Posts Tagged ‘Clockwork’
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011
Walk into Clockwork Active Media Systems in northeast Minneapolis and you quickly realize this isn’t your garden-variety office environment.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
But, what’s not as obvious upon entering the building is the strong culture that has emerged at Clockwork the last couple years: A culture of biking.
With co-founder Chuck Hermes leading the way, nearly 20 Clockwork employees choose to make biking a part of their daily (or in some cases weekly) routine. Chuck bikes more than 40 miles a day to and from Stillwater.
“I’m a life-long cyclist—I’ve had pictures of bikes on my birthday cakes for years,” Chuck says. “I take the Gateway trail to work almost every day. Sure it takes more time, but it also means I’m a more productive employee. And, maybe more importantly, I’m happier and I’m a better husband and father as a result.”
How did they foster a culture of biking?
How did this culture grow? Organically, according to Chuck and his teammates. As a younger company, over the last several years, more people have banded together through biking to work. As a result, what was once a small sub-culture at Clockwork has come to define the firm’s brand in many ways. In fact, the League of American Cyclists recently recognized Clockwork as a 2011 Bicycle Friendly Business winner.
Clockwork employees participate in a number of biking-related activities, including:
* Bike Lunches. The team will frequently bike to lunch around town. With downtown only about two miles away, and a plethora of options available, there’s really no reason not to. But, the group has traveled as far as Sea Salt Eatery in south Minneapolis (nearly six miles away) for lunch.
* MS 150 ride. For three years each spring, Clockwork employees have been participating in the MS 150 ride from Duluth to Minneapolis. What started as a small group has now grown to 20-plus employees, partners and other “friends of Clockwork.” (The Clockwork team raised more than $23,000 this year for multiple sclerosis research)
* Active in the biking community. Clockwork hosted an ARTCRANK pre-party this year, which included a ride over to the ARTCRANK show later that evening. It’s an event that could quickly become an annual tradition.
* Bike profiles. Earlier this year, the Clockwork team started featuring its employees and their biking addictions right on the Clockwork blog. These “Biker Profiles” have become a way for Clockwork cyclists to show off one of their most prized possessions: their bikes. And, the photography is fantastic—thanks to Sharyn Morrow, a Clockwork employee who’s rather handy with a Nikon.
Culture starts with people
People create and sustain culture. In any organization. And Clockwork is definitely not short on talented, creative professionals. And people who absolutely love to bike. So it’s no wonder the bike culture continues to thrive at this Minneapolis-based interactive firm.
Just some of the people who make the Clockwork culture go include:
* Rett Martin. Clockwork’s creative director bikes 7 blocks with his two-and-a-half-year-old daughter to daycare every day. Rain or shine. Snow or sleet. With only one car in the household, it’s become a part of his daily routine—and he wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, Rett now claims when he has to drive his daughter to daycare on those very few days, it’s a much bigger pain than biking.
* Micah Spieler. The newest Clockwork cyclist also has the shortest commute—just a few short blocks away. But, Micah is in it for the camaraderie and social aspects. He’s also a frequent rider on the bike lunches.
* Alex Wohlhueter. A QA tester at Clockwork, Alex’s commute cuts across the Seward neighborhood, through the University of Minnesota on his way to the northeast office. Like Rett, he rides with his young son from time to time, dropping him off at daycare just a few blocks away.
What about the business impact of biking?
This bike culture stuff is fine-and-dandy, but is there a real business case here? Or, is this just a matter of a bunch of employees who love to ride their bikes?
Chuck says there’s a significant business case to be made for bicycling —and it’s already paying off.
“We’ve already got two new clients that I would say are a direct result of our passion for biking,” Chuck says. “We’re currently working with Nice Ride and the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota—both could be directly attributable to our biking culture. In fact, I met Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance while riding down the Gateway one day—that led directly to us working together.”
But, the benefits don’t stop with new clients. Chuck says the bike culture also has significant recruiting and retention benefits. And, Clockwork employees back that up.
“When I tell people I bike to work they say ‘Oh that must be so nice,” Micah says. “It’s a huge perk for me. Biking wasn’t one of the reasons I came to work at Clockwork–but it’s definitely a reason I want to stay now.”
In an industry where top developers, programmers and creatives are increasingly at a premium, recruiting and retaining that top talent is absolutely critical to business success. Clockwork definitely sees the “business value” in fostering this culture of bicycling.
But, it’s the pure joy of riding a bike every day that really drives the culture at Clockwork. It almost seems like the “business case” is really just a nice added bonus for this firm. Nevertheless, Clockwork seems to be smack-dab in the middle of a fast-emerging trend of businesses that support biking.
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Downtown Journal. Now that Nice Ride bikes are tucked away for the winter, consider using the bus for your quick trips to lunch, meetings, doctor’s appointments, or shopping. Using Metro Transit is an ideal way
The following is a post written by Bri Whitcraft, Special Projects Coordinator, Bike Walk Twin Cities. It all started with a video as inspiration and a Tweet as declaration. (My mom thought it was a joke.) Map & Route From my home in South Minneapolis, I biked to St. Paul to borrow the trailer from
The following is a post written by Hilary Reeves, communications director, Bike Walk Twin Cities, that originally ran in the Southwest Journal. Practical, affordable and surprisingly rewarding, winter bicycling has become increasingly popular in Minneapolis, recently named one of the top five cities in the nation for winter bicycle commuting by MetaEfficient. That’s amazing when