Search Discovery is heading to Lisbon!

by Apr 24, 2018

We’re taking the whole company to Lisbon, Portu­gal. Yes, 100+ team members at SDI are grab­bing their pass­ports and heading to Lisbon for 8 days. Why??? Well, I’d like to start a multi-part blog conver­sa­tion to answer just that and to chron­i­cle our adven­ture.

The genesis of the idea starts where all our ideas and cultural values begin: With our people.

At Search Discovery, our values aren’t just wall art—we work hard every day to demon­strate an ideol­ogy that promotes great­ness. In fact, even our wall art seeks to demon­strate and chal­lenge this commit­ment. Our goal is to show, not tell, our employ­ees, our indus­try, our part­ners, anyone we do busi­ness with that we’re going places. Liter­ally. We’re going to Lisbon. We’re going because we want to provide our people with every oppor­tu­nity to grow, bond, and feel deeply proud of their work.

Our team, distrib­uted across 19 states and 4 coun­tries, is great and has embraced an ideol­ogy of great­ness. At SDI we focus on teach­ing the bene­fits of plan­ning, sched­ul­ing, and the value of deep work for optimum perfor­mance. We provide oppor­tu­ni­ties to do work at the cutting edge of the data indus­try. We ensure that our employ­ees have enough time, support, and educa­tion to work and think creatively to solve rich prob­lems that create posi­tive change for our clients. This is both how we recruit and develop happy, loyal employ­ees AND how we give clients inno­v­a­tive, stand­out services and prod­ucts.

As a distrib­uted work­force we have a compet­i­tive advan­tage of finding the most talented and ambi­tious people anywhere in the world, not just near our offices. But being distrib­uted comes with its own unique set of chal­lenges, most notably, main­tain­ing our culture. Culture for a company like ours requires more educa­tion, more trust, creativ­ity and honesty, more advanced tech­nolo­gies, better commu­ni­ca­tion, elbow grease to keep the teams feeling close and connected—and, of course, lots of airlines miles.

One of the most impor­tant arrows in our culture-build­ing quiver has been our bi-annual company on-sites. Twice a year we fly every­one to our main office in Atlanta, Georgia for a week of work, educa­tion, bonding, amazing meals, and some sort of big bash, like our annual lake party.

Here’s footage from SDI Summer Superweek 2017.

This year, as we consid­ered the idea of cram­ming our growing company into our office one more time, we decided it was time to take our on-site to the next level. Not just because of space constraints or the fact that we could, but because we needed to keep pace with the company’s growth, the needs of our clients, and the need to continue to push ourselves intel­lec­tu­ally as an orga­ni­za­tion.

As an avid adven­ture trav­eler with the belief that wealth should be spent collect­ing expe­ri­ences, not things, I’ve noticed a couple of real­i­ties about travel that I’d love to share with our team. First, the more new places I engage with, the more new people I meet, the more unusual the expe­ri­ences I collect—the more intel­li­gent I get. Travel opens up new path­ways in my think­ing that I never knew existed. New places have a way of chang­ing me. Once I incor­po­rate the stories, land­scapes, and culture of a new place, not only is my appre­ci­a­tion for that place and people enhanced, but my perspec­tive on “home” changes, too. When I travel, I learn to see at least two places differ­ently. These lessons can only enhance the intel­lec­tual capac­i­ties of our outstand­ing problem solvers, creative thinkers, and highly skilled profes­sion­als.

Second, I don’t know anything more humbling (Humil­ity is one of the SDI Core Values) than walking about in the history, land­scape, and culture of a differ­ent country. In an indus­try where our customers are global brands, we’ve become used to being anywhere anytime, digi­tally. But it’s impor­tant to remem­ber that our world—though increas­ingly connected—is a big, complex, unique, diverse place, and our part­ners and customers across seas are indi­vid­u­als living in nuanced socio-polit­i­cal, histor­i­cal, cultural moments that don’t always come through via email, Slack, and Zoom. Putting oneself into another culture bursts our own bubbles and reminds us that we are a part of, not the center of, a wide, vital world.

At Search Discovery, people are at the center of our enter­prise. We appre­ci­ate our fantas­tic team. We value pioneer­ing, intel­lec­tual pursuits, as well as humil­ity, as core cultural concepts. We believe that enact­ing these values will help us think deeper and go further than all our compe­ti­tion.

As a company with an ideol­ogy that promotes great­ness, we’re commit­ted to giving indi­vid­u­als the time, support, and educa­tion they need to feel refreshed, free of stress, and ready to reach their poten­tial to solve rich prob­lems on the cutting edge of their field. We think that trav­el­ing together is a way to give our team an extra­or­di­nary profes­sional and personal oppor­tu­nity AND to show­case our commit­ment to our people and every­one we do busi­ness with, across the globe.

Travel is fatal to prej­u­dice, bigotry, and narrow-mind­ed­ness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, whole­some, char­i­ta­ble views of men and things cannot be acquired by vege­tat­ing in one little corner of the earth all one’s life­time.

Mark Twain, from The Inno­cents Abroad

Stay tuned for Part 2 — “Why Lisbon”