Street Culture: MomentFeed CEO Says ‘Don’t Work Here Unless You Absolutely Must’

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MomentFeed officeStreet Culture is a new feature where we take a closer look at the office culture and people at some of the most dynamic startups in the hyperlocal industry.

The cycling, yoga-practicing, personable CEO of Santa Monica-based MomentFeed tells every potential hire, “Don’t come work here.”

Don’t come work at MomentFeed, Robert Blatt said, unless you absolutely must.

“What we want are people who, for wherever they are in their careers, this is the job that they absolutely have to have,” Blatt said. “If you don’t really, really want to work here, please don’t come. We’re a company that’s not driven by a CEO or an executive team. MomentFeed is driven by every single one of the people who work here. It’s driven by people’s aspirations, not their fears, and that makes it a really different place to work. That’s how we galvanize.”

MomentFeed is a software company that provides local marketing platforms for multi-location national brands such as JCPenney, The Home Depot and Disney. The company reported that it received $5.5 million in investments in 2013, and has at least doubled in both revenue and the number of customers each year since.

The growth is tempered, though, Blatt said. MomentFeed is five years old, and currently employs 65 people.

“We only grow at a rate that guarantees that we can provide [our customers] the product and expertise that will drive that high level of customer success,” he said. “It takes a lot longer to train our sales people, our partner development people, our client success managers. We are growing rapidly, but we really limit our growth so we can always deliver client success. That’s unique.”

Blatt said it takes six months to fully train employees so they understand all aspects of the business goals, products and the market being served. That process helps each member of the company feel truly supported and confident in their objectives and abilities with clients.

“A lot of times, what happens as companies grow is the organizational IQ goes down,” Blatt said. “Early employees know everything about everything. Then, each new person who is added knows less and less about what is most important. We refuse to let that happen to us.”

MomentFeed developed an “organic learning system” to encourage information sharing across the company. Each employee is already gaining an invaluable knowledge base about particular parts of the business, just based on his or her personal interests. One person is a subject matter expert on Facebook. Another knows Google. Another understands how MomentFeed best serves franchises.

The employees continually update written material and teach each other. One employee, Blatt said, took it upon himself to learn how Google My Business works, spending countless hours researching and testing search results.

“The way Google puts information into Google My Business is unbearably complicated,” Blatt said. “[The employee] Eoghan, he’s really amazing. He traveled up to Google several times and it got to the point where they said to him, ‘We believe you actually know more about this than anybody at Google.’”

Another employee, Alex, is the MomentFeed expert on local SEO: “He did a massive amount of research [to understand] how, when you type in ‘juice’ in Google maps, what determines who shows up in the top search results. A lot of brands are invisible when it comes to search. [Alex] developed the learning materials that we use to help our clients.”

Alex’s expertise in optimizing search and discovery is so valuable, Blatt said, that he teaches a class on the topic about three times every quarter.

Local marketplaces are changing quickly, though, and so is the way consumers are finding places to eat and shop. Blatt says that MomentFeed’s culture of enabling its employees with time, knowledge and communication is helping it retain staff, and succeed as a locally-driven business.

April Nowicki is a Street Fight contributor.