Building Startup Culture Through Music – Part 1 - - Relationship Intelligence for Sales

Building Startup Culture Through Music – Part 1

By Paul Teshima in Leadership

I have always been interested with the inner workings of startup culture.  The reason is, I believe “culture eats strategy for breakfast” (Peter Drucker).  So it is really important to have a culture that supports your business strategy.

It is hard to methodically build culture, because it is a living, breathing element of your people.  You can construct rituals and themes for them to care about, but ultimately culture comes from shared values in the stories they tell.


Many startups have rituals, or “things” they adopt to draw out the personalities of their people and help bring the team closer together.

We have a few of these so far:

  • We have a monthly Nudge social (nothing new here in startup land)
  • We have a book club: wrote about that here
  • We have a ping pong ladder (matrix) of sorts


All these things are good.  One day while watching the devs with their cool headphones on, coding and listening to their tunes, I thought it would be great to learn about each other through music – and so I did this.


The idea is simple:

  1. Each team member sends me three songs they are currently listening to.
  2. I build a playlist and we listen to it, whenever you want to, for 30 days.
  3. We get together and try and guess who submitted each song.

Enter Spotify


Okay all you Taylor-Swift-supporters say what you want about Spotify.  But it is a brilliant service, and was key enabling this NudgeMusic program.

Once I collected 3 songs from every employee, I put them on a playlist and voilà, anyone can follow the playlist, and play it whenever they want.

So here is our playlist on Spotify in case you want to check it out (no judgments please).

Tonight we get together and complete the experiment.  I will let you know what we learned in Part 2 next week!

Does your team have any similar rituals that help shape your company culture? Let us know in the comment below!

Paul Teshima
CEO and Co-founder
Pro For individuals or small teams who want to automatically capture contacts and activities in Salesforce $30 per user/month Free 30 Day Trial Get Started!
Business For companies who want to understand and close each deal in their pipeline $40 per user/month + $1,000 /month base fee Chat with us