Just like my other post about Carta, I should mention up front, I’ve never worked for Mailchimp, and they didn’t pay me to write this. In fact, they don’t even know I’m doing it. (Hi, Mailchimp! If you like this, send me a t-shirt!) I’m simply sharing an example of the kind of thing I look for when I recommend companies to young people.
This article is part of a feature series on the best startups to launch your career this year.
Mailchimp is one of those products so good and simple that there isn’t much real competition. I’ve used it for almost a decade, and if any small business asks the best way to send email newsletters to their audience, Mailchimp is my answer.
It’s also one of those companies I’d be super geeked about working for if I were just starting my career. Here are a few reasons why.
Something that touches everything
Email. Small business.
It’s hard to think of two things more integral to modern commerce. Mailchimp is at the intersection.
It’s pretty awesome when you get to work on something with such obvious reach and relevance to everyday life. Small businesses are one of the coolest customer bases—better, more beautiful, consistent, fun, and professional communication with customers is an awesome thing to help them with.
Mailchimp is one of those “equalizer” products. It gives small businesses—from eCommerce shops to fitness trainers to brick-and-mortar bakeries—clean, professional, and powerful tools to do email marketing and customer nurturing on-par with giant companies with dedicated teams. They have stayed relentlessly focused on their core product—great email marketing—and added features only when those features bolster that core.
At Mailchimp, you can be part of so many awesome businesses and help them grow in a very tangible way.
A different kind of startup
Mailchimp looks like a typical tech startup at first glance: snazzy design, cool offices, great tech, huge reach, fast growth.
But they’re different.
In fact, some of the “insider” Silicon Valley types hold a bit of a grudge against Mailchimp. They have a bit of outsider status when it comes to the glamorous startup hype cycle. And they are proud of it.
Mailchimp has never raised venture capital. They don’t burn money each month and hope to hype their growth enough to cover it over with fundraising. There’s nothing wrong with the VC model, but there is something pretty cool about how Mailchimp is doing it in a different way.
They’ve funded their growth with profitability. Profit is the clearest, most direct sign that a company is creating real value for real customers. Mailchimp has grown by making customer’s lives better. That’s it. Not by being the best at PR or wowing investors.
This gives them autonomy and freedom to set their own pace—something few startups enjoy. They’ve got no outside investors trying to drive a certain valuation by a certain date. They’ve built a category king over twenty years of hard work. And they did it in Atlanta, GA, not one of the big startup hubs.
That’s pretty cool.
A culture of long-term investment
What kind of company steadily plods along with profitable growth for twenty years and resists the lure of a huge cash injection from investors?
The kind that values long-term value and doesn’t feel pressured by monthly or quarterly reports.
The decision to self-fund growth no doubt permeates all kinds of parts of corporate culture. A long-term focus that values independence and profit is going to bleed into the kind of people a company recruits, how much effort is spent on training and employee support, and the kind of long-term career you can build there.
I’m guessing Mailchimp excels at deep investment in its employees and doesn’t succumb to instant sink or swim mentality.
Just a little weird
I mean they’re named after a monkey, for goodness’ sake!
Normal is boring. Mailchimp has always struck me as one of those slightly eccentric, just a wee bit zany places. From their fun name and logo, delightful and sometimes silly copy, and the aforementioned outsider status, this company keeps it fresh and fun. They’re highly professional. They have a great reputation. But they’re kind of edgy, too. Like an accountant with tattoos.
And it doesn’t seem fake. Lots of companies try to be fun and rebellious with forced norms and slack dress codes. Mailchimp seems pretty comfy and natural in their differences.
It’s also cool that you could work in cities like Atlanta, Brooklyn, Oakland, Seattle, and Vancouver. Each of those places are a bit gritty, artsy, and oddball.
But how can I get a job at a place like this?
This isn’t officially sanctioned Mailchimp advice. But I think you’ve got a chance of doing something much better than submitting an application and resume, and you’ll increase your odds of success.
If I were you and I wanted to land a job at Mailchimp, I’d research the company, read up on the openings, and build a great profile to showcase skills and tools relevant to the role. (I’d even do this if they didn’t have an opening that seemed to fit me perfectly. See if they’ll create a role for you!)
Then I’d find the hiring manager’s email address and send them a one-of-a-kind pitch on your three favorite things about the company, the three main things you could do for them, a little project you created to demonstrate it, and how they can follow-up if interested.
(Fortunately, we can help with that!)
Looking for opportunities at other cool startups? Check out this collection of the best startups to launch your career this year.