This page is maintained by Stephane Roux
TL;DR: Creating a meaningful space for people who want to find fulfilment in remote work.
- We have a dual mission at Wonder
- We want to build a product that brings people together online.
- We want to create a community of people who find fulfilment in focused, creative work.
- Our theses about the future
- Wonder will be the primary space where groups meet, talk, exchange ideas, and work together
We have a dual mission at Wonder
We want to build a product that brings people together online.
We mean people like you and I who are on Wonder to be with other people, to collaborate, share knowledge or form human connections. Wonder should make this experience a delight - meeting people made easier than ever before. Organizers are also important, but they are happy when their group interacts and their communities thrive.
What this means for hiring
We hire product lovers, people who have strong opinions about great products and what makes them great. People who rave about the newest technologies and what they can do for us.
What this means for customer success
We take a holistic perspective on the product experience. Customer success and marketing should need to give users an experience that is consistent with the overall experience of the product.
What this means for product development
Every developer thinks like a product owner. We're building a complex product that is lives through its. Those cannot be planned or dictated top-down, so each developer needs to bring in their own judgement about what the product feels like.
What this means for the role of design
Design plays a key role in our development process. By 'design' we don't just mean a shiny surface, but taking a systematic and thoughtful approach to user needs, to their journey before, during and after Wonder, to the information architecture of the product and to the visual language. We try to create a consistent product experience that users love.
What this means for our strategy
We optimize for end user experience. We track closely how our users interact with the product and we speak to them frequently.
We want to create a community of people who find fulfilment in focused, creative work.
We don't work hard, play hard. We see work as play. Like other forms of play (sports, music, theatre), work is hard and requires passion and dedication. Finding pride in your work, in doing something truly outstanding, is the greatest source of fulfilment you can find in life. We believe that collaboration is the only way to build something outstanding and this is why we practice empathy and mutual understanding. We celebrate each other's victories and help each other grow.
What this means for hiring
We only hire team players who are committed to creating a caring and respectful team culture.
What this means for organizational design
We constantly try to make our organization a better place and follow research on New Work, productivity and organizational psychology.
What this means for team culture
Great collaboration only happens when you are inspired by the people you work with and when you get along. We spend a lot of time onboarding new hires, explaining things and taking the time to listen. And we spend time together outside of the office.The team culture values we cherish are: empathy, personal growth, sense of humour and ambition.
What this means for personal development
We help each other improve. We run monthly feedback sessions and clearly communicate goals and development needs. We give praise and celebrate victories together. Each one of us has a personal development budget that they can use to learn a language, and instrument or become a better communicator.
What this means for our operating mode
We think hard about how to create the right environment for collaboration and focus work. Everyone is kept up to date with what is happening in the company. We collaborate across roles and topics. At the same time, we protect focus time through no-meeting Thursdays and avoid meetings before lunch.
When we formalised our vision for Wonder, we first put some theses to paper about what the world will look like after COVID. Based on that, we wrote down how Wonder fits into that world. We will briefly explain those theses here and then talk about the vision for the product.
Our theses about the future
Remote is the new normal, especially for large groups
The pandemic accelerated an underlying trend that will continue when the crisis ends. Meeting remotely just makes sense, as it gives you access to global communities with a few clicks and at a low cost. This is especially true for groups because the overall financial and administrative costs of getting together in-person increase exponentially with the number of people. Additionally, many of the drawbacks of meeting virtually will be reduced drastically, as people create new norms and habits, discover new tools and make investments into their infrastructure.
Getting together online will be different from in-person
The way people got together in groups until now was largely dictated by logistics. Group events are long, infrequent and bundle together broad audiences, because travel costs are high. They are planned far ahead of time and dominated by organisers, because they require so much coordination. They are neither democratic, nor inclusive, because they are inaccessible to communities whose meetings don't generate financial value, or to people who cannot afford to be parts of those communities. Last, they yield communities based on geographic proximity, because the travel costs increase with distance.
Remote meetings will be short, frequent and targeted. They will be more spontaneous, community-driven and inclusive. And they will create entirely new communities based on purpose, not limited by geographic boundaries. We don't know what else will change about remote meetings, but we can be sure that they will be set up in a way that allows people to satisfy their need for spontaneous human interaction and for connection. In the future, the transactional nature of remote communication will be a thing of the past.
There will be a single space where groups get together
People gravitate towards using the "standard" option for most products and this dynamic will be particularly pronounced when it comes to shared virtual spaces. Already, we observe users opting for the default tool for meetings, because they want to avoid others having to learn how to use a new product. The willingness to experiment with new tools is still high, but like social networks pre-Facebook, the world will settle for a space that everyone is familiar with and that works best.
That space will be the center of different kinds of activities for groups
Whatever activities groups engage in, they use some form of communication tool, often alongside a more specialised tool. To minimise switching, it makes sense for them to use the place they get together as a base for other activities that are connected to it. The same is true for in-person group meetings: the office contains a whiteboard, a kitchen, a work station and a post office, so that people can move from activity to activity, while staying in the same space. Virtual communication tools will play the same role of offering a layer that connects people, allowing them to switch between activities while remaining connected.
Wonder will be the primary space where groups meet, talk, exchange ideas, and work together
It will have a broad range of use cases
Because group meetings across different use-cases resemble each other, Wonder will have a broader user base than other products. Similar to Dropbox, Slack or Zoom, Wonder won't focus on a single vertical (e.g. conferences). The common use-case is that of groups meeting in order to engage in some form of common activity that involves dynamic interaction. This means that we will focus on groups that are large enough to split (i.e. a dozen users) but not large enough to require highly complex host features and customisation (i.e. several thousands users). We will also not focus on gatherings that contain no dynamic and spontaneous interaction (e.g. lectures or webinars). Last, we will focus on B2B use cases, as most groups meetings of that kind take part in professional or semi-professional contexts. Last, we will focus on group meetings
Users will switch activities without switching tool through integrations
Wonder will be the space that other activities revolve around. Users will join workshops on Wonder and then move on to join a presentation, followed by a reception. This means that it will contain integrations to enable all kinds of activities, allowing communities to remain on Wonder.
The social experience of meeting as a group on Wonder will be better than meeting in-person
Wonder will provide a better social experience for groups than in-person meetings can. Beyond the coordination effort, big group meetings are hard to navigate for most people. They don't know who to speak to, find it hard to initiate and maintain conversations, speak too little or too much and don't have access to the infrastructure to make the most of their meeting (e.g. you can't spontaneously run a poll or share a video in-person).
Wonder will help people have meaningful conversations by providing them with the right kind of environment and helping them navigate social situations. This is where Wonder can have a positive impact - we can help people develop healthy conversational habits (including new joiners, showing appreciation, taking turns speaking, remembering faces, etc.).
The goal is that people who are in the same building prefer to meet on Wonder rather than meeting in-person in the hall.
The spatial metaphor is just the beginning
Projecting a space onto a browser was the biggest improvement we could make to group interactions at this point in time. As Wonder is used more broadly and across more devices (mobile, wearables and VR), this interaction paradigm will be expanded and reinvented. The guiding principle is that Wonder provides a space that allows people to interact in groups, responding to whatever way people choose to connect.
Access to Wonder is immediate and frictionless
Milliseconds and steps matter. People should always be just a few clicks away from getting together, whether they are at work or on the bus.
Wonder will make group meetings more democratic and spontaneous
We do not privilege organisers over community members. Wonder helps communities organise themselves by encouraging interaction and making easy for different members of the community to set up gatherings.