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In this week’s episode, we talk to Kinsta COO Jon Penland about creating a positive company culture, hiring for mentality over experience, and re-allocating tasks in a growing team.
About Jon Penland:
With 6+ years of experience working remotely in the technology space, and 10+ years working with customer-facing teams across multiple industries, Jon stepped into the role of Chief Operating Officer at Kinsta, where his responsibilities include hiring and onboarding as Kinsta has grown from a team of 4 to a team of more than 250 worldwide. While he didn’t write his first line of HTML until he was 25 years old, within 3 years Jon was working full-time in technology, first as a freelance writer for technical websites and eventually as a Support Engineer at Kinsta. From there, he moved into management roles, initially as Chief Customer Officer and now as the COO. When he’s not driving company-wide strategy and finding ways to help our distributed team stay connected, Jon can be found in rural Georgia with his wife and five kids. You can find him at @jonrichpen on Twitter.
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2:00 Start to Jon’s entrepreneurial journey: joining a small, rapidly scaling company called Kinsta.
8:00 The importance of owning a problem: don’t ignore issues, notify your team immediately and contribute to the solution as much as possible.
11:00 Applying learnings and experiences from previous jobs to current work at a start-up.
18:00 Hiring not just for specific experience, but hiring for personality traits, notably ‘ownership mentality’ and the ability to contribute to a positive company culture.
21:00 Dedicated firefighters vs. dedicated builders: making different people responsible for building forward-looking features, vs. those focusing on putting out the biggest fires.
28:30 As your team grows, allocate team members to specific tasks and let them do their job, even if these tasks were previously your responsibility.
31:00 Knowing when to hire: hiring too late creates a bottleneck and can cost you in the long run.
43:00 Hiring is an iterative process if what you’re looking for is highly specific. If you’re not finding the right fit, talk to candidates about what attracted them to the role, find the gaps, and then zero in on the correct job title and description. This process can take months.
48:00 Developing a positive company culture.
56:00 Knowing when to celebrate a win: growth is an ongoing process. One team’s end point is another team’s beginning, so find small wins to celebrate regularly and thank who you can for their help along the way.
1:11:00 Leading a fully remote team.