Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 9.34.32 AMThe best Day One that a tech company has ever seen. This was to be the culmination of my 90-day probationary period at Datto. There were other things I was assigned to do, like designing e-learnings, facilitating new product launches and helping build infrastructure for a learning management solution; but my marquee project and chance to really shine was to redesign and deliver a fresh and exciting orientation for new hires, titled Datto University. Datto usually grows by 30 new hires each month, and I had two chances to watch and learn before taking charge and making something big, bold and better than anything else.

Challenge accepted.

This, as I soon learned, was not an outlandish assignment. In my first 30 days at Datto, I saw the company debut five industry-changing advances. Coming from the world of higher education, where the biggest development was that one department shifted blame for student retention to another department, hearing CEO Austin McChord talk about multiple major announcements at the 2015 Datto Partner Conference was a bit of culture shock. Datto has big dreams and achieves them.

In my first 60 days, I pivoted from a work environment with a group of colleagues that thought on a semester-to-semester basis, to a tightly knit team that produced results in two week spurts, called sprints. My To-Do list depleted, refilled and was checked off again in the span of a week. I felt results spring forth from my keyboard each time I logged into my laptop to participate in my team’s virtual stand-ups every morning.

Because of our pace of success, in two months I had a list of accomplishments looking back at me saying, “You can do this.” In 30 days, I would be preaching Datto to new hires like a grizzled veteran. My supervisor, my team and my colleagues offered help, advice and ideas that gave me the fuel to design something that pushed boundaries. “Be Can Do” was scrawled on a sheet of paper taped next to my desk. It was a company value, and it was my rallying cry.

My personal charter became a team mission, and in turn a small shift for the company. It was mind blowing that one person with a “Be Can Do” mindset was redefining how a team would shape the experiences for a company’s newest members. I learned that a meticulously planned first-impression made an element’s inclusion–or removal–a statement about what the company believed was vital. For example, I thought it should be mandatory that new hires would see the facility where Datto builds devices. I saw it as a necessary pilgrimage to understand the journey our products make and the value they garner along the way.

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Through tenacity, planning, collaboration and a bit of derring-do, new hire orientation became a smash hit. Datto University doubled in length to two full days, the factory where we build devices was a hands-down favorite, new hires spoke to a partner hundreds of miles away and the orientation ended with a picture of the new-hire cohort with the biggest smiles that we’d ever seen. Was it the best ever? Not yet. Was it better than ever before? Definitely. And it was a hell of a ride that’s not stopping yet.

Dan Newman is an Associate Trainer on Datto’s Training Team. He has, in his eyes, finally delivered the best Day One at a tech company with his October orientation.


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