In the past week Fast Company has featured two companies I work with, namely Kimono Labs and Spire. Both are big data companies that do things differently. FastCo tells the story of Pratap Ranade and Ryan Rowe taking their company of a dozen people to Japan for a month to team build, and act as a forcing function for focus. In the article "What Happens When you Move your Company Overseas for a Month," author Jen Liberto highlights how enabling both extroverts and introverts is important, as is going to a foreign locale with language differentiation. The experience acts as a forcing function to really drive team engagement around a set of problems.
In a second article, Fast Company author Liberto talks about Spire CEO Peter Platzer, and how he's perfected the ability to coach smart employees through down times, rather than letting them go. In the article, "Meet the CEO Who's Never Fired Anyone," she discusses how in two years Platzer has launched satellites, raised $25 million dollars, and never fired anyone. Spire is building its big data platform using nano-satellites, and applying the raw data and analysis to problems as wide as financial services, international logistics, weather data, and asset tracking.