Growing Fast & Scaling Culture: Wistia Case Study

wistia logo white

Wistia is a video-hosting platform, based in Cambridge, MA. They help thousands of companies worldwide do better sales and marketing with video. The Wistia product makes it easier to host video content online and share it on a website, via email, or through social media.

Kelsey Miller is the Wistia Office Manager. She joined the team in 2015 and has helped the team navigate the complex logistics of fast growth. Kelsey plays a critical role in making sure that the company runs smoothly, so that everyone can do their best work.

The Need

Wistia has enjoyed staggering customer growth since launching in 2006. This is no surprise, given the high quality of their product, paired with the fact that people spend one-third of their time online watching video content.

kelsey miller, wistia office managerAs Wistia’s customer base has grown, so has their team. From the two co-founders, Chris Savage and Brendan Schwartz,  they’ve increased to roughly 100 employees. Office manager, Kelsey Miller, has helped to foster and support this rapid growth.

In the past 5 years alone, the team has quadrupled in size. This high-growth phase has prompted many logistical changes as well, from opening new offices, to adopting new team operating systems, to launching new products like Soapbox. Given Kelsey Miller's role, she's privy to all the changes, as well as the employees' reactions. 

“Things are always changing around here. We love it. But people like to know what’s going on.”

As the team navigates these changes, knowledge management becomes increasingly important. It’s critical that all employees know what to focus on, how to do their jobs, and where to go for relevant details. Kelsey can no longer be the single source of truth for every policy and process, given her many responsibilities. Information needs to be accurate, up-to-date, and most important, easily accessible.

The Pain Points

As with most teams, growth is a double-edged sword. Bringing on new people allowed the Wistia team to accomplish more, but it also meant that new people needed access to existing knowledge. During high-growth phases, much of Kelsey’s time was spent on onboarding new employees. She helped them get to know to the “Wistia way,” an often unspoken set of norms about the team’s operating system.

all hands meeting at wistia office

As the team grew, many processes changed or grew more complex. This meant that more people needed clarification about how to do their jobs. Kelsey notes that there were tough phases where people struggled to find what they needed:

“I'd be asked the same questions over and over again.”

The Wistia team tried many different ways of sharing information. They used HipChat and now Slack. For a while, they used a custom-built wiki solution. They relied on a host of tools from Dropbox to Google Drive to Quip.

Each path was fraught with challenges. HipChat and Slack, though great for brief, time-sensitive communication, presents issues when trying to share more complex information. The search functionality made it tricky for team members to hunt down the answers to commonly asked questions.

Wistia’s custom-built wiki required updates, thereby diverting attention from their primary business. Furthermore, because it didn’t connect to Slack or the other tools they used, it was easy to forget.

Dropbox and Google Drive, though great for writing and editing, became messy fast. Version control was a constant issue. As Kelsey points out,

“People would find five different versions of a Google Doc and didn’t know which to use.”

The team needed a more reliable, central place to share all of their team knowledge. Version control was critical, so they knew where to go for their single source of truth. And, ideally, they needed a solution that would connect to the other tools and systems they already trusted.

The Solution

In 2016, Wistia adopted Tettra as their team knowledge base. Every functional group at Wistia uses the Tettra product to access and share information, especially strategic info. As fellow Wistian, Jonah Silberg, mentions:

“We rely on Tettra for all of our evergreen information...we use it for info with a longer lifespan, rather than basic meeting notes, for example.”

The Slack integration has been particularly helpful for the team at Wistia. Because they use Slack every day, they have Tettra categories connected to the relevant Slack channels. When someone posts or updates a Tettra page, a notification pushes into the right Slack channels, so everyone’s on the same page.

They also rely on the search in Slack function. If a Wistia employee needs info in Tettra, they know to search in Slack, using the slash command. In fact, the team performs over 100 searches per month in this way. Each of these searches represents time saved for Kelsey or others on the team.

wistia team outside the office

Ultimately, Wistia is a team famous for not just their stellar products, but also a strong culture and brand. As they grow, it becomes increasingly critical to transmit the info and operating principles that uphold this brand. A central repository like Tettra lets the entire team grow and thrive together.