Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Building a Successful Company: Insights from Ken Babcock, Co-founder and CEO of Tango

Leaders Perception Magazine is currently running an interview series called – Building a Successful Remote Work Culture: Discussing strategies and best practices for fostering a productive and engaged remote workforce, addressing topics like communication, collaboration tools, work-life balance, and employee well-being

Interviewee Name: Ken Babcock

Company: Tango

Position: Co-founder & CEO

Linkedin Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kenbabcock/

Ken Babcock’s favorite quote: “ The company you build is not the plan you build. The company you build is the team you build.

We delve into the experiences and wisdom of Ken Babcock, the Co-founder and CEO of Tango, a platform that enables users to create step-by-step how-to guides effortlessly. Together with his co-founders, Ken dropped out of Harvard Business School during the pandemic to start Tango, which has since grown to serve over 350,000 users with a team of 40 full-time members. Tango has received recognition for its innovative approach, earning top rankings on Product Hunt and accolades from Fast Company and Google.

Ken emphasizes several key tactics for effective communication and collaboration within the company. Documenting processes ensures redundancy and smooth operations when team members are out of the office. Proactively blocking calendar time for personal and family commitments helps maintain work-life balance. Working outside the home, such as in coffee shops or co-working spaces, provides a change of environment and boosts productivity. Leveraging Slack or Teams statuses to indicate availability and setting team-wide focus days, like “No Meeting Thursdays,” create dedicated time for focused work.

Furthermore, Ken encourages bringing more of one’s personal life into work conversations, fostering a sense of connection and camaraderie among team members.

Ken’s profound insight reminds us that the success of a company lies not only in the business plan but, more importantly, in the team that builds it.

The Interview

Thank you so much for joining us today! Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your backstory?

Ken Babcock : Ken Babcock is the Co-founder and CEO of Tango, which allows users to create step-by-step how-to guides with perfectly cropped screenshots, in seconds. Ken, along with his co-founders Brian Shultz and Dan Giovacchini, dropped out of Harvard Business School during the pandemic to start the company.Since then, the company has grown to over 350,000 users and 40 full-time team members. Tango’s launch on Product Hunt in September 2021 earned many accolades: #1 Product of the Day, #1 Product of the Week, and one of four finalists for Product Hunt’s Product of the Year. More recently, Tango was recognized by Fast Company in their 2022 Next Big Things in Tech issue and by Google as one of twelve of their favorite Chrome Extensions of 2022. Tango is backed by Tiger Global Management, Slack Fund, Salesforce Ventures, Atlassian Ventures, Wing VC, GSV, General Catalyst, Red Sea Ventures, and Outsiders Fund. Prior to HBS, Ken spent most of his career in the Bay Area at Uber, where he held roles in Launch Operations, Data Science, and Product Strategy from 2014 to 2018. Ken holds a Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, where he met his wife, Colleen. Together they live in the Chicagoland area with their Havanese poodle mix, Balboa, and son, Quinn. Ken’s an avid skier, Bill Simmons listener, and chicken wing enthusiast.

How do you ensure effective communication and collaboration among remote team members? Can you share any specific tools or practices that have been particularly effective for your organization?

Ken Babcock : The World Economic Forum did a feature on our communication and collaboration tactics: https://twitter.com/wef/status/1585270150223302656?s=20

Maintaining work-life balance can be challenging in a remote work environment. What strategies do you recommend for remote employees to create boundaries between work and personal life? How can organizations support their employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance?

Ken Babcock : I’ll keep this brief and tactical:
– Documenting processes to ensure redundancy when OOO
– Proactively blocking calendar time for OOO, focus, and family commitments
– Finding opportunities to work outside the home, whether in coffee shops or co-working spaces
– Utilizing Slack/Teams statuses to indicate when you’re reachable, and when you aren’t
– Create a team-wide focus day (“No Meeting Thursdays”)
– Encourage people to bring more of their life into work conversation

Leaders Perception Magazine would like to thank Ken Babcock and Tango for the time dedicated to completing this interview and sharing their valuable insights with our readers!

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