entrepreneur, he saw an opportunity in this problem.

Ten years later, his company, TeamSnap, has largely flown under the radar, quietly growing its footprint from local teams to larger leagues worldwide as the lead dog in the sports team management space. Parents and coaches use TeamSnap, which comes in a free and upgraded monthly subscription version, to manage rosters, schedules, payments and other team transactions.

As a startup veteran, Dupont strategically raised just enough but not too much money to grow the user base to just north of 20 million worldwide. He and his team have consistently prioritized an elegant user experience for the feature bloat that some teenage SaaS platforms suffer from.

The company is headquartered in Boulder, CO, where development talent is at a real premium. Recent additions to the already thriving Boulder tech community include Google, Amazon, Mapquest and Techstars. If you can code, Boulder is a destination.

Competing with tech giants for tech talent can be daunting, not to mention expensive. Google and Amazon have become expert at poaching young talent from startups with lucrative packages and business cards with a power logo. For young starry-eyed developers, the courting can be impossible to refuse.

So Dupont and other companies like TeamSnap have in part turned to a remote workforce to build a complete tech team that won't be poached the second they show promise. Many executives look at the necessity of a remote workforce as a hurdle to overcome. Dupont takes another track: a remote workforce is a weapon he can use to compete for top tech talent and a cultural driver for TeamSnap.

"Eighty percent of our tech staff doesn't live in Boulder. And to me, that's a super advantage for us. We can be a source for social good. We look for talented motivated people who might be constrained by other life circumstances."

Dupont has gone out of his way to create systems within TeamSnap that don't just accommodate his remote workers but fosters an environment that allows his in-house group and virtual employees to thrive together.

One specific tactic illustrates this point perfectly. Team Snap has it's share of meetings, and many of these meetings take the shape of a mix of remote and in-house employees. Here's how Dave described his leadership on these meetings.

"A couple of years ago we realized that if we were having a video conference, the people in the office hogged the conversation. And the people listening in had a hard time following who was talking. So, we changed our practice so that if there's just one person who is remote, everyone takes the meeting from their desk through the web conference. It dramatically and immediately changed our meeting dynamics. Suddenly, we were all equal."

Dupont describes this meeting practice as his company's "Brady Bunch" meeting policy.

"Everyone gets their own Brady Bunch square."

His dedication to engraining remote workers into TeamSnap's winning culture has paid off. For the third year, TeamSnap was named to Outside Magazine's 100 best places to work. Over those three years, the headcount at TeamSnap has tripled. Possessing a great culture at a snapshot in time is one thing, but maintaining that culture during a stressful period of growth is hard.

Dupont openly talks about his view on culture.

"Building a great culture is a partnership between everyone in the company. It can't be something handed down from on high. We're building a platform that helps teams be more effective, so we think a lot about what makes great teams."

TeamSnap's approach to remote talent is just one example of practices that reinforce a real culture that leads to winning.

Choose your culture, or your culture chooses you.

Check out the rest of the Dave Dupont interview here.