Hello, readers of The Finishing Touch — I’m Eddy Rivas, new Senior Marketing Writer at Blinds.com. We don’t know each other (yet), but I’ve spent most of my adult life writing, obsessively following (and watching) viral videos, playing video games, discussing sci-fi movies and cheating death. OK, that last one might not be true, but what is true is that I just joined the team at Blinds.com last week, and already I can tell you that you’ve never worked at a company like this.
My first day — my first hour, really — at Blinds.com was unlike any welcome I’ve received at a company before. It was the Monday after Thanksgiving. Still nursing a leftover turkey hangover from the week before and feeling kind of groggy, I took my first steps into the building… only to be told to head back out.
I got into a car with UX Designer John Suh. We drove. Another car behind us carried a few other new employees, although none of them were as green as me.
Our destination? CEO and cake-lover Jay Steinfeld’s house. It’s not very often that a CEO takes the time to greet you on your first day, let alone at his own home. Jay met us in the front yard with a smile and a story — the story of Blinds.com (once called NoBrainerBlinds), which all began in his garage.
The rest of the morning was a whirlwind tour. We saw other famous sites in Blinds.com’s twisty, inspiring history. There was the original Laura’s Draperies, which is now a nail salon. And 2 Brainer Tower, which is really not much more than an alley. Seriously.
Jay talked us through each of these locations, and what it meant to the company, and what it means to the company going forward. It’s hard not to get inspired by something like that, even at 10am on a Monday, surrounded by dumpsters.
Starting at a new company is kind of like going down a waterslide. Not one of the rinky dink ones at your neighborhood pool that you try to go down 87 times before some 15 year old lifeguard is calling for Adult Swim – but an honest to goodness, Schlitterbahn-type slide, where gravity, water and fear rocket you through an enclosed tube. There’s always that familiar panic as the company throws you into your new role, hoping you’ll figure it all out before you come racing out at the bottom.
Blinds.com handles things differently. Not only was my first week filled with back-to-back orientations to get me acquainted with each and every person on the Marketing team, I was also given a variety of secret missions that introduced me to the company, key folks in each department and the people that I’ll be relying on everyday to write whatever needs writing.
The most intense (and fun) of these secret missions involved another new employee and I, who were tasked with locating a number of facts, bits of fun trivia and yes, even a few photos to document my journey throughout the office.
While I won’t discuss trade secrets about the secret mission in this blog post, I can tell you that:
- Someone in the company sings in a barbershop quartet
- One of the higher-ups drives an award-winning Camaro
- There are five sets of relatives working at Blinds.com
- A member of the Marketing team sends messages to space from the palm of her hand
- There is a Tigger working downstairs, and that’s a wonderful thing
The Knowledge and the Team
This orientation process not only helped me meet some awesome, friendly people I might not have met for awhile otherwise, but it also showed me a great deal about the company’s culture and its willingness to have more than a bit of fun. Each person I came to for my secret mission(s) took my bizarre questions in stride, and even pointed me in the right direction for other questions.
As much as company culture starts from the top down — it’s always carried out by a team. Perhaps the most striking thing about my first week at Blinds.com is how knowledgeable and passionate everyone here is. People aren’t just going through the motions and doing jobs, they know their roles inside and out, take ownership of every project and really care about giving customers the best experience possible. That mindset carries through each department, and everyone takes obvious pride in it.
My job as a new writer in the company will be to take that mindset, that way of thinking, and put it on the page in a way that helps make Blinds.com live up to its promise of being the best place to shop for blinds online. It’s a difficult thing to quantify, but my first week here has taught me one thing — it’s more than just windows.