Phase 1: Anticipation and motivation

Having successfully mastered our first Peerox year in 2020, followed by a strenuous Corona winter, we looked to the future with a lot of confidence. Right at the turn of the year, we moved to a larger office in the Robolab at Robotron Datenbanksysteme GmbH and – in addition to a bunch of other leads – had a super pilot customer with lots of opportunities in Bayer AG.

Phase 2: Setbacks and strategy adjustment

Unfortunately, as the Corona numbers increased, so did the cancellations. Planned new customer projects and trade shows were postponed or stopped altogether. The associated uncertainties naturally affected our team. We reacted to this by increasing transparency a bit further: once a quarter since then, management presents the current account balance, current costs, certain and planned revenues, as well as potential projects and an associated timeline.

Make it healthy (dietary sins allowed!) through the holidays; see you in 2022!

In addition, we have firmly established our quarterly retrospective as a communication framework with which we build the company together and exchange personal concerns, ideas and visions. It was precisely this exchange that led us to make an important fundamental decision in the spring of 2021: instead of continuing to invest a lot of energy in new customer acquisition – which was quite hopeless due to the pandemic conditions – we put all our eggs in one basket. We focused fully on product development and our existing customer. Our goal was to be able to demonstrate a marketable product and ROI to the customer as quickly as possible. To be able to meet this expectation, we have hired two software developers, Chris and Andreas. With a stable and marketable software version by Q3/2021, the implementation effort and thus the costs for new customers should be significantly reduced.

But unfortunately the world is not ideal. Internal and external constraints can change, hypotheses can prove flawed, and unforeseen challenges can arise. Thus, our spring and summer was also a thoroughly difficult period. Under high pressure, we tried to react to external influences and, of course, made mistakes ourselves. Instead of thinking in terms of new features and developing MADDOX further, we had to struggle more with trouble shooting. That was frustrating, but also formative. On the fast track to an MVP (Minimal Viable Product), we have consciously accepted technical debts. Gradually, we have been able to resolve these debts through bug fixes and optimization of the development processes. With a significantly higher coverage of automated software tests as well as our CI/CD pipeline, we can now offer an efficient, well-maintainable product.

Phase 3: Reward for the hard work -> MADDOX finally stable!

The perseverance paid off. As of August, we had the biggest challenges under control and were able to fix the final tweaks in a structured way. The stability and reliability of the resulting MADDOX version 3.4 met our requirements and the user acceptance at the customer increased again. At the same time, this phase welded us even closer together as a team. We were able to find out who can handle pressure and how, and how we can support each other. We also reached a major milestone with the release of this version, which is so important for us, and the sale of our first software licenses, thus completing what is probably the most strenuous phase in our young company’s history to date.

Phase 4: We strengthen sales

Even during the great challenges and uncertainty of the summer, we worked intensively on the next steps in the formation of our company. We wanted to actively strengthen sales starting in Q3/2021. To this end, we signed up for our first trade fair and were able to recruit Amie, our first professional full-blooded salesperson. Even though the preparation for the trade fair was stressful as usual and, in view of the Corona development, associated with great uncertainties, the result was a complete success. There were many visitors on site, whom we could convince of us and MADDOX. We are now picking up speed in the follow-up discussions. We are standardizing the acquisition process, developing marketing, revising our homepage and investing in new communication media.

What we can take into the new year

The major setbacks and successes this year have made us grow together even more. We know that we can trust and rely on each other. Home office, vacation, sick days, spontaneous breaks and overtime are no longer a topic of discussion. Everyone takes care of themselves and their fellow Peers, takes their breaks on their own responsibility and does not allow themselves to be steered by the possible perceptions or expectations of others. Furthermore, MADDOX has not only become much more stable. Despite all the difficulties, numerous features have been added, such as the SAP interface, powerful authoring tools, a more robust search algorithm, and significantly better workflows. We have already won numerous new orders for 2022 and are in contact with many exciting potential new customers. So it doesn’t feel like 2022 will be any less exciting in any way. We are looking forward to it tremendously!

We count on; among other things against cancer

and the Africa Rainfall Project

These are our statistics. Do you want to challenge us? 😉

Our internal infrastructure (not the on-premise customer systems) runs on dedicated servers in German data centers that are powered by green electricity. There’s no reason to let computing power we don’t need “go to waste”; we’re not taking performance away from anyone and we’re not increasing our carbon footprint. That’s why we count on WorldCommunityGrid for both our servers and some user devices. This is a non-profit platform where extremely computationally intensive scientific simulations, for example for anti-cancer agents and Covid-19 or climate change adaptation models, are broken down into many small subtasks. These are automatically downloaded over the Internet to the computers and smartphones of hundreds of thousands of participants around the world, computed using free (unused) processor capacity, and sent back. Everyone’s small contributions, which you don’t even notice as an individual, add up to one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world. We have currently already “donated” almost two years of computing time and calculated 6,500 subtasks.

Join us and let your computers, smartphones and servers be part of the scientific community in their “spare time”!

A work-life adventure report by Chiara Westphal.

What initially went through my mind:

  • Home Office generally works surprisingly well.
  • Yay! You can travel relatively well within Europe again.
  • Unlimited vacation – Yes well, but actually my tasks and the whole development of the current projects are much too exciting not to pursue them myself now.

Quiz question: what was I offered to write the latter statement?

1. A pay raise.

2. No punches for a change.

3. Neither. I really feel that way.

Nothing, but we are a cult in disguise whose criterion for joining is some manifestation of insanity that leads to the conceit that work could be fun.

Headed south on the moped!

Result from the above thoughts: I just combine everything and call it home office special weeks. No sooner said than done. So I grabbed a friend (who is self-employed and has the flexibility to work remotely), a motorcycle, climbing and mountaineering gear, booked a few weekend or half-day kayak tours, and headed to the Alps for three weeks.

Week 1: I am writing up the daily plan of being able to use the proximity to the mountains as a partial success. The weather was crappy. An important release was pending, which, to the chagrin of my companion, kept my workload and time at a constant high. In addition, there were small things I had not considered: it is exhausting for all involved when I participate in a web conference from the common room of an accommodation without a headset. – I bought a new headset. Likewise, it is stupid when the accommodation writes that they have WIFI, but it is practically unusable. – I took out a new cell phone contract with a larger mobile data volume. The next few weeks went much better.

My conclusion: these were definitely not the last home office special weeks!

It is interesting at this point to think about everything that has contributed to this conclusion. First and foremost, of course, I had fun. All my hobbies were waiting for me practically at the front door.

Before I started, however, I thought about how well I could create a balance between accessibility and efficiency and, on the other hand, games, fun, and joy. Of course, it has been explicitly communicated in the team so far that it essentially doesn’t matter when and how much everyone works. The main thing is that the tasks are completed and if not, that that information is communicated appropriately. Nevertheless, it’s an interesting experiment to see what happens when you completely ignore common notions of core working hours.

Even if the timing was rather unfavorable, I think that the first week with the release was very important for proving that we could fully rely on each other. I knew it was important, so I was there. From the second week onwards, I tended to arrange my working hours according to the weather. It’s quite  unconventional to first communicate when you’ll be available the evening before or sometimes even on the same day. On sunny days I only worked on important and/or urgent tasks. Of course, this led to the fact that I worked less time overall than I would usually do in the office. Time and again, this led me to ask myself very consciously: is everything going as it should? Yes? Then I can take time off.

An experiment wouldn’t be an experiment if you didn’t also have doubts. It was clear to me that I also had to do small things that I would normally have simply worked on with two hours more time. In this respect, one always weighs up in the background whether what one is doing is sufficient, because one could achieve considerably more if one worked eight hours instead of four. It’s not just me who notices this, but everyone. The communication within the team was extremely pleasant: when in doubt, just ask if there’s anything left to do.

At this point, I would also like to say a big thank you to my friend Basti, who followed my initially not-very-flexible work schedule for three weeks, and played a major role in making it such a great trip.

My cautious request for two spontaneous vacation days in the third week led to the climax of clearly noticeable trust/flexibility/responsibility for myself. The response was: “Yeah, sure. You’ll be able to assess for yourself if that works. Let me know if you still need help rescheduling.” For the colleague, it was really good that I was so far away. Otherwise I would have cuddled him to death in the subsequent rush of euphoria.

In summary, I would rate the whole thing as a complete success. My colleagues have been incredibly accommodating and understanding. Many thanks to you peers for that! It was also interesting to see how well I was able to concentrate in any environment.

If you’re still in the mood for an excerpt of my personal travel highlights, below are my top 3 work vs. play experiences.

Location 3

In week 1 (continual mixed weather) the sun did show up for a while. During this time, I was waiting for information from a colleague–the go ahead to test the new status of a test instance. I asked another colleague to call me as soon as something could be done. In the meantime, I went climbing.
I found the experience of having an official, albeit short, conversation on the third pitch of a climbing route very exhilarating… I could not have imagined this combination of activities before.

HO-Spezial 2

“Hello?!…No, note taking is bad right now…no, I can’t even quickly grab a piece of paper…!”

Location 2

Full-day workshop from a pub in South Tyrol.

It was loud. Fortunately, however, everything was tuned so that my share of speech was minimal. Nevertheless, concentrating on listening demanded a lot from me. It got really good when other guests found me increasingly entertaining, as I sat there with my PC and headset and slurped (really great) pasta on the side. Throughout the meeting, I happily declined four or five invitations to buy me a Grappa. (I know, unnecessary. It would not have made the web conference worse, after all. ^^) During the workshop, one of the waitresses cheerfully yelled across the room, “You work? No! Holiday, holiday!”

When a guest then held his cell phone with a running video call with his father in front of my nose and cheerfully told me something (neither of us spoke a language that the other could understand, but it didn’t seem to matter), I thought it was an appropriate time to carefully bow out of the situation. (Unfortunately, I nevertheless did not drink Grappa with the other guests then, because I still had a four-hour motorcycle trip over the old Brenner Pass ahead of me).

Saturday and Sunday the weather was borderline to mixed, which kept the tension level quite high. Nevertheless (or maybe because of that) we had a great trip, but were also very happy that everything had worked out and we did not have to bivouac somewhere in the rocks.

Location 1

From Saturday to Monday, we toured numerous via ferratas through the Brenta. On Monday, only the descent remained. Since that was only supposed to take four to five hours, I made a business appointment for the afternoon.

The first part of the descent went faster than expected, so we deviated from the original route plan and chose a path past a lake. Only two kilometers away, a lift was supposed to then take us further, so that the new route should not have taken longer than planned.

Arriving at the lift, it was easy to see that it was not running. After a brief exchange with a station employee, he told us that the fastest way down for us was to go cross-country below the gondola. Interesting suggestion. So we tried to run as fast as possible down a slope inclined at about 60 degrees, through all kinds of wet brush.

One good thing was that due to the rather high vegetation, we usually fell relatively softly if we ever stumbled into one of the numerous holes in the ground. Because this was so much fun, I decided to cross a hiking trail (instead of following it) and walk downhill alone for about five kilometers in a partly wrong direction. My companion and I arrived in the valley about three kilometers apart, both to find that there was no reasonable means of transportation (other than a cab, perhaps) that could have gotten us to the car. So we both hitchhiked. It worked out by chance that we arrived at the car at almost at the same time, so that in the end we were on time (there was still this appointment to meet) in the car on the way back to the accommodation. At this point I would like to quote my buddy, who reacted quite incomprehensibly to my tense attitude: “What’s wrong? It all worked out, didn’t it?”

In conversations with family and friends, it becomes clear time and again how many of them would like to embark on the “start-up adventure” themselves. But in the end, only a few dare to do it and are not afraid of failure. Even a look at the statistics is hardly motivating. Especially considering the very low percentage of female founders, we are all blocking a lot of potential.

Our view of the future

For this reason, we discovered early on that we would also like to motivate others to take this step.

While we naturally focus primarily on the present and our challenges as we develop our product and our company, we always take the time to speculate about the future. We think about where we want to go. We talk about visions and goals. This regular deep questioning is very important for us to get a common understanding of each other’s priorities.

A jointly formulated vision was: we help other founders to realize their dreams. We firmly resolved that at some point, with a lot of experience, a network and perhaps some capital, we would help others to make the world a little better. For us, this is especially true for our own employees, if they want to become founders themselves. This strategy was often met with incomprehension: “Others are scrambling for new employees, and you still want to help your people leave the company!” We see it a little differently. Why should it be in our interest to talk our Peers out of starting their own companies, if apparently their inner voice says otherwise? In line with our strategy of not fighting against developments, but steering them in the right direction, the strategy also makes good business sense in our eyes.

  1. We live the personal development of our employees. We stand by this promise, even if it does not serve our interests.
  2. If we can support others from within Peerox and achieve a shared success, it is a success and return for all Peers.
  3. We are creating a trust-based ecosystem and the startup-focused Peer will also go full throttle in the Peerox spirit to eventually enable us to make this vision a reality.

But back to reality: we struggle every day with bugs, difficult decisions, sudden challenges and long sales cycles. Until we help others get started, we have to make sure we do our homework first.

With the foundation of Peerox we have fulfilled a dream–the great freedom to be able to decide everything for ourselves. To be able to determine what we do, how, and when, and to bear full responsibility is a great feeling.

Things never come out the way you expect

However, the vision of Peerox is not only the vision of the two founders. We also addressed the idea of founding start-ups out of Peerox at a joint vision evening and during job interviews, including that with Willi Sontopski. Willi applied to us as a software developer and told us about his own start-up idea. He had an app in mind that would make finding friends easier than ever. Even though we weren’t immediately blown away by the product idea, we were fascinated by his passion and fire. While he got off to a tremendously impressive start at Peerox and now leads his own small backend development team, he worked tirelessly and with seemingly endless energy on his app in his spare time. Suddenly, he stood in front of us and said, “I’ve finished the prototype and would love to get this out there with you guys.”

Thanks to AI, the Conngenial app can “compare apples with oranges” and still identify the commonalities that connect at the core.

Conngenial – Much more than ‘just another’ social app

We were pretty flabbergasted and let him show us his prototype in detail for the first time. It quickly became clear to us that our first thought of “not-yet-a-social-app” was way off the mark. Willi has designed and implemented something that neither of us had ever seen before. It’s simple, intuitive and downright ingenious. The app “Conngenial” is based on describing your interests, preferences and personality via free tags and defining your search goals (friends, romantic relationships, etc.). A machine learning algorithm uses NLP (Natural Language Processing) to analyze this information and calculate a similarity score. For example, dog lovers and cat lovers have a common preference for pets, while downhill fans and mountain bikers share a fascination for bicycles.

Where do we go from here?

“Our working hours are already over the top.” “We need focus.” “We need to do our homework.” … We need many things. What we don’t need as a company is a second baby. On the other hand, Willi has given everything for us over the last few months and has put his heart and soul into Peerox. Besides, what he’s built is a really cool idea. So we decided that we’d help him. We sat down and talked about the “how”: Do we want to start a new company? Do we need investors? How much time can we invest?

Together we decided to start a joint test phase. We wanted to find out whether the world needs Conngenial. To do this, we would provide the infrastructure in Peerox, fund the law firm to review privacy and terms of use, and help with marketing.

A Peerox Project

Willi presented his project and our joint strategy to the other Peers. The response was surprising even for the optimistic founders. Instead of expressing concerns, everyone was happy for Willi and actively looked for ways to support him. We have now moved Conngenial to our servers and offer the download for Android in the Google Play store and for iOS in the Apple app store. The goal for the start of the new semester is to make Conngenial known in Dresden and to show that a simple approach can work.

If you want to try out the app, you can find the link to the iOS or Google app at www.conngenial.de.

We were already active in the city cycling program last year. What has changed since then is that our Peers now have subsidized company cars. We take car sharing seriously–everyone gets two bikes (with saddle and handlebars on them ;-). This is not only better for the environment, but also for the well-being of our Peers.

This year’s city bike race impressively demonstrated what muscle-powered quality bolides we can jump in the process–with a spectacular 507 km in 3 weeks, the Peerox record of the previous year was pulverized by the new Peer-Bike (and its proud owner). Thus, the Golden Air Pump has a new owner! In total, the seven participating Peers put 1,288 km on the road during the campaign, saving 190 kg of CO2.

In the coming year, we want to hold to our steep upward trend and are eagerly upgrading for this. In the meantime, the third Peer bike is already “on the road”…and the trend is rising.

With our technology, we are pulling ahead of everyone who is still riding conventionally. Thanks to the new Peer bikes, we’re no exception on the road.

The 150% funding rate in the crowdfunding project speaks for itself. Good luck with Peer.wins!

How awesome is that! Peer.gewinnt is creating a network for exchange between young people and democratic engagement in Saxony. The project has our full attention, and not just because of its proximity to us by name. We feel comfortable in Saxony, between climbing rocks and swimming lakes, baroque and science. That’s why we want to more firmly anchor the values we stand for as Peerox. To this end, we have been supporting Wirtschaft für ein weltoffenes Sachsen e.V. as a sponsoring member since our founding.

We see similar positive potential in Peer.gewinnt, and were therefore happy to support Aktion Zivilcourage e. V. in crowdfunding the project. We wish for good luck with the implementation and are already looking forward to the results!

Your Peers 😉

Production companies that want to improve their plant and process efficiency rarely look for “self-learning assistance systems”. Rather, they are looking for new possibilities of automation. Our innovative solution approach, MADDOX, as an associated product and the underlying strategy, must therefore first be perceived as a possible solution. Instead of LinkedIn ads & Co., we have therefore relied on conferences, trade fairs, podcasts, and interviews since the beginning in order to be able to explain our concept personally to interested listeners.

The idea of a self-learning assistance system was presented to the general public for the first time at Interpack 2017. The German Engineering Federation (VDMA e.V.) supported the research approach, which until then had only existed as a vision. We were commissioned to take a look into the future at Interpack. Together with a professional film team and the support of GEA Food Solutions Germany GmbH, we created a futuristic eye-catcher. We were allowed to show this to a wide audience at the VDMA booth, discuss it, and build up our network: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUhD4jXtG1I

This is what the vision of a proposal of the assistance system on AR glasses looked like in the 2017 video.

Shortly after our founding in 2019, we received an award from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in the digital technologies start-up competition. At the award ceremony at the EMO in Hannover, our founder Markus was interviewed, and briefly explained our strategy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRoCfjHqZ3Y

In July 2020 we achieved third place at the Saxon Founder Awards. Just in time for Peerox’s first birthday, this was a unique opportunity to celebrate the process of many defeats and great victories in the first intense and exciting year with all our Peers. As a nominee we were allowed to explain our vision in a professional video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSF54RBYkfM

Every year, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) supports start-up activities in universities and research institutions with its “Exist Research Transfer” funding program. We, too, received this support and thus the opportunity to expand our research results and turn them into a marketable product. We were asked about this path, our plan, and the motivation for it in an interview: https://www.exist.de/EXIST/Redaktion/DE/Erfolge/peerox-gmbh.html

The search for suitable Peers with the right hard and soft skills is naturally also a great challenge for us, and a financial risk for the entire team that should not be underestimated. This makes it all the more important for us to work with experienced recruiting partners. In Venturi Ltd. we have found a trustworthy, competent partner, and in the course of the recruiting process we were also given the opportunity to present ourselves and our vision in our own podcast: https://soundcloud.com/user-910706127/markus-windisch-peerox-podcast.

Topics in the video for the series “so geht sächsisch” were, in addition to MADDOX as a product, the underlying philosophy and our great interdisciplinary team.

The podcast “AI in Industry” by Peter Seeberg and Robert Weber has become a firm authority in the field of technology and production in recent years. Meanwhile, many thousands of listeners follow the exciting insights into the diverse areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning. We already know Peter from his collaboration in the VDMA’s Machine Learning Working Group, and have been following the podcast as enthusiastic fans from the very beginning. In the midst of the Corona crisis, we received an invitation for an interview about our assistance system, the technologies behind it and our visions: https://www.kipodcast.de/podcast-archiv/63

At the end of 2020, we were asked by the Saxon State Chancellery to present ourselves and Peerox as part of the series “so geht sächsisch”. In the short video, we provided a look into our office (=Peero) and our plans: https://youtu.be/P4ZsHYzXAhI

From the outside the quick impression is that MADDOX is essentially developed and distributed by two people. After all, the same faces can always be seen. However, while the CEO and CTO advertise their great successes full of self-confidence, in the background our highly motivated Peer team struggles with the real challenges. This great work, team spirit, passion, and suffering are the foundation that allows the proud founders to be able to stand in the spotlight.

If we don’t make mistakes, we are too slow!

“We live in an error culture.” “You only get better by making mistakes.” “I you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn.” These and other words of wisdom can be found in many places. Thy also sound coherent and sensible. After all, there is nothing more annoying than when colleagues cover up mistakes and as a consequence, you run into problems yourself. If everyone deals openly with mistakes, that takes a lot of pressure off of everyone. That’s the theory.

But then, at some point, the day comes when you yourself have (really) missed the mark. This is often followed by the perfectly understandable human reaction of self-protection: “I really can’t do anything about that! Who could have known that? That is clearly the fault of the customer/partner/colleague!” This demonstrates a rather impressive human ability–to protect our own egos, we simply keep telling ourselves that others are to blame until we actually believe it. Unfortunately, it is also very likely that the mistake will then be repeated. As a result of this self-protection, the number of fools and ignoramuses increases steadily.

However, if you really get on your ego’s toes and honestly question yourself, interesting (sometimes painful) insights arise, such as “I was too unfocused,” “I wasn’t prepared enough,” “I didn’t communicate clearly enough,” or “As a customer, I would have expected better.” Honestly admitting these things to yourself and analyzing them with your ego is annoying and can be mighty exhausting, but it helps immensely in the long run.

At Peerox, we believe in speed. We know we don’t have the time or resources to avoid every conceivable mistake in advance. That means we deliberately take risks, try, and fail. We fail all the time and make mistakes all the time. But this is the only way we can find out together what really works. It actually takes more time to cover up mistakes than to try something out and perhaps fail a few times. We are true to the motto, “If we don’t make mistakes, we’re too slow!”

For this strategy, three things are absolutely important for us:

  1. We consciously take risks and assess possible errors/damage! We must not naively run into mistakes that may threaten our existence.
  2. We learn together from our own mistakes and those of our colleagues. We take every opportunity to develop new solution strategies.
  3. We trust each other. Dealing openly with one’s own shortcomings requires a very special team spirit. Each individual Peer protects and promotes this sensitive culture.

In order to live this error culture in the team, some companies have, for example, a so-called “Fuck-up Hour”. People talk about failures together, learn from them and build trust in themselves, each other, and the team as a whole.

At Peerox, the concept of the “Fuck-up Hour” was not radical enough for us. After all, the lessons learned are limited to the part of the team present at the meeting. Absent or new Peers hardly have the opportunity to learn about the failures. For this reason, we maintain a digital “Fuck-up Diary”. This is an internal wiki page. The advantages of written documentation are obvious:

  1. Through the process of writing things down, you reflect on yourself much more. You rethink individual decisions, prerequisites, conclusions, and, above all, the resulting lessons.
  2. Through our daily work in the wiki, the wiki entries from the Fuck-up Diary are presented again and again in searches on similar topics. This also means that our future Peers will keep stumbling across our mistakes from the past.
  3. By constantly reviewing the mistakes we have already made, we can directly apply the lessons we learned in future situations.
  4. Your own ego is significantly more stressed. Letting your pants down like this in front of all your current and future Peers requires a lot of self-reflection, confidence, and courage.

As founders and managing directors, we naturally wrote the first entries. We honestly admit that we weren’t sure at the time whether we weren’t putting too much on the team. Maybe our contributions would remain the only contributions and the whole idea would go up in smoke. But those who know us know that the possibility of embarrassing ourselves to the bone has never been a reason not to do something. Besides, we were pretty sure that if something like this could work with any team, it would work with ours.

Here, too, we were not disappointed in our hopes. The next, relentlessly honest posts followed quite quickly. We talk, discuss, and laugh about our missteps. In this way, we build up a great deal of trust within our team, and create a real culture of mistakes.

Who hasn’t experienced this? At the beginning of the year, you sit down together as a family and spread out your contractually regulated vacation days over the year. However, this inflexible planning often does not fit in with a flexible life. Especially urgently needed short breaks are often not taken into consideration with respect to the remaining vacation and possibly missing days off at Christmastime. There are discussions about how many days can transfer into the next year and when vacation may or can be forfeited. Everything is calculated, pushed around, and pocketed. Sometimes things can get very tight. This system, which has been practiced for decades, is based on the assumption that employees only show up for work because they cannot currently take vacation. But can this be the basis for motivation, passion, and personal goals?

 

What happens if you question this idea? What happens if everyone in the team can take as much vacation as they want/need?

The Peerox formula:

Goal + Motivation + Freedom = Success

Because only those who have the freedom to think outside the box in order to get to their destination can achieve that goal in the best possible way!

At Peerox, we believe that managing performance by monitoring working hours and attendance makes no sense at all. Whether someone is on vacation, takes flextime, exclusively puts their feet up in the home office, or spends their office day on Facebook is completely irrelevant in the end. The end result of the work is rarely related to the hours worked. On the contrary, taking regular breaks, recharging the battery, and then really stepping on the gas with the team can result not only in greater satisfaction and health, but also in greater efficiency.

To take this meaningless pressure off every Peer at Peerox, we’ve introduced unlimited paid vacation. This means every Peer can take as much vacation as he or she wants. There are just a few rules to follow:

  1. The system will only work if everyone can rely on each other and there is a deep trust. The team motivates and treats each other to the breaks they deserve. At the same time, absences are planned in close consultation. The moment the well-being of the team and the achievement of our vision no longer play a role for the individual Peer, the system will fail. In this case, however, we have probably made other fundamental mistakes and probably have no chance of keeping Peerox alive with the current spirit anyway.
  2. Vacations are announced with at least their planned duration as lead time. This helps the team to plan, build trust, and coordinate tasks and customer communication with each other.
  3. The minimum vacation must be taken. To monitor this, we will continue to log the vacation days, in particular to be able to condemn lazy peers to a forced vacation. We will be very careful to make sure that everyone takes care of themselves. After all, we still have huge plans for every single individual.

The principle of “unlimited vacation” has already been tested in a number of companies around the world. The results vary greatly. While in some companies, the high level of trust has led to positive effects, others report exploitation effects, inequality, resentment, or a lack of courage to take any vacation at all. We talked to many people about our idea in advance. On average, people do not believe that this principle can actually work. It is assumed that the negative effects clearly outweigh the positive ones. But we believe that Peerox offers every single Peer so many personal development opportunities, common challenges with our interesting project partners and fun in the team that even egoistic considerations lead to not wanting to put this working environment at risk. Therefore, we would like to prove the opposite, make our vision come true with our guiding principles, and dare to try this experiment. We will see whether we are ultimately revealed to be naive, idealistic dreamers with dissatisfied Peers and an insolvent Peerox, or whether trusting in the personal drive of the Peers once again releases new forces and joy in the work.

We are very happy about the nomination for Founder of the Year! But what does it actually take to be one?

Courage and willingness to take risks?

Exceptionally good ideas?

Enthusiasm for one’s product?

All of our Peers, who together form a great company, share these qualities. That’s why we decided–bypassing the initiators of the award–  😉 that a fabulous 13 heads are nominated at Peerox alone. With this number of nominations, our only one-year-old company is on a par with cinematic masterpieces like “The Shape of Water”.

Now it’s up to you to finish the following sentence by casting your vote by Aug. 16:

And the Oscar Founder of the Year award goes to…