roland

One of the presentations at last year’s UserConf was about all hands support at Olark. At this year’s UserConf, I got the chance to ask Roland Osborne, cofounder and head of product at Olark, a few questions about it.

Scott: A lot can happen in a year, is Olark still doing all hands support?

Roland: Yes, we’ve hired a lot of people since then. We are 21 and were hiring for more.

It’s changed a little bit in terms of frequency but it’s not something we would consider getting rid of. As our product manager, I think it’s incredibly important for me to be on there. Metrics tell you one thing but they don’t give the whole picture. I think that the human element is really important. When you have stories, anecdotes starts to feed it into what’s behind the metrics.

Scott: Is it hard to hire for all hands support?

Roland: We explain all hands support to people pretty early in the hiring process. Not everyone gets it, but they’ll say they do because they want the job. They may not truly believe in it.

It almost doesn’t matter because the culture of all hands support is so strong. Once they get into the company and realize that everyone is doing support and that everyone values support, they realize it’s not just lip service.

Something that I’m proud of is that we’ve never had a support person leave. Support and sales are traditionally high turnover positions. I think that’s largely because support is such a revered position here.