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SQUARESPACE:
CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO
COMMUNICATIO
N
BY JACOB A. MCGINNIS
INTRO
• This is a picture of Squarespace’s founder and
CEO, Anthony Casalena.
• This is a link to a video containing Jeff
...
SUMMARY
• Squarespace is a smaller sized company headquartered
in New York City that specializes in software
development p...
ABOUT SQUARESPACE
• Squarespace is a Small to Medium Sized Enterprise
(SME) consisting of only 580 employees.
• The Square...
ABOUT SQUARESPACE
• Squarespace has made Crain’s list of best places to work
in New York City every year since 2012.
• Squ...
DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG
CULTURES: VALUES
• In 1982, Deal and Kennedy developed what they called “the
principles of stron...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Be Your Own Customer: This company value references
the fact I presented earlier that Squarespace emp...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Empower Individuals: Squarespace is essentially a small
business for small businesses. This means tha...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Design Is Not A Luxury: Similar to Steve Jobs’ vision for
Apple, Squarespace places a high value on t...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Good Work Takes Time: As a company, Squarespace
understands that for projects to get done well, they ...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Optimize Towards Ideals: Although this value may seem as
though it is mere corporate jargon, the inte...
SQUARESPACE VALUES
• Simplify: Peters and Waterman mention that “Excellent
organizations avoid complex structures and divi...
DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG
CULTURES: HEROES
• Anthony Casalena, Squarespace’s founder and CEO, is
the most obviously identi...
DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG
CULTURES: RITES AND RITUALS
• Similar to Zappos, Squarespace holds “all hands”
meetings once a m...
DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG CULTURES:
COMMUNICATION NETWORK
• As mentioned previously, Squarespace holds monthly
“all hands”...
PUTTING A FINGER ON IT
• Although it is apparent that corporate cultures are
complex systems, and that there may in fact b...
WRAPPING UP
• Squarespace is an SME headquartered in New York City
that focuses on software development and web design.
• ...
QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS
• Would Squarespace function better as a large company, or is its size
intentional?
• Does Squarespa...
QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS
• Although this may seem like a trivial suggestion, perhaps
adding a small amount of vibrant color t...
WORKS CITED
• https://www.squarespace.com/about/careers
• https://www.squarespace.com/about/company/
• https://www.squares...
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Squarespace: Cultural Approaches to Communication

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In this presentation, I talk about how Squarespace meets all four of Deal and Kennedy's Principles of Strong Cultures.

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Squarespace: Cultural Approaches to Communication

  1. 1. SQUARESPACE: CULTURAL APPROACHES TO COMMUNICATIO N BY JACOB A. MCGINNIS
  2. 2. INTRO • This is a picture of Squarespace’s founder and CEO, Anthony Casalena. • This is a link to a video containing Jeff Bridges talking about how he used Squarespace to market his Sleeping Tapes album: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKIlfLRe Hyo
  3. 3. SUMMARY • Squarespace is a smaller sized company headquartered in New York City that specializes in software development pertaining to website design and maintenance for individuals and small businesses. • Squarespace’s strong customer support and passionate drive for excellent design have won them accolades for years. • According to Deal and Kennedy, Squarespace has all of the elements of a strong company culture.
  4. 4. ABOUT SQUARESPACE • Squarespace is a Small to Medium Sized Enterprise (SME) consisting of only 580 employees. • The Squarespace software was invented in 2004 by CEO Anthony Casalena in his dorm, because he wanted to build his own website, but was unimpressed with the services provided by existing website-building software corporations. • Squarespace is headquartered in New York City, with offices in Portland and Dublin, Ireland.
  5. 5. ABOUT SQUARESPACE • Squarespace has made Crain’s list of best places to work in New York City every year since 2012. • Squarespace was listed among Fortune’s 100 best workplaces for millennials in 2015. • Squarespace employees use Squarespace to do their work. For example, the Squarespace official website was built and is managed using Squarespace, with the idea that it creates a better connection to the client to have employees using the service they build and supply.
  6. 6. DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG CULTURES: VALUES • In 1982, Deal and Kennedy developed what they called “the principles of strong cultures”, which include values, heroes, rites and rituals, and a cultural network. • Squarespace’s values as listed on their official website are: • Be Your Own Customer • Empower Individuals • Design is Not a Luxury • Good Work Takes Time • Optimize Towards Ideals • Simplify
  7. 7. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Be Your Own Customer: This company value references the fact I presented earlier that Squarespace employees use Squarespace to do their work. This makes it much easier for Squarespace to get and stay close to the customer. • This also means that issues apparent in the software may be fixed before they are reported by customers, allowing employees to spot bugs in the system ahead of time because they constantly use it.
  8. 8. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Empower Individuals: Squarespace is essentially a small business for small businesses. This means that artists, journalists, photographers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and all other types of innovators who either work for themselves or are trying to start a business or creative project are enabled and empowered to build their online presence easily with Squarespace. • https://youtu.be/P5HyaCFr-Qs
  9. 9. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Design Is Not A Luxury: Similar to Steve Jobs’ vision for Apple, Squarespace places a high value on the visual aspect of their product, going to great lengths to make the website templates they provide beautiful, simple, and professional. • For example, the pop rock band Walk the Moon used Squarespace to create their website: http://www.walkthemoonband.com/
  10. 10. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Good Work Takes Time: As a company, Squarespace understands that for projects to get done well, they must take time, which means that they as a corporate culture would rather take a long time to release a new feature, template, product, etc. than release it quickly and not be proud of it. • To make sure the company stays in focus, however, and doesn’t completely lose track of time, Squarespace holds monthly “all hands” meetings. More on this later.
  11. 11. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Optimize Towards Ideals: Although this value may seem as though it is mere corporate jargon, the intention behind this phrase is that Squarespace makes their decisions based on their values and ideals. • To go further, this means that Squarespace could, hypothetically, reach the end of a month, look over their financial progress as a business, and consider the month a failure even if they increased profit margins if they felt they didn’t properly execute their values and ideals. • Squarespace believes their success in the market comes from executing their values and ideals, not merely pushing to meet financial goals.
  12. 12. SQUARESPACE VALUES • Simplify: Peters and Waterman mention that “Excellent organizations avoid complex structures and divisions of labor.” • Squarespace’s offices reflect this value through a minimalist layout: https://www.squarespace.com/about/company/ • Since Squarespace is such a small company, simplicity in communication networks comes easily. For example, there are only 10 departments in the organization; Customer Operations, Communications, Design, Engineering, Finance, Media and Acquisition, People, Product, Strategy, and University.
  13. 13. DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG CULTURES: HEROES • Anthony Casalena, Squarespace’s founder and CEO, is the most obviously identifiable “hero” at Squarespace, as he was the company’s only engineer, designer, and support representative in its early years. • Although Squarespace has grown large enough for Casalena to have to hand off many of his responsibilities to other people, he remains directly involved with the engineering, design, and product teams.
  14. 14. DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG CULTURES: RITES AND RITUALS • Similar to Zappos, Squarespace holds “all hands” meetings once a month to celebrate victories, inform employees on important updates, and welcome new team members. • These meetings feature guest speakers, such as Neil Degrasse Tyson, Jeff Bridges, and other prominent industry leaders from diverse fields.
  15. 15. DEAL AND KENNEDY’S STRONG CULTURES: COMMUNICATION NETWORK • As mentioned previously, Squarespace holds monthly “all hands” meetings. This is an example of a formal communication network. • Squarespace’s offices have lounges specifically for the purpose of collaboration, so that employees have places to go other than their desks to do their work. These lounges encourage an open, informal communication network.
  16. 16. PUTTING A FINGER ON IT • Although it is apparent that corporate cultures are complex systems, and that there may in fact be several subcultures within the larger corporate culture overall, Squarespace’s company “style”, or at least what they want the public to view them as, is incredibly hipster. • Just as Zappos is “fun and weird”, Squarespace is “cool and unique.” This general feel can be observed from their daily catered gourmet meals, pantries stocked with whole foods, and their company blog posts about attending indie folk festivals.
  17. 17. WRAPPING UP • Squarespace is an SME headquartered in New York City that focuses on software development and web design. • Squarespace meets all four of Deal and Kennedy’s principles of strong cultures by putting people first, demanding excellence, and balancing employee autonomy and a clear direction for the future based on company values and ideals.
  18. 18. QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS • Would Squarespace function better as a large company, or is its size intentional? • Does Squarespace’s CEO Anthony Casalena have a protégé‘, or someone to hand the company to if his health fails? Would Squarespace be able to function properly if Casalena were not around? • How does Squarespace maintain simultaneous loose-tight properties? Freedom is given to employees to work autonomously, but they still report directly to their team lead who reports to the manager who reports to the CEO or department director. Is this kind of hierarchy necessary? Why or why not? • In the event of a zombie apocalypse, how would Squarespace function as a mini-society struggling to survive? What would the group dynamics look like? Would everyone panic, scatter, and die, or pull together to wait it out?
  19. 19. QUESTIONS/SUGGESTIONS • Although this may seem like a trivial suggestion, perhaps adding a small amount of vibrant color to the offices would accent the creativity the company wishes to express. • Bonding Time: Although I understand that Squarespace is a professional organization, I was sad to see such few cases of company outings. I found several blog posts about attending an indie folk festival, which would indicate that the teams do meet outside of work occasionally, but I believe that more company outings will create closeness within the company, which will in turn directly and positively effect productivity, because people tend to do better work in teams of people they know and enjoy the company of.
  20. 20. WORKS CITED • https://www.squarespace.com/about/careers • https://www.squarespace.com/about/company/ • https://www.squarespace.com/about/values/ • https://www.themuse.com/companies/squarespace/offic e • https://blog.squarespace.com/?category=culture • Entis, Laura (06/22/2015), retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247417

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