How to build the best learning stack at your startup 🤓
At Deepnote, we are building tools that transform how data teams think, explore, and decide together.
I already shared my two cents on run “Sourcing jams” at your startup to make everyone in the company hire someone they don't know. But I had no chance to speak about the actual origin story of Deepnote and what pushed me to organize this sourcing marathon in the first place. One of Deepnote's core value is We keep learning. We work on ourselves. We improve every single day. We learn and help others learn. We believe our talents can be developed through hard work, targeted training, learning from others, on-the-job experience, and receiving input from others. It is in our DNA as a company and individuals to look for opportunity, stay humble, and never settle. We strive to foster a culture of curiosity and continuous learning where team members are provided and proactively seek out opportunities to grow themselves and their careers. And our learning stack is how we live this value every day.
This is something of a tradition at Deepnote. I just spoke with an old friend of our founder Jakub, and he shared that while studying together at Cambridge, they came up with the idea of forming Hackathons of Cambridge. So they did.
At Deepnote we regularly hold hackathon events, with our most recent one being just last week. These mainly focus on technical solutions–e.g. our last winner was a google sheet API for Deepnote (despite my favorite one selfishly being a stock options calculator notebook built for hiring candidates).
Hackathons have grown from a small part of our history to an awesome series of events that emulate the culture we want to foster at Deepnote. They allow cross-team collaboration with colleagues we wouldn’t normally work with on a day-to-day basis (not to mention removing the feeling of ‘work as usual’ piling up, since the rest of your teammates are also participating). They’re highly efficient in ideating and completing 0 to 1 projects. And they’re fun. A little friendly competition, putting together of the minds, and some sweet winning incentives can go a long way!
🤓 How to get better sessions
This is how we stretch. We host weekly “HTGB” sessions with each topic & theme chosen by a different team member. Have you figured out How to hack Figma, or do you know something the rest of us might not know but you think would find useful? Chances are, you do. You take ownership and schedule a get-together for the rest of us. I did one on How to Greenhouse when I implemented our new & first applicant tracking system, but we also had one very important one about how to cope with the Ukrainian war and what we can do as individuals or as a company.
📚 Learning weeks
As you already know, keep learning is our core value. You could keep spin-drying the growth mindset from each of our team members but they would never get dry enough. You can hardly find someone more passionate to learn than the people of Deepnote. That’s why Learning weeks were designed very very very early on — so everyone on the team gets two weeks annually to take a break from “running in operational mode,tackling everyday tasks” to reflect and learn something new. It can be about the industry, the market, personal development, professional development, or anything that will help them think with new perspectives while the wheel stops spinning and they have time to reflect and breathe. Me & our chief of staff Katie for example took a data & python course on Codecademy. And we felt the praise!
💰 Unlimited budget for learning
To encourage everyone learn more we have unlimited learning budget for everyone to attend any courses or to buy any book of their desire.