Hey there, Internet. Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to manage a workplace – not the people in it (HR-style) but the environment itself. How do we craft, refine, revise, and grow the best place for our unique brand of thinkers to come together with our clients?
Inspired by some of the best thought around creating exceptional experiences, we’re putting together a team focused on making the reality of Undercurrent as compelling and engaging as possible. We’re looking for people to work on the entirety of what encountering our company means – everything from what it’s like to walk through the front door, to the logistics of our daily workflow.
And we’re searching for some fresh faces and true expertise to help us execute on this vision. We’re looking for senior (five-to-seven years exp.) and more junior people to join our team (three years plus). If you think you (or someone you know), might be right to help UC deliver on our mission of creating an Ever Better Future, read on…
Undercurrent is looking for strategists to join our team in New York, NY.
Working as a strategist focused on the digital world is a relatively new occupation. You probably didn’t go to school for it. You probably don’t have 5+ years experience doing it. You might not already have it on your resume. And that’s ok. Before the rest of us started here, we had little more than a hunch that our true calling might be solving problems at the intersection of people and technology.
Got a feeling that our brand of strategy is for you? Here are some clues that you may be cut out for this line of work:
- You can break down complex problems/topics and make them easy for others to understand.
- You can’t help but see the underlying systems that connect and shape our world.
- You’re the one all your friends and colleagues rely on to know what’s next in digital.
- You’re relentlessly curious, always geeking out about something new, and always trying to find a better way.
- You’re constantly coming up with ways digital technology can make things better.
The role you’ll play
This is a new role for a new world. It’s part inventor and futurist: you’ll be behind the scenes, guiding the impact digital technology will have on our world. It’s part planner and architect: you’ll confront problems that others don’t see, and design solutions that change organizations and cultures from the bottom up. It’s part consultant and trusted advisor: you’ll gain insight into the complexities of business and have the opportunity (from day one) to help your clients imagine and realize success.
If you zoom out, your job is essentially thinking about how digital technology changes the way we live and applying that knowledge to solve complex problems. If you zoom in, your job can be anything from figuring out how 3D printing is transforming manufacturing to redesigning human-refrigerator interaction or hatching a rogue tech startup inside a massive global corporation.
Who we are and what we do
Our team comes from a wide array of backgrounds and disciplines – diversity of perspective is something we actively look for during our hiring process. Undercurrent strategists have been called many names: blogger, game designer, experience planner, tech start-up entrepreneur, physical computing engineer, research PhD, community manager, web developer, and software developer. What we all share, however, is a common worldview – the belief that digital is fundamentally changing the world around us.
What we offer
When it comes to people, our primary mission at Undercurrent is to ensure that each team member can progress further and faster in their careers while working here than they could anywhere else. Moving ahead in your career is good for both you and Undercurrent; as your value as a strategist increases, so does the value of our work. Recognizing this, we’re continually looking for ways to invest in our people. We sponsor education, we create opportunities to teach and speak at conferences, we invest in side projects, and we provide a stipend for developing relationships with clients and colleagues. We also expect a lot from you, from the start. You will be thrust into positions of responsibility, you will lead from day one, you will present to the leadership teams of FORTUNE 100 companies, and you will be expected to get better every day. You will also be surrounded and supported by some of the best and brightest people you’ve ever worked with.
Your mission, if you choose to accept it
If Undercurrent sounds like it might be the place for you, we encourage you to send us an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and introduce yourself. Tell us who you are (we tend to prefer urls to resumes) and why you’re interested in becoming a digital strategist at Undercurrent.
Looking forward to meeting you!
Digital initiatives can easily rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in hard costs, claiming months of research, planning, and effort. Smart organizations understand the importance of articulating a waterproof foundational strategy for any such venture, backed by a rationale that is anchored in some higher grand business strategy. Yet any actual strategic thinking that gets done in the context of these investments is generally constricted to the planning stage, leaving a significant chunk of the process – the implementation phase – untouched. However, strategy shouldn’t end when the planning docs are signed and delivered; it should be deeply embedded in technical implementation and tactical execution. Read more
In my previous piece I wrote about how important it is for organizations to have both a clearly articulated strategy and a culture that guides and pulls them in the right direction, using Bonobos as an example of a business that has gotten this right. As some of the comments I received hinted at, there is much to discuss about the nuances of what characterizes a successful alignment of culture and strategy, and the implications of choosing a balance.
At a high level, we can agree that, as Hayles pointed out in a comment, “leadership sets direction and tone, then smart people plan and execute great work”. Continuing to think about these things, in this piece I offer some illustrations about what the relationship between culture and strategy, at the most basic level, might look like. These preliminary diagrams might move this conversation forward by visualizing where and how the two exist within an organization.
On Cyber Monday 2011, Bonobos experienced an epic fail. Generous discounts on luxury men’s clothing drove extreme volumes of traffic to the site, slowing down load times and transactions, and preventing some customers from completing their orders. What happened next is a case study in flawless damage control and best-case customer service – Bonobos’ entire tech team pitched in and worked tirelessly for days alongside a crack-team from the site’s e-commerce vendor to get the site back up and running.
Meanwhile, the rest of the company stopped operations to focus on upset customers. Even CEO Andy Dunn pitched in, coordinating efforts, keeping morale high, and taking customer phone calls late into the night. It was an all hands on deck effort that Bonobos, despite financial losses, views as a positive learning experience.
Was this the result of some brilliantly devised strategy? Or can Bonobos’ success during the Cyber Monday crisis be traced back to its culture?