Mystery Saves Company Culture in Seattle Startup

About the Company: Seattle Startup Mystery

It’s not a “mystery” that this company is all about good times. Startup Mystery‘s distributed team specializes in bringing surprise and delight to their clients’ corporate cultures through gifting and both virtual and in-person events. During COVID, they adopted Voodle to maintain human connection across their team and it really saved the day! We connected with co-founder and CEO Shane Kovalsky to hear more details. He broke down how short async video works for his crew, especially when it comes to their company culture.

Industry: Entertainment, Service


The Challenge

Over their first two years, Mystery broke out with an adventurous spirit and a deft fit for their users. Kovalsky’s team zeroed in on the best way to plan a night that meets your tastes, curiosities, and budget. They do the planning, you enjoy the surprise! Then came COVID19, and Mystery hit the ground running to make the shifts in the world work for them. They now offer a Night In, plus Mystery for Business which includes Corporate Team Events and Corporate Gifting. Mystery’s packaged adventures are coming through for individuals and companies when “Zoom happy hours” just aren’t cutting it. That being said, the team at Mystery was not immune to the effects of losing a physical office.

Before COVID, Mystery had a vibrant office culture and compelling experiences for hiring and onboarding. They drew in employees who tried their product first and knew this was a business they could get behind. Mystery’s Seattle in-office vibe was energizing and bonding. So, it’s not shocking that the shift to remote work left a void in their employee’s lives. Zoom and Slack were fine for the basics of work. However, more human and spontaneous moments were being lost on their newly distributed team without the right remote work tools. As a result, Mystery’s leadership team was looking for something more. There was an urgent need to maintain their company culture and drive personal connections.

The Solution

As a next-gen, async short video app made for teams, Voodle was just what they needed. Nerves around hiring and onboarding as a distributed team vanished. Voodle’s short async video platform allowed Mystery’s team to connect via video quickly and easily with candidates. It also empowered them to better respect people’s differences in schedules and time zones. More teammates could get a feel for who a candidate is as a person – and vice versa. Voodle cuts the stress of coordinating multiple calendars or making choices about who gets left out of the hiring process.

For onboarding, Voodle lets new hires process information in short but still personal ways. They get the connection of another human face without having to schedule another Zoom meeting. Mystery uses Voodle as a remote work tool to ease new teammates into their workflow. They can also answer questions as they come up and make introductions in a way that works best for everyone.

From the Users:
young white man smiling at camera with navy t-shirt demonstrating friendly company culture

“We’re actually getting to know them… Getting to know them more than just slack or email or maybe a zoom call.”


-SHANE KOVALSKY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF MYSTERY

But our short async video app goes way beyond hiring and onboarding. Voodle fixes the challenges of the new workplace by transforming the way information is shared and discovered across the organization. Mystery embodies the ways Voodle can powerfully unite employees despite being dispersed across home offices. (Which, for Mystery, include kitchens, basements, and even an outdoor shed!) Short async video equips Mystery’s distributed team to share more effective async updates and experience more real human connection.

We talk faster than we type and listen faster than we read. A quick video captures and relays details to your team from anywhere. Mystery uses Voodles to provide on-the-ground updates to the entire team, as well as across specific departments. During a photo shoot, the marketing team shares Voodles to keep everyone in on the action. Short video updates help the entire team feel almost like they’re at the shoot too. This boosts and reinforces a company culture of transparency and partnership.

Additionally, Mystery used Voodle to document construction of its new Denver warehouse for the organization. Email updates with attached photos from halfway across the country don’t quite capture the experience. The young and growing company wanted better access to the progress and excitement of this pivotal project. As a result of adding Voodle, Mystery’s Seattle-based and remote teammates can ride along. They all can watch short videos from their in-person connection to see exactly how the warehouse is coming together. All at their own convenience.

The Results

Voodle proved to be the exact remote work tool Mystery needed. After 1 year, 2X the employee growth, 3X the time zones and multiple pivots, Voodle helped save their company culture. We’ve talked before about the loss of “water cooler moments” due to the shift to remote work. Our unplanned exchanges while we’re on the move at work allow us to connect as people, not just as colleagues. Furthermore, these moments often support the foundation of company culture. Voodle makes a huge difference in filling that gap and including teammates spread across the country, not just in Seattle.

From the Users:
image showing person with large dog in office reflecting company culture

“Voodle really fit for those small moments that kind of brought the team together.”


-SHANE KOVALSKY, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO OF MYSTERY

In addition to an enhanced async onboarding experience, Mystery’s newest hires benefit from the Voodle Library in particular. The “library” is an AI-powered searchable database of all company voodles. A quick search through Mystery’s Voodle history gives insight into individual personalities, distributed team dynamics, and more.

In addition to team-specific channels for internal updates, Mystery continues to create original, organic channels that keep things fun. Organic channels popping up are a great sign of company culture health. Mystery’s inspired us with quite a few of theirs:

  • Thursday Vibes – Mystery has been killing it with this weekly 60-second lip sync challenge. The team can contribute and enjoy ‘the vibes’ when it’s convenient for them.
  • Foodles – With a team of foodies, Mystery shares delicious meals, as well as pandemic-safe recommendations for food adventures.
  • Cute Things – Sometimes, you just need a cat video. Also, a dog video. Or to get to know your colleague’s cute kids a bit better.

Thursday Vibes

Mystery has been killing it with this weekly 60-second lip sync challenge. Voodle allows folks to contribute and enjoy when it’s convenient for them.

white man in cowboy hat with application overlay describing transcription, speed of video, volume, likes, comments, & share

Foodles

With a team full of foodies, Mystery shares tons of delicious meals with each other, as well as pandemic safe recommendations for food adventures.

meat filled sandwich with application overlay describing transcription, speed of video, volume, likes, comments, & share

Cute Things

Sometimes, you just need a cat video. Or a dog video. Or to get to know your colleague’s cute kids and family a bit better.

white medium sized dog staring at toy with application overlay describing transcription, speed of video, volume, likes, comments, & share

Build Company Culture Using Voodle as a Remote Work Tool for Your Distributed Team

In the end, the benefits of Voodle for Mystery in and beyond Seattle were clear:

  • On-the-ground, project updates, are accessible and clear from anywhere
  • Lost “water cooler moments” are replaced with authentic, short videos
  • New hires can get up to speed on the people and jump into company culture
  • Remote work is now an opportunity for creativity and team bonding through Voodle!

It’s easy to get started using Voodle as a remote work tool and more. Click here to download the app for the web or on a phone. Create a group, then share your first voodle with colleagues, teams, or your entire organization!

With a quick click or tap, you can record and share short videos with coworkers across the Voodle platform. This includes integrations to other business applications where work gets done, like Slack, Teams, Salesforce, and Hubspot. Above all, our team is hard at work connecting users like Mystery with the features they need.

“This is the best async experience out there that allows you to get to know your people.”

-Shane Kovalsky, co-founder and CEO of Mystery

Sign up on your browser, iOS, or Android to get your local or distributed team connected using short async video. We’ve heard from Voodle users everywhere from home offices to construction sites. We want to know how Voodle works for YOU. The future of work is ready. Are you?