The rise of White October

 

 

Testimonial

You may have noticed that I use a testimonial that I received from the managing director of my former employer, White October, a UK web agency, based in Oxford…

“Ed transformed our company and the way that we work…The quality of our work shot up; our relationships with our clients became closer and more constructive; our planning became easier and more realistic.”

— Dave Fletcher, White October

Ten years of WO

White October started in 2003, so this year marks the 10th anniversary of the company. I recently came across the interview that I embedded above that Dave did for BBC Radio Oxford, last month.

Since I left two years ago, White October’s doubled the number of employees,  won an award, started not one but two tech conferences (jQuery UK and the brilliantly names All Your Base), and helped foster the web community in Oxford. Sounds like they are really going from strength to strength.

You might find the interview interesting to hear how he started up the business (from his bedroom) and some tips about how he grew to where he is today.

Dave Fletcher and I


Dave was kind enough to say lots of nice things about me, so I’m not sure why I’m pulling such funny face in the photo of us.

Obviously, WO’s success is mainly due to Dave’s hard work and business acumen; building a great culture, getting great people, and finding stimulating work that sustains all of this. However, I like to claim a little bit of the credit for their continued success, even though I was only with WO for a year and a half out of their ten years 🙂

I’m really pleased to say that later in the year, on an trip back to the UK, I’m going to stop in and provide a bit of agile/lean training for my former colleagues and more recent arrivals. I’m really looking forward to seeing how the company has grown, and to inhabiting my old haunts in Oxford!

Net Promoter score

I was thinking about Net Promoter scores today because of Bernd’s video from LAST Conference about the Net Promoter System for Agile Companies (link below), the NPS data we collected from LAST Conference, and also because the training session that Neil and Craig’s ran yesterday got a pleasing NPS. I was glad to hear this news, because it was the first training day in my new Guerrilla Training series.

What is Net Promoter®?

To recap, NPS is a method for gauging peoples’ satisfaction with a product, service, activity etc. You ask people the question, “How likely are you to recommend our company/product/service to your friends and colleagues?” Most commonly asking for a number between 0 and 10, with 0 being not likely at all, and 10 being definitely. Those that respond with 9 or 10, are Promoters, those who respond with 6 or lower are Detractors.

The score is worked out by subtracting the % of Detractors from the % of Promoters, to give a number between -100 (everyone is a Detractor) to +100 (everyone is a Promoter). A score of +50 or above is considered to be pretty good, according to the Wiki that knows.

You would commonly ask a second, open ended question asking why people gave their score, so that you can identify what you’ve done well and what can be targeted for improvement.

An example that I’m proud of, can be seen in the embedded tweet at the top of this post. It’s one of the responses from a Product Inception workshop that I co-facilitated with Cheryl, a couple of months ago. I was pretty happy with an overall Net Promoter score of 76.9!

I think Net Promoter is generally a pretty useful tool to use on a variety of things. What do you think?

Further reading/watching

Net Promoter on Wikipedia

Video of Bernd’s Net Promoter System for Agile Companies talk at LAST Conference.

Official Net Promoter website.