The importance of blending strategy and fun with Kari Clarke

On this episode of The At the Corner Podcast, Matthew Schmidt is joined by Kari Clarke. Kari is the Founder and CEO of Breakout, a start-up building strong culture for distribute teams. Kari shares how at Breakout they are building the global platform for distributed culture and how they like to consider themselves as facilitators of strategic fun. Kari explains how everyone at Breakout believes that fun serves a huge purpose within companies and helps to really connect people by making them feel engaged with their co-workers and enjoy their work environments.

Kari speaks about how the first two products have really been about the virtual event space. Breakout also produces Breakout boxes, which are activity kits that help teams to lead their own events. Kari states that statistics have shown that when you have work friends you are three times more likely to say you love your company and twice as like to stay at the company, so it’s definitely a really important thing for companies to be thinking about.

Kari talks about her motivation to start Breakout. Kari shares how she previously worked at Google where productivity was always high within the teams but building culture was always something she had struggled with. After speaking to other managers, she realized that a lot of people we’re struggling with the same problem and that is what inspired her to solve the problem, and start Breakout.

Kari also shares her experience with Breakout growing at a rapid rate and feeling like things were going off the rails. Kari mentions how the company had just landed a bunch of really big deals but didn’t have the tech infrastructure built as much as they needed to in order to support them in a super sustainable way. Kari shares how she and her teams got out of this by really rolling up their sleeves and working super hard to make sure everything worked out in the end.

Towards the end of the episode, Kari shares her best advice to those who are thinking about starting a new company. Kari states that you can learn a lot and do a lot of testing without spending very much money. Kari mentions how you should get out there as quickly as possible using tools like Bubble to throw together prototypes faster than before. Kari states that her best piece of advice is to put off building until you know what people want you to build.

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