A Peek Behind the Curtain: The Inspiring Values That Drive Our Unique Culture
Arif and I were Day 1 into our journey at Komodo. Before we even got to work on our business plan, fundraise deck, or product requirements document, we thought deeply about what kind of company we wanted to build. We knew that our culture would be the foundation for our organization, and that a powerful mission would inspire the most talented people to sign up to be a part of what we were building. The output would become our Komodo Values.
As we close out 2019 and reflect on five years of building and scaling Komodo Health, I’m constantly reminded that nothing we do is possible without the insanely talented group of people who choose to dedicate their time every day in support of our mission. I couldn’t be more proud to close the year with over 200 brilliant, intellectually curious, humble, hard-working, and passionate “dragons” who embody our core values. These values guide all of us daily in our mission to reduce the burden of disease.
When we founded the company in 2014, Arif and I envisioned a brand new business model: a verticalized, end-to-end offering encompassing everything from raw data and analytics, to the end products that clients need and would use daily in their efforts to transform healthcare. At the same time, we knew it would be equally important to create a business culture guided by core values that truly resonate across the organization amid rapid growth and evolution. The values inspired us then and they continue to attract, motivate, and guide the team in our journey today.
Our values are at the heart of the growth we’ve achieved this past year, for example:
- We started 2019 with 100 dragons and are closing the year with more than 200;
- We introduced two new SaaS products in the first half of the year while accelerating feature velocity for our flagship, first insights product, Aperture;
- We more than doubled our client base to nearly 70 customers across life sciences, payers, patient advocacy, government and provider organizations;
- We grew revenue by more than 100% YoY for the fourth consecutive year
None of these successes would be possible without the dedicated, mission-driven team that lives our values each day.
These are our values:
Being awesome means always being present and respecting your colleagues. It means fostering trusted relationships with the team. We encourage our dragons to be creative, resourceful, passionate, positive, and accountable. To have integrity. To be open, honest and humble. As part of that humility, we embrace rigorous debate that’s constructive and advances progress towards our mission. At every level we encourage team members to constantly challenge the status quo.
The word “humility” isn’t typically associated with building a business, but we believe it’s crucial to realize our ambitions. If you think you have all the answers, you approach problems with a biased, myopic view. We recognize that healthcare is hard, and humility is what unlocks the intellectual curiosity required to tackle the industry’s challenges. New dragons join our team from a variety of backgrounds both inside and outside of healthcare, but they share a recognition that there is a lot to learn. This orientation around intellectual curiosity and focus on continuous learning permeates Komodo’s culture, and the result is an organization that approaches big problems from a point of view that is open to new ideas and solutions. That’s the Komodo growth mindset in action.
Enjoy the Ride
The work we do at Komodo Health is a marathon, not a sprint, and we want our teams to enjoy the journey. Dragons are motivated by our mission to reduce the burden of disease, which creates a sense of shared purpose. For example, many of our engineers have deep backgrounds in different sectors, including fintech, adtech, and others. They are leaders in their respective fields, but many did not feel fulfilled at their previous jobs. Here at Komodo Health, they are inspired by our mission and goals — and it’s exciting, gratifying, and humbling to see the passion with which they tackle our challenges.
Balance is important. We all have our own lives, and they come first. Many of us have seen our families grow right alongside the growth of the company. So we help each other; we empathize with each other; we encourage one another to put family first.
Our team strives to consistently exceed expectations. The importance of our mission is a big motivator to build innovative solutions that create exceptional value. We focus on outcomes and we don’t accept the status quo. We constantly think about how we can work smarter. How we can work together to achieve our shared goals. It is ingrained in our company DNA to ask: is there a better way, as the goal is to “deliver wow” in everything we do.
Everything starts with the people
Five years into our journey, we continue to nurture and evolve the values as we grow, making them a central part of the experience of being a dragon. We encourage our team members to live a healthy, balanced life, and provide a wellness stipend that can be invested into anything that helps nurture the mind or body. We cater lunches, enjoy occasional after-hours get-togethers, and give back to our local communities regularly. And, once a year, all dragons meet in a central location to attend a week-long, company-wide retreat; at “Komodo Week” we boldly plan for the future with conviction, find the most innovative ways to reach our goals, and invest in our people.
You start with the people and the culture, and you reinforce it through everything you do. Our values aren’t a poster hung on a wall that people forget. Our values are constantly cited in everything we do from our All Hands meetings where we celebrate the way we live our values, to performance reviews where alignment with Komodo Values is a critical part of the review process. Here at Komodo Health we look at each individual and how they model our values to others: are they smart, collaborative, humble, curious, and great to work with? The caliber of the people at Komodo is off the charts; we’ve found some of the smartest, most intellectually curious, most hard-working, most humble people I could ever imagine working alongside.
We have a philosophy: One Komodo. We all live in service to one another and our values in order to drive towards our mission. Dragons lift each other up. We help each other be successful. It’s easy to be excited about that, and it’s what makes me excited to come into the office every day. It’s also what gives me enormous confidence that the future is incredibly bright for Komodo, as we’ve managed to scale our culture to 200+ and will continue to do so as we aim for our ambitious 2020 goals (and beyond!).
So as we close out 2019 and head into continued growth in 2020, the Komodo team gives me an incredible sense of pride and optimism. We embrace these values. That says everything about who we are and where we want to be. That is Komodo Health.