God has blessed us with an incredible toolkit, agreed?
Speaking specifically in terms of the web, we have an amazing set of tools, applications, and web services that make it incredibly easy to communicate and maintain robust relationships with people half-way across the world.
But it’s just not enough, especially when you’re trying to change the world…
Of Teammates and Talent
The 8BIT Team engages almost exclusively in a virtual environment built on web services and web apps. And we’ve done a good job so far of creating a culture that keeps productivity high despite living in an environment of absolute chaos and distraction.
I marvel at times at how productive we can be despite everything that’s really stacked up against us. But we manage it well and I consider the people on our team to be more than colleagues – I call them friends.
[We spend a lot of time just having fun and not just doing “business”]
One of the most fascinating things about our team, though, is how distinctly different each one of us are. Personality-wise we couldn’t be a more disparate. True, we’re all geeks in some form and/or fashion and true, we all have a very strange sense of humor (perhaps myself the most of the bunch) but God has created us each in very a unique way.
And perhaps it’s our diversity which makes us more effective in the long-run. Each of us brings something different to the table with strengths that we seek to capitalize on and weaknesses that are being transformed or managed well. Our goal, as an organization, is to help find the “sweet spot” and then perform through it and against it day-in and day-out.
We’re an imperfect team attempting to execute perfectly (or at least try to) and we even manage to have a little fun while we’re at it.
Of Tools and Technology
And yet despite the tools and technologies that are sometimes too close for comfort we now instinctively that it’s not enough to create a real team.
Sure, we function just fine with tasks, projects, and the many other products that we’re seeking to create, but it just isn’t the same thing as sitting down in the same place, drinking coffee and programming.
So for the first time ever we we’re all able to gather together physically in the same time and space for a meal:
[What a bunch of socially-awkward technophiles!]
Philosophically-speaking, we believe that regardless of how good technology becomes at connecting people it’s just not like the real thing and that it’s simply a shadow of what a true team is all about.
And that’s the point anyways: The 8BIT Network seeks to provide valuable content and resources for the Church so that they can do what they are doing but better, which means reaching people for Christ in the physical world.
We love technology but we love our team that uses the technology more.
Of Trust and Transparency
One of the key ingredients to our continued productivity and hopeful success is keeping trust the backbone and currency of our business.
Technology can fool you into believing that you’re more productive than you actually are and more effective than you’ll really ever be. You can even fool your teammates into believing that you’re somehow contributing to the team (and society in general) while all you’re really doing is tweeting stupid things and aimlessly mining Youtube for the funniest #FAIL video.
[Showcasing our different mobile handsets of choice…]
Technology is worthless in a team environment unless it helps us stay transparent and accountable as a team. We’re not about “looking over each other’s shoulders” at all – we’re about staying focused and effective with the very limited time and resources that we have.
And our physical gatherings help reinforce this ideal and help draw us closer as a team so that when time, location, and gigabytes separate us we’ll stay just as focused and connected as ever.
Of Teaching and Truth
One of the greatest things about this particular team and the culture we’re developing is our decision to spend a lot of our time growing together as a team in wisdom, truth, and love.
I literally stole this idea from @AndyStanley and how he leads his Leadership Team but as we meet weekly we spend a good deal of time discussing a book that we’re going through together.
Currently we’re alternating between a “spiritual” book and then a business book. For example, the first book that we went through together was “Choosing to Cheat” which helped us orient ourselves in terms of where spend our time and our priorities.
[Intern Kyle serves the team coffee… for the first time ever!]
We would spend a large portion of our meeting discussing chapters of the book with teammates taking turns leading the conversations. We’re now working through a business book “ReWork” and when finished we’ll choose another personal-development-esque book as a team.
I love how we do this and how we’re spending time developing ourselves personally instead of just “building things” because we can. I personally believe that the things that we create are extensions of who we are as people, sometimes explicitly and sometimes less so.
I want our team to be amazing people spiritually and not just people who build products.
Of Time and Team
We’re definitely not a perfect team and I never want to be one.
In fact, I think we keep our creative edge by rejoicing strategically in our shortcomings and it helps keep our pride in check with our successes knowing that it’s God that’s working through us and not some cosmic grouping of talented entrepreneurs.
We’ve got tons of time to do great things and we’ve got tons of more time to learn from our mistakes. And thankfully I’ve got a team to do walk and do all of this with.