PhocusWire has been operating for two months and, after a hugely successful launchpad at The Phocuswright Conference in November last year, we're finding our rhythm as a news operation.
We are part of the hugely respected and 20-year-old Phocuswright family, yet PhocusWire is essentially a new collection of people with very different day-to-day processes and goals from our comrades running an established events and research company.
Part of my plan for getting us up to speed as a media brand is also developing and nurturing a culture - something that is an inherently easier process when the vast majority of employees have the opportunity to hang out, make tea together, talk about the
previous night's TV or the news, have water cooler moments, and generally see one another for eight hours+ across their respective desks every day.
When a group of people is scattered in different cities and countries, building a team (indeed, team-building) is harder as your interactions are often scheduled, and almost exclusively via different forms of digital communications.
Chat service Slack obviously helps enormously, as do our regular video calls on Skype, as we get to know one another at the same time as working on stories and working out how to grow the brand.
When you have a spare moment...
There are numerous tips from HR gurus about how to create a team spirit when many of the people in a company are working remotely (only Jill Menze and Walter Buschta work in the same office in New York City).
But one that I haven't seen before is focusing on the love of music. It can bind us or it can show our differences as people, depending on taste or age or background.
Cue a cunning plan...
Inevitably, one of the biggest talking points within our fledgling team and some of our fantastic helpers from Phocuswright and Northstar Travel Group came recently when I set them a task of compiling a Spotify playlist of 15 songs.
They were asked to select songs that mean a lot to them - songs from their childhood, songs that trigger happy memories, songs that they love, etc.
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It's been fascinating to read and listen to the discussions (and caveats - "don't judge me!"), but if nothing else the exercise has given us some fun, virtual water cooler moments that will, in some way, give us a chance to understand more about each
Perhaps remarkably, they all agreed that we should share our PhocusWire Playlists with readers. See below, each of the Spotify Playlists for your enjoyment.
PS - And remember, don't judge them : )
Walter Buschta (vice president of marketing - U.S.A.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link
Gill Huntoon (senior manager, business technology - U.S.A.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link
Eric Leitman (systems analyst - U.S.A.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link
Kevin May (editor in chief - U.K.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link
Jill Menze (news editor - U.S.A.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link
Mitra Sorrells (senior reporter - U.S.A.) - direct PhocusWire Playlist link