Backing our staff and their ideas
by Robert Arnold
We all have brilliant ideas … or at least we think we do. But ideas often don’t get implemented for all sorts of reasons. One of the reasons given is that we have full-time jobs that can get in the way. But what if your boss encouraged you to share ideas and offered you the chance to set up a new business with the company as your business partner and investor? That’s exactly what we do at Clock.
We are proud of our culture and talented staff. We have many benefits to encourage the right mix of work and play. One of the less obvious benefits is that we have always been a promoter of staff and their ideas.
Most companies write into their contracts, that work they produce, or ideas that they have, are properties/IP owned by the company they work for, and therefore they do not always give that much respect to the original staff member(s) themselves. We can understand why this happens - to protect businesses from malicious activity or to keep the team focussed.
That old-school mindset can discourage staff from sharing ideas or incite their resignation in order to pursue their idea. But, more likely, the idea dies and everyone loses. We can understand why this happens at some level, but we also think there is a better way.
Clock pioneered a number of simple benefits in our early days - we’re 21 years old this year, and that’s a long time for a digital agency. Our founder, Syd Nadim, decided early on that anyone at the business could host their projects with Clock for free. And we’ve gone way, way further since that early, and appreciated, benefit was added.
We’re determined to help staff be the best they can be. That can mean assisting them to solely concentrate on their idea/startup, or allowing them the headspace and time at Clock to do the same, whilst still meeting our own company objectives.
We have helped fund new businesses in the early days, taken non-exec roles to help with governance and experience, and often taken shares in exchange via sweat or cash equity. Whatever works best. It’s a different mix and setup almost every time.
We can help with contracts, legals, trademarks, advice, development, hosting, marketing, designs, costs. You name it - we’ve probably helped at least one Clocker with it.
So, when one of our most-talented, front-end university placements told us he what he’d come up with over a year ago and built (prototyped) for his final-year placement dissertation, and expressed an interest in working on it whilst also coming back to work for us full time, we jumped at the chance.
Kenan Yusuf is a very smart cookie and we think he has built something very cool and exciting. We were already thrilled about having him back after his final year at Uni (a number of appealing, large agencies had tried to head-hunt him). So to have him back, with a new business idea too, was music to our ears.
Codier.io simply put, is an inspirational website that sets Front-end Coding Challenges and lets developers - those just starting out and those that are highly experienced - create and play with code to solve that challenge. We think the site has a great chance of making a splash, it has already launched and has piqued the interest of a great number of developers, institutions and sponsors.
You can read more about Codier in Kenan’s own words on https://dev.to/kebabyusuf/introducing-codier---front-end-coding-challenges-and-creations-l7j
Clock are now super-proud shareholders in this wonderful new company. As are a small team at Clock that helped Kenan build the platform, because it was more than a one man undertaking - Bala Clark, one of our Senior Software engineers technically co-created the platform alongside Kenan, and Jack Burgess another of our talented developers got involved and helped turn Kenan's idea into a reality. Without the three of them, the site wouldn't have been ready. Syd spent time with Kenan ensuring the correct legal and new business setup and I was fortunate enough to get involved and help Kenan with launch, content and marketing plans.
Kenan has career stability at Clock but at the same time can also build a bright future for Codier. This might mean he, or they, fork off (yes, we said “fork”) and leave our HQ one day, but we’re fine with that too. We want to enable our staff to be the best they can be whether that’s at Clock or at a new company that we’ve partnered with or help build.
We’ve already had success via this method with SwipeStation, our sister company, that was born at Clock and has just raised £600k through Seedrs to scale. We even helped another developer build a competitor web agency that we took shares in and were non-exec directors of and went on to pivot into a product business. We’ve helped other past and present staff with side projects and businesses, had and sold shares in a betting content agency, one employ built a platform during their spare time, that turned into a client for Clock because it outgrew needing only a single developer. Even our current university placements have side businesses that we allow them to dedicate time to, on work days and on Clock equipment.
After all, our business is our people and we will do our best by them
The results speak for themselves:
Staff churn: only 4%
44% of our staff are as a result of our work-experience/placement programme.
Glassdoor rating (10 Reviews):
We also find that when people are passionate and enabled to solve business/startup challenges they grow even faster, and Clock learn along the way too.
Win-win you might say!