Hi There!

I hope you are enjoying your Wednesday. Welcome back to another episode of Ask Ash, where I ask WatchMojo Founder & CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan questions on various topics, ranging from what is going on in the news, to career advice for students & entrepreneurs.

Today, I wanted to talk about how culture impacts employee loyalty. About 20-25% of the current employees at WatchMojo have worked here for over 10 years. That is a significant amount of people! I was curious as to how culture has played a role in this, and how important is culture to Ash.

1. As about 20 percent of WatchMojo Employees have been with the company for at least 10 years, what are some skills/traits from those people that have made them successful?

We are 40+ full-time employees. We have 5 founders who have been with us for 15 years, and another 5 are 10+, so 10 out of 40 – or 25% – have been with the firm for 10+ years. But, at one point, after our 2016-18 WM2020 initiative where we expanded into 10 areas, we did get close to 60 people, and admittedly, not everyone and everything worked out.

So to answer your question re: “what are some skills/traits from those people that have made them successful,” I think 

a) Awareness: trends, opportunities, risks.

b) Adaptability: education, training, feedback.

c) Ability: professionalism, adeptness, pursuing jobs that you are adept at.

d) Appreciation: seizing the opportunity, meeting and surpassing expectations, gratitude vs expectations, giving back to other/younger recruits.

e) Altruism: selfish people have short shelf lives in any organization, be it sports teams, musical groups, or businesses. All of the success I’ve earned in my life comes from giving before taking.  

Some of the stars we have groomed were actually not firing on all cylinders early on… they struggled, they turned like a leaf in the wind… but I never personally believed in “hire slow, fire fast,” so we retained them and tried them in new roles, and eventually, it worked.

2. How are achievements celebrated at WatchMojo?

Personally, I don’t let it get to me, you have to block out the highs and lows… but to quote Michael Dell, it’s important to celebrate the small wins.

There are formal and informal / Official and Unofficial ways to 

I didn’t start AshMojo/WatchAsh (who’d watch that?), I purposely wanted to build a brand. There’s a certain amount of vanity required to go into media and storytelling. 

Of course, 

– Stat du Jour emails where we highlight milestones, 

– even during our monthly calls during Covid, we mention new hires, new product launches, project updates, etc.

– I also encourage the production team to highlight new writers/voice-over hosts etc.

As the founder/entrepreneur, I can be more team-minded, I understand that individuals may still need that personal validation… so it’s a balancing act to celebrate people but to maintain the peace and retain a harmonious environment, you always have to bring it back to the greater good.

People have egos, the trick is to have the right balance between ego, id, and superego, I presume.

3. Why is culture important? Is having a positive culture something important to you and WatchMojo?

There are a few clichés that I think make sense: one is “culture eats strategy.” That is somewhat accurate.

The other one is “culture is what you do when no one is watching.” I agree that it’s easy to grandstand for attention, but

Culture and Communications are part of a yin-yang,

– Culture is an output of communication, how and when you communicate is more important than what you say.

– But communication over time molds your culture.

Fifteen years ago when I started WatchMojo, and in fact eighteen years ago when I wrote Course To Success, I discussed all of the levers that today have become in vogue with regards to “conscious capitalism.” We did all of this early on and admittedly, it becomes harder when you grow. Zynga’s Mark Pincus noted that the culture changes at 150 people… but the reality is, it changes all the time. When we were 5-10 people, it was different than it was at 25, let alone 50 and so on.

The acid test is your team doing the right thing whether you are in the room or not. As a leader/founder, that is when you know you are successful.

Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash