Why Our "Crew" is More Than a "Team"

Jen Person|Jun 20, 2024

At Squid Cloud, our approach to building great products is as unique as the technology we develop. This uniqueness extends beyond our innovative serverless middle-tier platform to the heart of our culture and how we view our collective effort. Here, we don't refer to ourselves as a "team" but as a "crew." While the difference might seem semantic to some, for us, it encapsulates the essence of our collaborative spirit, our work ethics, and our mission-driven approach. It's about creating a sense of belonging and purpose, where everyone knows they're part of something bigger than themselves.

When our founders set out looking for a name for their new company they wanted something that was clever, descriptive and memorable. They eventually choose Squid:

Imagine a squid in the middle of the ocean. Each tentacle of the squid can reach into different parts of the seabed (representing the database or data sources) to collect treasures or resources. People on boats floating above the squid represent the users trying to obtain these marine treasures.

The squid, with its intelligent and versatile nature, acts as the middle tier. Given the vastness of the seabed and the variety of treasures, the squid's agility, intelligence, and ability to swiftly adapt are vital. If someone wants a pearl, the squid knows exactly which tentacle to use to get one from an oyster bed. If another requests an age-old artifact, the squid might scour a sunken ship.

In this metaphor, the squid ensures the accurate and efficient retrieval and delivery of treasures (information or data) from the seabed (databases) to the boaters (users). It can also filter out unwanted items, like seaweed or rocks, making sure that only valuable items are handed over. The squid's central body manages all the requests, while its tentacles are versatile tools that interact with the vast underwater realm. It skillfully manages the flow and exchange of information or resources between the seabed and the people on the boats.

With that in mind, we began to develop not just the Squid logo but our over brand system and language (more on that in another post). Our logo eventually took the form of an abstract little blue squid named Rudder. His name, inspired by the directional mechanism of a boat (“rudder”), kicked off the exploration and adoption of our nautical brand language.

Our idea of a “crew” extends beyond the confines of our monitors, Figma files, and Git repositories; it is who we are and our relation to each other. Like a ship's crew our crew is composed of a myriad of past experiences that in some way professionally connects us to the larger crew. Like “six degrees of Kevin Bacon” or the rag-tag team from a movie assembled to take on a seemingly impossible task, our founders have assembled our crew from past working relationships. This “past experience” has led to an established second hand nature between most functions and has helped create open and honest discourse. Here “crew” accountability is expected and space is created for candid deliberation and feedback. We developed and deployed an initial logo based on our founders feedback but at the 11th hour everything was scrapped and space was created so that a new direction could be presented and deliberated. Trust in expertise and a history of shared experience helped us navigate a potentially rough experience.

A crew that sails the same ship

The term "crew" conjures images of a group of people working together seamlessly, each member knowledgeable in their role, working under the same flag towards a common goal. It's about unity, cohesion, and mutual dependence, much like a ship's crew navigating the vast oceans. This analogy perfectly mirrors our journey and flat structure at Squid Cloud, where we explore the uncharted waters of technology to find new solutions that empower developers around the globe.

A ship's crew is diverse, each member bringing unique skills, responsibilities and ownership from navigation to engineering. Our crew at Squid Cloud is a tapestry of talents, with each member specializing in different areas but working towards the same objective. This fosters a more prosperous, more creative environment where innovation flourishes.

The sea is unpredictable, presenting challenges requiring quick thinking, adaptability, and teamwork. As a "crew," we embody this adaptability, facing technological and market challenges head-on, confident in our collective ability to navigate them. This mindset encourages a proactive, solution-oriented approach to obstacles, and underscores the importance of each individual's contribution in steering the ship safely forward to new horizons. One example of this was at a recent offsite, we had just come back from a team dinner and had naturally collected around a large TV screen in the hotel bar. Organically without much thought, phones were pulled out, QR codes were shared and we began to dog food the new Chicago Bulls app that we had designed and developed in real time as a team. What I enjoyed most about that night was how we collectively compared and contrasted our own experience with the app and the individual bugs with each other and with the Bulls team back in Chicago in real time.

Charting a course for the future

As we continue to navigate the evolving landscape of technology, our designation as a "crew" remains a guiding star. It symbolizes our commitment to exploring new frontiers together, armed with the strength of our collective spirit and the shared goal of making technology accessible and efficient for developers everywhere.

At Squid Cloud, being part of the "crew" means valuing each member's contribution, supporting each other through challenges, and celebrating every success on our journey. It's a testament to the power of collaboration and the incredible feats we can achieve when we all pull in the same direction.

When you're ready to transform your software development process or learn more about our crew, you can reach out to us on our Discord server, fill out our contact form to request a demo or more information, or dive in with our onboarding guide and tutorials.