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How BlueLabel Embraced The Future of Work Since Our Humble Beginnings: Meritocracy, Trust, and a Fully Remote Culture

Tanya Junell | July 15, 2022

One of the great things about being a fully remote company for 12 years is that our teams didn’t really have to change up much during the pandemic. 

Working in PJs and taking the dogs to the curb between meetings is par for the course for us here, and we would never have it any other way. 

As such, micro-managing was never an option in that scenario: that meant our teams needed to be made up of individuals that thrive within conditions of autonomy. 

We’d like to share how being an agency that always valued work quality over “time in the office” shaped our company culture and philosophy. 

Remote-First Rocks.

At BlueLabel, we’re fortunate to have developed a culture of trust, entrepreneurship, and meritocracy. This is not despite being geographically dispersed, but rather because we’ve been a completely remote organization since our inception.

In our early days, we worked with a lot of freelancers from around the world. We needed experts with very specific technology and design skill sets in order to tackle our most innovative projects.

We refused to let a freelancer’s location become a barrier to finding the right talent. These early hiring decisions helped influence and shape our culture in a profound way. Being “Remote-first” is now core to our organization’s identity.

remote work culture

Today, distributed teams can leverage tools like Slack, Miro, Figma, and Asana to assist in making a productive, collaborative work environment. But those amazing apps (our current faves) were not part of the remote team toolkit 12 years ago! 

Due to that fact we knew we needed to staff our fast-growing agency with self-motivated, fiercely independent talent that excelled at communicating and collaborating in a remote setting.

We have a great remote working environment (except when we don’t do our dishes) which is thanks to several components coming together over the years. By starting out as a wholly remote company 12 years ago – and sticking to it! – this has allowed us to work with a diverse group of people all over the world which has had a significant, positive impact on our culture. Here, we dig a little bit deeper and discuss how we’ve grown over the years as well as provide some insight as to what it’s like working at Blue Label Labs today.

Video chats are how we get stuff done.

Our teams have since grown like crazy, and we’re fortunate enough to be able to hold the occasional retreats and in-person quarterly meetings, often flying the whole crew to NYC for some R & R.

remote work culture

When we do physically get together, it’s for important stuff only.

Diverse Teams = Better Outcomes.

Having inclusive teams (that are always growing) provides our company with highly valued diverse perspectives. 

We’ve witnessed firsthand how diversity in action leads to more innovative solutions to product challenges and helps us all guardrail against unintended biases. 

We are committed to continuing to hire with an inclusivity and diversity mindset across all of our departments and leadership.

remote work culture

Passions, Applied.

We care deeply about each team member and are aware of their strengths and passions from the first day they work with us. 

It’s important to us that everyone at BlueLabel is supported for their unique strengths and recognized by the company and peers for exceptional contributions to the company and client goals. 

When pulling together project teams, we do so to deliberately give everyone a chance to shine by rocking their unique passions and skills. 

A thoughtful selection of project team members, coupled with a deep trust in everyone’s abilities and passion for the project itself, has proven to be a winning formula. 

The results are evident in our client’s startup success stories, featured App Store appearances, and recognition from the Webby Awards judges.

remote work culture

Encouraging Personal Evolution

As an innovative company, we are all constantly learning to stay abreast of emerging trends, technologies, and tools.

As our culture consists of passionate and entrepreneurial folks, we support continuous learning and aim to provide everyone with opportunities to put that knowledge into practice.

Everyone at BlueLabel is provided funding for course tuition and materials to further develop their strengths and passions.

We also provide personal time and work opportunities to apply what’s been learned.

remote work culture

Like when we learned that being good at ping pong makes you 23% percent less likely to open phishing emails, we worked together to git gud.

Nurturing growth is our way for leadership to organically emerge from our teams. We know that leadership is growing as individual contributors continue to evolve and take on more and more responsibility. 

One example is how our  VP of Product, Danny Deserto, joined us after first working with us to bring his chart-topping app, Bottle, to the market.

He started as our lead Product Designer and quickly added value across multiple products through his entrepreneurial spirit and strong business acumen. He now oversees the entire product organization at BlueLabel.

remote work culture

We also understand too that as each of us grows, sometimes team members must continue to grow outside of our organization. We are incredibly proud of the BlueLabel alumni that have continued on to found their own companies and make their mark on the world.

For example, Eran Dror, our former Head of Product (and Design Sprint advocate), founded Remake Labs. It’s an international Design Sprint company that hosts a wonderful podcast that has even featured Design Sprint creator, Jake Knapp.

Jesal Trivedi, employee #1 at BlueLabel nearly 9 years ago, was instrumental in creating BLL’s standard operating practices that have held up our company’s differentiation of approach to product design and development to this day. Jesal ventured off to found Aduri, a technology startup rethinking wellness, starting with meditation and mindfulness.

And our beloved former engineering manager, Henry Minden, is developing an exciting Web3 product, putting his expertise in crypto and NFTs into play.

Though we miss our alumni, we are always excited to support their journeys and evolution as they take on new entrepreneurial ventures. Their contributions to the company have helped us evolve as well, and we are always grateful for that!

We also create roles for exceptional contributors according to their strengths and previous contributions to client projects and the company’s growth. 

A good example of this is with our co-founders, Bobby and Jordan. Bobby formerly held the title of CEO but has always preferred working on the tech end whereas Jordan enjoys the CEO responsibilities.

Instead of forcing Bobby to do CEO things, he simply transitioned to a Chief Architect role where he can leverage his strengths as a distinguished engineer wherever he’s needed. Jordan, who’s more in touch with operations and everything needed to be effective in management, absorbed the CEO title and responsibilities.

We’ve created completely new roles around some team members whose skills and passions caused them to outgrow their current positions. This allows them to add value efficiently, with more influence within the company.

Such is the case with our Head of Innovation and Strategy, Product, Tanya Junell, who has evolved at BlueLabel from UX expert to Director of Product Management to this new role, as it’s where her product innovation chops can have the most impact. She most recently brought the Pre:Sprint framework to our service offerings. 

And we created the Director of Technical Solutions role for Bruce Morrison. Bruce is our most tenured employee at BLL. Over his 8 years at BLL he’s done everything from design, project management, game and app development, sales, and even marketing at BlueLabel.

Now in this role, he’s positioned as an invaluable asset to our clients with his deep expertise in business strategy and recommending the best tech stack for any product – because he’s seen it and gotten his hands dirty in it all.

In this meritocracy, everyone at BlueLabel can be moved up and into positions of leadership, influence, and opportunity over their time at the company on the basis of their demonstrated abilities and contributions.

We’re growing. Join us.

Does BlueLabel sound like the kind of company where you could thrive? 

For more info and to get in touch, check out our careers page!


Tanya Junell
+ posts

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