Impossibly, it’s only been a week.
When I accepted the offer to join Hopin as Head of Content, I knew I was in for a ride.
I had read the many (many) articles marveling at the company’s growth—from the hockey-stick trajectory of its ARR, to the more and more marquee brands using Hopin to craft original online experiences, to the rapidly multiplying headcount of its global team.
I get it, I thought. It’s a rocketship.
But as I write this—one warpspeed week in—I realize that no amount of mental priming could have prepared me for the exhilarating, shot-out-of-a-cannon feeling you get as a new Hopineer. Almost literally, you can feel the momentum.
In this article, I share my first impressions of Hopin—a glimpse of what it’s like on the rocketship. (Crucially, in these impressions, you may also find insights into how all that staggering growth is happening.) So let's jump in.
#1: The sheer global-ness of the team.
From the moment I joined my first onboarding session—hosted on Hopin—I was struck by the global nature of the team. In just my class of “new joiners,” there are folks from Denmark, India, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the US, and more. In all, Hopineers currently represent 42 countries.
What really distinguishes Hopin from any number of companies with a global footprint, however, is the relative absence of geographic hierarchy. As a fully remote company by design, traditional distinctions between HQ, second-tier offices, and back offices don’t exist in the same way. Talent is talent, no matter where it comes from.
This philosophy not only surfaces and empowers the best talent around the world (without asking them to move to Palo Alto or, in our case, London); it also forms the environment for innovation through a real, collaborative exchange of ideas and perspectives, unhindered by artificial barriers or geographic bias. Plus, it lets you scale superfast.
(To be sure, that global-ness also acts as a check on some silly Ameri-centric notions. I will confess that when a teammate of mine from Uruguay mentioned his passion for CrossFit, I thought to myself: Hunh, they have CrossFit in Uruguay?)
#2: The now of work.
A fully remote, globally distributed team means a fundamentally new way of working. In recent years—and especially during our pandemic times—a lot has been written about the “future of work.” At Hopin, that alleged future seems suspiciously like the present.
In my first week, I’m adjusting to the new rhythm of work created by asynchronous communication and collaboration (i.e., working with team members across many time zones). We make good use of Slack and Notion, and are able to both speed things up and give ideas the room they need to germinate and bear fruit.
Then, of course, video. In addition to video conferencing, we use the Hopin platform almost daily as a way to build and nurture the connective tissue of organizational culture. It’s a place for everyone to tune in, get pumped, stay aligned, learn, ask questions, play games, listen to music (shout out to the Hopin Vibe team and their impeccable taste), and more.
When people talk of a post-Covid future for video in the workplace, it involves something like this: regular online gatherings for distributed teams in between the annual onsites.
#3: A fervent focus on customers.
The most prominent theme of my first week at Hopin has been the centrality of the customer. Seemingly every meeting I’ve joined, every conversation I’ve had has been anchored by this first principle, of providing real value to the customer.
How that manifests: relentless dogfooding (the appetizing tech term for using and using and using your own product) to put ourselves in the shoes of our customers. Slack channels lit up with team celebrating customer wins. Questionnaires prompting our full team to spot potential issues before a customer event, so that we can preemptively resolve them. An aggressive product roadmap that makes customer feedback actionable. Even inviting customers to take part and share ideas in our annual kickoff.
When you’re growing as fast as Hopin, it’s an existential challenge to maintain alignment and focus. I think Hopin has been able to do that so far by keeping an eye on our north star—our customers.
#4: Ambitious vision, ferocious pace.
“Well, what about after the pandemic?” is the question we get something like 4,535 times a day. What happens to online events when the world opens up again?
Full disclosure: I asked those very questions during my interviews.
In my first week, what has been most galvanizing is the ambitious vision for Hopin, grounded as it is in a compelling thesis. Even absent a pandemic, the world was already headed in the direction of experiences and exchanges with both physical and online elements (e.g., mixed or hybrid events, work, etc.). The pandemic only accelerated that trend.
What is the future of the trillion-dollar event industry? That’s just one of the heady problems Hopin has been thinking about and working on—since before Covid. As our CEO, Johnny Boufarhat, points out, Hopin was conceived before there was even an inkling of a pandemic.
Of course, defining a new space is a herculean task—which explains the mind-boggling speed of things at Hopin. As veterans note, there is something sci-fi about how time works here. Indeed, my week has felt closer to a month. For the audacious, the intellectually hungry, the adrenaline junkies, it’s a place to be.
#5: The impressive team.
Which brings me back to the team at Hopin. By far, the most indelible impression from my first week here has been the quality of the people—their intellectual heft and paint-the-world ambition, but also their generosity.
(And humor. I am fairly used to being the charming guy on the team; humor is supposed to be my thing. So I will admit I have been mildly bummed to find that this place is overflowing with charming, witty people—with more interesting accents, to boot.)
I was iffy about whether a fully remote company could conjure a sense of culture and cohesion. But I got my first bit of reassurance when I posted a hello message in Slack and was inundated with warm welcomes, emoji, and tips on essential channels to join (#hopinstagram).
In the week since, I’ve seen how thoughtful the executive team is about creating a transparent, supportive, and innovative work environment. I already feel pretty integrated. Again, Hopin speed.
What it all adds up to is this—the overwhelming sense that the team is building something very special here at Hopin.
We are among the fastest growing companies ever, but we are also growing in the right way—investing in innovation not flash, building a sound business, and fostering a healthy and vibrant organizational culture.
It will be an exhilarating challenge to make good on the market’s sky-high expectations, but it is abundantly clear—even in my first week—that our team is up for it.
Which means, of course, I was right all along. I am in for a ride.