Having joined Voxbone last December, I was just in time to be part of a stellar year for the company–2016 saw the launch of a new web portal, API and a developer program called The Workshop. But let’s give credit where it’s due. All signs point to a crazy-talented team of unconventional people who find solutions where others might not think to look.
At Voxbone, 2017 is being called “The Year of the Rebel.” From what I’ve seen so far, this means bringing in fresh perspectives to help customers handle incredibly complex and slow telecom processes, to make them more manageable on a global scale with updates in real time. Just because businesses have been doing telephony a certain way forever doesn’t mean it’s the best option. And the same goes for building a team.
In my first few weeks, I was struck by the number of languages being spoken at the Brussels headquarters. With more than 25 nationalities represented throughout the company–make that 26 with the latest recruit from Cambodia–I found that everyone had a unique story to tell, and they used all kinds of ways to get their voices heard.
With six offices around the world, Voxbone is driven by folks who really practice what they preach. They take part in intense collaboration across borders and in the cloud with popular software like Zoom and Slack, not to mention The Workshop’s own conferencing tool, VoxConf.Me. There isn’t a mandated platform around these parts, and so people use whatever they feel comfortable with to reach out, whether it’s on their laptop or through mobile.
While my coworkers certainly work hard to come up with better and faster communications solutions, they also know how to kick back. After hours you can find employees brewing their own tipple (it’s called Voxbeer, and it’s delicious), loosening up with an evening yoga class (I was not as limber as I had hoped) or jamming out on the company Fender for an impromptu singalong (it helps to have a Voxbeer first).
The company’s unofficial motto, which perhaps came out of the Austin office, is to “keep Voxbone weird.” Sure, you’ll find the tech industry clichés such as the ever-whirring coffee machines, an office scooter and international potlucks (though here it’s on a whole other level). But Voxbone breaks from convention where it counts. For one thing, this is far from an old boys club, with a much higher percentage of women on the team than is reported for big tech companies, particularly in managerial roles.
I asked our CEO, Itay, if this was all part of some plan for improving diversity at the workplace. Nope. This is what happens when your company takes the creative-thinking, rebel philosophy to heart and looks outside of the norm to generate unusual perspectives.
“Many companies have to push hard for more diversity in their workplace,” he says. “For us, it’s just the natural choice, because most people here love discovering new cultures. We’d have to work hard to un-diversify the company.”
At Voxbone, new products originate from unexpected places. As first-hand users of telecom services, each team will uncover issues within their own domain. So it’s not unheard of that the legal or finance department will come up with a product idea, or for R&D to pitch in to build a pilot and then let customers jump in to test it and provide feedback.
If there’s a problem worth solving, someone will speak up and know that they’ll be heard. I’d be remiss not to mention that Itay was up for a Manager of the Year award from the business magazine Trends earlier this month. I can confidently say that he and Voxbone were standouts among the nominees in terms of innovation.
Voxbone’s team of rebels don’t fit into the mold of what’s expected from the tech or telecoms industry. In an effort to make real change happen, these workers pay more attention to individual cultures and ideas than what might be expected of them as a company. And if breaking from the status quo is what it takes to come up with the best solutions and ideas, then I’ll do my part to keep Voxbone weird.