by Hollie Wegman ・ Office Hacks

Office Hack #6 — The Mode Analytics Office Goat

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our new Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

This week’s Envoy office hack is about the evolution of a company’s culture alongside the evolution of a stuffed goat.

When you arrive at Mode Analytics in San Francisco, you will be greeted by a hefty, full-sized mountain goat.

This is Marshawn.

Marshawn hasn’t always been here. Mode Analytics is only a couple of years old, afterall. Marshawn’s been in several homes and offices, including a stint at Yammer. Marshawn hasn’t always been Marshawn either. This billy goat’s name evolved along with its personality, its wardrobe, and its, umm, parent company: Mode.

Mode Analytics makes software for data analysts and data scientists. It’s serious business and they’re a pretty serious bunch. But their preserved billy goat shows another side of this company.

Marshawn is a male mountain goat from the Montana region. He got his name from Seattle Seahawks football player Marshawn Lynch. Lynch’s nickname is “beast mode”.

“I think that’s pretty self-explanatory. The goat is a beast and we’re at Mode.” Derek Steer, Co-founder of Mode and original adopter of Marshawn

Although the origin of the goat’s name is pretty interesting, the origin of the goat itself is not. At least, according to co-founder Derek Steer.

“The actual story of the goat is not particularly interesting. This whole animal was in my childhood friend’s mother’s living room. One day she was just talking about how annoying it was to have this goat that had been in her living room for decades and I said, “Hey, I’ll take that.” That’s it. That’s really the original story.” Derek Steer, Co-Founder of Mode

The problem is, everyone who is greeted by Marshawn wants to be entertained and enchanted by a great tale. Lacking such, Mode turned this problem into a creative challenge.

Let’s look at this from a wider lens for a minute. You see, the goat is a metaphor for how mode thinks about its culture. One person brought the goat into the office, another person gave the goat a name. Yet another person became the goat’s personal stylist. Now, the very story of the goat’s origin is even up for the taking.

Numerous creative proposals were presented, performed and voted on in a homegrown festival in the goat’s honor. There were laughs. There were groans. There were frantic Facebook photo removals. But at its core, there were people bonding and shaping the place where they worked.

This isn’t an efficiency hack or a problem-solving hack. It’s a forever-in-progress hack that’s defining Mode every trip-trop of the way. Mode’s office manager summed it up best:

“It’s not one person that has built the mythos of Marshawn. It is all of us that is creating this or is adding on to Marshawn’s story and I love that. It’s not the ending to this. There are going to be more chapters to Marshawn that I can’t even imagine where that will go from here and that’s Mode and that’s Mode’s culture. It’s never ending. There’s just more pages to write.” Paloma Figueroa, Office Manager at Mode

How to hack it

If you’d like a Marshawn of your own, here are a few options.

Ingredients

Listen & Subscribe

You can listen to the full Mode Analytics Goat Office Hack podcast here. Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes — just click here and hit ‘subscribe’