P’unk Avenue

Alex Gilbert

As a co-founder of P'unk Ave, Alex (a proud South Philadelphian) has both overseen and contributed to the development of our biggest projects.

Published

Tue, Apr 29 2014

    • First State of P'unk
In the fall of 2011 two transformative things happened at P’unk Ave:
  1. We had our first significant scare in regards to the health of our upcoming project pipeline.
  2. We started taking seriously how we tracked sales, revenue and cash flow projections.
Even more transformative was the decision to share this information with the entire team.
 
When we first brought everyone together before our 2011 holiday break, we simply wanted everyone to understand the financial outlook we were facing. “Hey, here’s what things look right now. Here’s why we are a bit stressed out. We might all have to face some challenging decisions together, and we want to you have the same information we do.” We turned on the projector, opened our financial spreadsheets, and the State of P’unk was born.
 
Thankfully we were all spared having to make any difficult decisions. And since then, we have gathered together every quarter to review the goals and direction of the company at a high level. What started as a hard look at the numbers has evolved into something much more important to our culture.
 
For a taste, here is what we covered in our last State of P’unk:
  • Overarching goals that we set for ourselves for that quarter – How did we do? What do we still need to work on?
  • Photos of improvements and changes we made to our studio space.
  • A recap of all new projects signed and launched over that span of time.
  • Changes to the team – Who joined us? Who moved on? How are we organizing ourselves differently?
  • Updates on progress and goals for Way to Health, one of our largest client projects.
  • Updates on progress and goals for Apostrophe, our largest open source project.
  • Updates on progress and goals for a new product idea still in development.
  • An overview of our vision into doing more design and strategy work for our clients.
  • A rallying cry for a team to form around creating the P’unk Store.
  • Finally, the financials – total numbers of new projects signed, projects in the pipeline, revenue and invoicing goals, and overall cash flow projections based on all of the above.
I think the most exciting thing about this evolution is how the entire team is now getting in on the act. Two years ago, it would have been Geoff and myself creating this presentation, translating our information and our vision into something to share with the team. These days, leadership and vision is found throughout the entire company, meaning that the process of creating the presentation has evolved into us facilitating and organizing what the larger group wants to communicate.
 
This is all a lot of work, so what are we getting out of it? Here are just a few of the many things:
 
It serves as a reminder of the progress we are making as a company
We are tremendously busy, and this is great! But it also means it’s easy to lose track of the high level goals we’re setting for ourselves as a company. It’s important for us to pause and raise our heads out of the trenches and realize just how much we accomplished in the last few months. I’m personally surprised every time at how much progress we’ve made at getting closer to our vision for P’unk Ave.
 
It enforces good habits around tracking and reporting financial metrics
We spend a lot of time updating and reviewing our financial data, but when we sit down each quarter to make this presentation we’re forced to think in a certain way about what it all means. What sort of story are the data telling? What can they show us about our productivity? What about the amount of projects we are aggressively pursuing? How do we share this with the larger team and make it understandable? This exercise is so valuable in helping us think creatively about the financial side of our operation that I can’t imagine where we would be without it.
 
It is a platform for members of our team to take ownership and demonstrate leadership
Interested in launching a new initiative within P’unk? Taking over responsibility for a piece of our operations? Want to form a team around a product idea or open source project? Get ready to take the podium at the State of P’unk!
 
I’m grateful that we have been able to figure out this process organically, but I’m also really interested in learning about how other companies and organizations do this sort of thing. Anyone out there with a similar process or approach?
 
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