Distilled: Good to Great 4 Years Later

...or, Why We’re Hiring in London, New York and Seattle

Almost 4 years ago to the day Will wrote a post Distilled: good... to great?. In that post he made this quote:

“I don’t think we have anything like the momentum we want yet, but while we should continue spinning the flywheel as hard as we can, we also need to have some patience and remember that none of it is magic” - Will Critchlow 2007

Now, in 2011 it feels like the flywheel is starting to budge just a little. Here’s a slide charting Distilled’s growth taken from a recent presentation Will gave at our old school titled things I wish I’d known:

What Fuels Our Growth?

It’s simple, the thing that drives our growth is the people. We thoroughly believe the concept from Good to Great (US link, UK link) of getting the right people on the bus. Every single individual we bring on board has the hustle, ambition and drive to get things done. Above all else this has allowed us to constantly grow and achieve awesome things.

Are We Growing Too Fast?

Something we care strongly about at Distilled is ensuring that we don’t grow too fast. Sometimes I wonder about the external perception of Distilled as we continue to bring on new employees and even open new offices. How big is too big? How fast is too fast?

No one has the answers to these questions but I firmly believe that so long as we stay true to our core principles and so long as every single employee we hire is the right person for the bus we’re doing the right thing. So far as we’ve grown we’ve only seen our culture get stronger, employee collaboration increase and quality of output skyrocket.

Apparently running Distilled is serious business.



Necessary Changes To Deal With Growth

While we’re improving every single day there are necessary changes that need to happen as we grow. We’re not the same company we used to be. Here’s a sampling of things that have happened to enable us to level up:

Exec Leadership - As the company grows we needed to grow the leadership team to accommodate. We need to ensure we’re constantly pushing forward with big picture improvements and keeping on top of management tasks just as we grow teams to work hands-on with client projects and run events. Rob and myself have both stepped up into a formal exec team (kindly borrowed from the ‘mozzers) and this has enabled us to hold each other accountable for making Distilled more awesome every single day. (Note - we’re both still heavily involved with our Seattle and NYC teams day to day as well as working hands-on with SEO projects. Gotta keep the skills sharp.)

Rob - Stepping Up To The Plate

Self-replicating Teams - No, I’m not talking about skynet. As Rob and myself have stepped up into our exec roles this has opened up an opportunity for team leads to step up to the plate and provide some leadership for their individual teams. Every single one of our team leads has done a kick-ass job. I guess that’s why we hire good people all the time :) every time we push someone in the deep end they always seem to end up swimming....

Agile Chaos & Processes - Agile is awesome. But the bigger you grow the more you need to think about processes. I think we strike a very healthy balance of agile chaos within Distilled constantly balancing rigid structures and processes with the freedom for individuals to own problems and effect change both for clients and internally within Distilled (did I mention we have a robot of ownership as well as a duck of awesome?). We roll out processes as we need them and where we see an opportunity to turn the flywheel by putting it in place.

The Distilled Robot of Ownership


Communication Solves All Problems - When this phrase surfaced within Distilled and I first started living by this principle I had no idea how powerful it it. This single concept is like a guiding light that I turn to at all times, like a mantra that constantly goes round and round in my head. As we’ve grown and as we’ve opened up the NYC office we have the need to communicate MORE not less. The level of communication within Distilled is mind blowing and often solves problems before they’re even problems.

A Culture of Education - Working in this industry forces us to adapt and change all the time and integral to that is a culture of learning and teaching. Everyone within Distilled is both the student and the teacher. This spills over often into external education (via webinars, guides, conferences, white papers and blog posts) but it’s all motivated by a desire to learn and teach. As we grow we have recognised the need for more formal teaching and training and personal development is something we are investing heavily in right now. Watch this space for announcements about something we’re very excited about - DistilledU....

Defining Mission & Vision - As we grow it’s imperative that everyone has something to believe in and that it’s clearly communicated to the entire company. We’ve been spending time and energy recently both defining our mission and vision and ensuring that we communicate it effectively to everyone. This is a constant work in progress but will help shape the future of Distilled and should give us great benefits as we help everyone move in the same direction and turn one single massive flywheel.

Why I Work At Distilled

Here are some of the reasons that I work at Distilled:

  • Not your average 9-5 job. Flexible hours, flexible work code. Meme training as standard.
  • Challenges every day. You’re expected and required to excel at your role. Whatever that might be.
  • Opportunity. We are a well known brand in the industry, host our own conferences and blog all over the place but there are also internal opportunities arising every day for people to take ownership of.
  • We are Distilled. The company is shaped by every single employee. Everyone’s voice is important and listened to.
  • Culture. I get to work with my friends.

All of these reasons extend to everyone within the company. I greatly value building teams that adhere to the “Distilled way” and somehow we’ve built a company that I believe in. Hopefully you will too.

We talk a bit more about reasons why you might want to work for us on our jobs page and you might want to check out our page on culture too.

Gratuitious cake image to make you want to work here. The cake is a lie. Only it's not - this is a real cake!


Distilled Are Hiring in London, New York and Seattle

Ok thanks for sticking with me. Now onto the good stuff. We’re hiring in all three offices so whether you’re in the UK or the US we have opportunities for you. We’re hiring for experience, we’re hiring n00bs, we’re hiring SEOs, we’re hiring developers. We have something to offer everyone :)

London

Lead SEO Consultant - London

We’re looking an experienced SEO consultant to join our London team

Front End Developer - London

Distilled are looking for a front end designer/ developer to join our team.

Executive Assistant - London

Distilled requires an ambitious, pro-active Executive Assistant to provide support to the two directors of the company.

Finance Manager - London

We’re seeking a Finance Manager to cover a 9 month maternity leave.

New York

Experienced SEO Consultant

Distilled is growing in New York and is looking for SEO consultants to be the backbone of the new office. If you are fricking smart with an uncanny knack of getting shit done then you will fit in just great.

Seattle

SEO Consultants - Seattle

We’re looking for more people to join the SEO team here in Seattle: if you’re proud to be super smart and have an impressive ability to get things done, then you’re our ideal candidate.

Search Marketers - Seattle

Do you want to join our Outreach Team in Seattle? We’re looking for smart, outgoing people who ‘get’ the internet. Experience not necessarily required.

(Note: while we’d love to hire people from all over the world we have found obtaining visas difficult in the past - we have openings in the UK and US so please apply to the relevant location and only if you are qualified to work in that country. Thanks!)

So what are you waiting for? I’m looking forward to working with you and making the next 6 years kick ass just as much as the first 6.

Get blog posts via email

6 Comments

  1. Enjoyed reading this post. Have a question though: whats on the y axis of the chart?
    Also couldn't find a search box anywhere on the site. Was trying to look for a post about how you guys started out and became so big and powerful :). Tried Google as well but too much irrelevant results for my querys. Was looking for a bit more than the about page.
    I'm mainly interested in the challenges and difficulties you guys had in the early days and lessons learnd by overcoming them. Care to share or point me to those posts?
    Thanks in advance.

    reply >
  2. Tom Critchlow

    Hi Aron,

    I'm not sure there's a particularly great place to start but you could try digging through the old posts from Will and Duncan from the early days:

    https://www.distilled.net/blog/author/duncan-morris/
    https://www.distilled.net/blog/author/will-critchlow/

    Lots of good old posts in there about the beginnings of the company!

    reply >
  3. I particularly liked the bit about meme training as standard. Think I'm going to petition to have that where I work.

    Also, I think we are lucky in this industry that the big names are so open because it really does help SEO n00bs like myself get a real understanding of how to do real SEO.

    Cheers.

    reply >
  4. Hey guys - its been a pleasure watching Distilled grow - and yes it could of been easy to stop where you were in 2006, but look at what's happened!
    Look forward to seeing Distilled grow and yes if I wasn't client side I'd definately have applied to work at Distilled by now!

    reply >
  5. Will Critchlow

    @Aron: The y-axis of that chart is revenue - with numbers left off (I think they're disclosed elsewhere but I didn't want to scare the teenagers!).

    Thanks for writing this Tom - it's pretty cool to look at what we've done, huh?

    It's also cool working with you and Rob on the exec stuff recently :)

    reply >
  6. Great opportunity and great progress you've had!
    Working for distilled would be a dream job!

    reply >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>