Recently, I’ve had people ask me how the CAVE team was built.
Were they my friends from before? Did we go to school together? Did we meet in a Yahoo chat room?
Interestingly, I only met Jay (our West Coast Editor) last Christmas. Nine months earlier, he reached out through a mutual friend and expressed an interest in being involved. Through the power of BlackBerry Messenger, we were able to communicate, bond and develop plans for CAVE. We haven’t looked back since.
Michael, our Head of Marketing, is a former football teammate and close friend. Through him, I was fortunate enough to meet Anna, our Lead Designer and Senior Editor.
At this point, I had three very talented people and needed to figure out how to make them work together and independently.
The key is empowerment.
Everyone at CAVE is responsible for certain aspects of our brand, company and magazine. Instead of micromanaging, I decided to give people complete liberty with their respective responsibilities.
When it comes to new ideas and constructive criticism, we encourage an open forum. We allow everyone to be involved in the creative process and the forging of business relationships, while also tailoring specific tasks to respective areas of expertise.
This, more than anything, has allowed CAVE to grow at a rapid pace.
Next week, we’ll be publishing a story that we’ve been working on for four months. It was initiated by Jay, critiqued by Michael, and finalized by me. This cumulative effort unquestionably produces the best results. I used to micromanage and worry about everyone staying on task, but once I found people who were as passionate as I was about CAVE – those worries vanished.
I’d be lying if I said we never disagreed, got lazy or looked at other ventures. But those things are always temporary. In just over a year, this magazine has opened up doors and taught me more than I ever thought it would.
As we brace for summer, we now officially have an office and will soon welcome our first intern. We aren’t planning to have this intern grab coffee and do grunt work. Instead, we’re empowering him/her and letting them grow in this industry.
This empower philosophy is deeply embedded in our company’s culture. Not only do we have people who feel like they’re part of something cool, but we let them know they helped build that something. That’s what will carry CAVE forward.
So now, I’ve got to get back to moving forward.