Maintaining Culture and Focus in the Face of Hypergrowth

Author: Jeremy Epstein


Last year, we grew by 400%. This year, we are on track to triple. Next year, we have plans to grow by 300% again and positioning for an IPO with a goal of becoming a billion dollar company.

We just raised a Series C round on a valuation well north of $200 million.

From 30 clients (2 years ago), we are now serving over 350 of the world’s most social, global brands including Intel, Cisco, Hearst, Virgin America, Dell, Microsoft, Samsung, Intercontinental Hotels Group, and 800Flowers.com
In the face of this type of hypergrowth, how does a social start-up maintain a sense of mission, focus, and core values?

That’s what Sprinklr, the leading provider of Social Relationship Infrastructure, is addressing.

We believe that the arrival of social means that large brands, the companies we serve, must scale real, human relationship or they will simply fail. The same goes for us as we hit escape velocity.

Here’s how we are tackling it.

Institutionalizing Culture… and Making It Social

Just like our innovative clients, we recognize that we live in a conversation economy. The days of a CEO just making pronouncements are over. We need to involve our employees in the conversation and listen to them in order to co-create the culture.

The arrival of Social tools and networks is fundamentally changing every aspect of how organizations deal with customers, partners and community. And the way a company builds and maintains its culture as it grows is no exception.

In other words, we have to make the institutions and programs of our culture Social.

Here are just a few ways we will achieve this goal …

Make Meetings Social

In a recent All-Hands meeting, the entire focus was on our culture and core values. Our CEO listed our 5 core values

  1. It’s OK to make mistakes (as long as you learn and grow from them)
  2. Sprinkle, don’t shout.
    (It’s not about who yells the loudest or who hoots the loudest. It’s about who offers the most value in a relevant, nurturing way. You don’t drown your lawn w/water, you sprinkle it.)
  3. Fix, don’t complain.
  4. Never, ever give up.
  5. Passionately, genuinely care.

As our CEO went through each value and WHY it was a value, we encouraged attendees to both tweet out the value AND to offer comments for their network.

When all was said and done, we had 68% participation and generated almost 300 tweets …and that doesn’t even include the re-tweets by others, such as Edward Boches and Jeremiah Owyang.

Make The Company Vocabulary Social


If you search for the hashtag #believeitis, you’ll see a lot of activity from Sprinklrites. It’s because we’ve coined a term that sums up how we feel about our company and what we can do for our clients.

Our dictionary entry is:

Believe-itis: (Bee-Leave-Eye-Tis), Noun. An infectious condition of extreme belief that everything and anything is possible.

Symptoms include: Obsessive compulsive will to succeed under any circumstances.
Sure, we give out the #Beleiveitis award every quarter, but it’s also on sweatshirts and part of our corporate dialogue. So, you’ll see people who tweeted their response to a fill-in-the-blank challenge with the answer: “I joined @Sprinklr b/c _____ #believeitis.”

Tell the Story of Sprinklr Through Our People


When clients invest in our company, they don’t just buy the technology, they buy the people and experience behind it. We know clients choose us because we have more people with deep enterprise Social experience than any of our competitors.

As Colin Burns, formerly of AT&T said, “I gave up my 401k to join Sprinklr.” And he’s not alone. Seasoned social practitioners from Samsung, Citi, Hearst, Target, Frontier Airlines, Intel, Microsoft, Polaris, Autodesk, among many, many others are all on the Sprinklr team…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

So, if you look at the Sprinklr Facebook page, you won’t see a lot of self-glorifying promotion. We know that clients connect with people they like…and our people are really likeable, so we profile them. And if their first day of work happens to coincide with a huge rainstorm, well, we really appreciate that they take the mandatory Sprinklr sign picture outside… and we think our visitors will as well.

In fact, our FB page was recently named one of the 17 best Profile Pages for businesses.

We know that our employees do…it helps build connections when, in many cases, you have never met each other face-to-face.

Make Culture Creation a Dialogue

We don’t pretend to have all the answers about what makes a culture great, so we make the very process of creating one into a social conversation. We’ve invited John Moore (formerly of Brand Autopsy and now of Brains on Fire) to give a webinar – which everyone should watch).  We also spent time with Jeremiah Owyang and he shared some of the most powerful words we had to consider:

Culture is what you do when no one else is looking.

Culture matters more than products. Why? All companies will have product fails…startups, even more so…What a company does after the fail matters most. They can fail backward by blaming each other…or fail forward and innovate together. ”

Invest in Culture Now

In the past year, Sprinklr has successfully emerged from the start-up pack to become the leading provider of social relationship infrastructure, comprised of 15 natively and seamlessly integrated modules (publishing, social apps, engagement, etc.) on the market.

Now, we’re battling and winning against multi-billion dollar software giants. (Don’t believe me? Ask Arthur Oates about why he joined Sprinklr. He says, “I was tired of losing.”)

We know we can’t outspend them and we can’t outshout them, but we can out-innovate and out-deliver them …but only if we get our culture right.

There will be challenges ahead, so we’re investing today …in a uniquely Social way. We’d love your thoughts on how to successfully build a culture in a Social world.

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