So, this is a bit of a crazy story.
A friend was leaving. I read a poem at his going away party. Lucky Strike loved it.
As my fellow co-founder Jeroen would say, this is a “short story long.”
SimplySocial San Francisco is co-located with a company called Kiip (www.Kiip.com), a long-time supporter of ours. In fact, I’ve witnessed the growth of Kiip since their CEO, Brian Wong, offered free office space when they were still a seed-stage company. At the time, they were just a card table with four other individuals (just one non-founder) inside their seed investor’s office.
I witnessed their “single table, seed-stage” company blossom into a flush Series-A funded company with a swanky office of their own. Today, Kiip is one of the world’s most innovative companies (Fast Company: http://www.fastcompany.com/most-innovative-companies/2013/kiip) with over 40 employees.
But it wasn’t always easy.
One of their key individuals, assisting with Kiip’s insane growth, was a guy by the name of Jack Pearkes. Jack was born and raised in British Columbia and the only other person in San Francisco I found who grew up close to the Arctic Circle, like I did. closer to the Arctic Circle than an Ikea. Those of us from northern climates bond quickly or freeze together.
Jack pitches himself as a guy who “doesn’t have a problem doing dishes.” While he started out finding office space and assisting with schedules, he understood the company culture well and was responsible for making key hires and technical decisions. He was the glue that held the company together as it expanded.
As Kiip continued to grow, Jack realized he wanted to travel and explore new horizons in Europe. He gradually let everyone know that his time at the company would come to an end.
Kiip scheduled Jack’s party at Lucky Strike, an awesome bowling alley, and everyone prepared their goodbyes. For some reason, weeks earlier, a poem about Jack had popped into my mind (in the shower, of course). It took me about 15 minutes to write, then another few days to convince myself it wasn’t totally lame. I shared it with a few folks at Kiip who encouraged me to read it at his goodbye party.
At Lucky Strike, we gathered around to wish Jack a farewell. Having prepared my poem, I fired up the iPad and read it into the mic. As party-goers laughed and enjoyed the location (the food was awesome), some of the staff at Lucky Strike stayed attentive in the background.
SOMEHOW they managed to take my picture and play witness to the whole event.
Fast forward a few weeks, long past Jack’s departure, they got in touch with a mutual friend via Twitter and asked for my address.
After a weekend of traveling, I arrived back at the office to an unusual envelope. Opening it up, I howled with laughter. Lucky Strike sent me a “Bowling Optional” award complete with a certificate to come back for free bowling and food…. with seven of my closest friends…
The certificate reads: “Most men bowl. But only real men recite poetry while they do it. Congratulations on being comfortable enough with your masculinity to throw down sonnets while the rest of your friends are throwing down strikes.”
Can you think of any finer example of customer service? These are agile employees. They had the foresight and follow-through to turn me a HUGE Lucky Strike advocate.
Using Twitter to search for me, track me down, and respond is just the icing on the cake. They get customer service and customer loyalty. I know there’s a case study in here somewhere.
Ironically, I almost didn’t graduate from high school due to issues with last-minute credits for an online bowling class. But that’s a “short story long” for another day.
Until then you can find me at Lucky Strike.