We got a trophy! I love trophies, and also in-depth explanations. This is both.

I’ve noticed that a lot of folks read this Glowforge company blog when they’re trying to decide whether they want to work with us. If this is you, thank you! We’re humbled and flattered that you’d drop by. (If that’s not you, perhaps you might be interested…?)

Over the years, we’ve published a lot of posts about how we think about careers here, how we take care of each other, and how our business works. We started doing this from Day 1, because I believed it was important to be upfront with folks about what the heck we were trying to build here.

We still do it, because we’ve heard over and over again that these posts are what helped convince amazing people to join the company. I think the happiest spot for a startup to be is “the more we tell people about our company, the more they want to work here.”

And Forbes just agreed!

Today, Glowforge was named one of America’s Best Startup Employers 2021.

Forbes tells us their methodology includes “evaluating employee satisfaction, reputation, and company growth.” Their exact formula or judging system is kind of a mystery, but the results are not. Here’s just some of what we’re proudest of over the last year:

  • At the beginning of the pandemic, when the market crashed and uncertainty was highest, we protected every single job at the company. In March of 2020, our COVID response coordinator, Dr. Therese Seldon, sent us all home. The market was cratering and our future was uncertain. But thanks to our long-term financial planning, we made it through without layoffs or furloughs. Only the executive team took a short-term pay cut. 

  • Our company doubled last year, and will double again this year. After a scary start to the pandemic, we turned everything around. We gave away 2.5 million Ear Savers to support essential workers, and sold more printers to homes and first-time entrepreneurs than ever before. 

  • We lived our cornerstones. Hire diverse and amazing people: Check. Take care of each other: with $1,000 to support remote work, and an option to work safely from the office supported by social distancing, mask wearing, and contact tracing… check. Delight our customers: twice as many as before, check. And build value for ourselves and our company… let’s talk about that one.

  • We built value together. Every one of us is an owner in the company with our stock program. In 2020, we took that a step further, giving everyone who has been at the company for 2+ years a new, annual stock grant to supplement their ownership. Further, we decided that everyone in the company will earn a bonus of up to 10% of our salary based on if we hit our financial goals.  To make sense of all that, there’s a free MBA in startupology for every employee, with weekly deep-dives into the business, and a monthly update on everything that makes our company work. We treat each other like investors in our own business… because we are.

But what is Glowforge’s culture? That’s a big question, and it’s one I’ve personally wrestled with in my head for years. Part of me thinks that describing company culture is kind of like that exercise where 5 different blindfolded people describe an elephant – everyone’s got a different perspective informed by where they’re standing. But a culture doesn’t last if you can’t share it as you grow, so we finally figured out how to write down its essence.

Glowforge Cornerstones -- Hire Amazing People, Build Value, Delight Our Customers, Take Care of Each Other

You can learn more about our cornerstones here. In short, they speak to our commitment to take care of each other, do right by our customers, and change the world.

Here’s a few examples of what that means, in practice:

  • We do hiring differently at Glowforge. There’s one thing you’ll notice right away: for the sake of pay equity, we got rid of salary negotiations entirely. We pay everyone substantially above market, automatically. (You can read more here.). We’ve also rethought the way we do job descriptions to focus on what’s really important; invested real dollars and time in recruiting a diverse team of amazing people who represent our diverse customers; and published our health plan so anyone, with any condition, knows if they’re covered or not. Finally, my personal favorite: every candidate meets with me personally, with no agenda except their questions, so they know everything they need to in order to decide.

  • We give, together. Every month at our all-hands meeting, we give away something fabulous that a Glowforge-powered business sells. Then one randomly chosen person shares their favorite nonprofit with the company, which makes a donation from all of us. 

  • Everyone gets to create. It’s like Oprah and cars: you get a Glowforge, and you, and you! Everyone employee gets a Glowforge at home so they can experience and share the wonder that they are bringing to the world. 

That’s just a tiny piece of the puzzle. So I don’t know exactly why we won this award, but these are my best guesses. And I haven’t even mentioned how incredibly magical and world-changing our product is!

I’ve devoted myself to making Glowforge a truly great company – one that helps billions of people while staying true to our cornerstones – and that means we need to hire truly great people. People like you.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re definitely Glowforge-curious. You’re the sort of person who wants to know what’s really going on before you join a new team – you’ll fit right in. Take a look at our Careers page to see the roles we’re currently hiring for, and to learn even more about our company..

I hope we get to talk soon. : ) I think you might love being at Glowforge.

– dan