Dr Alex Young

How To Build Culture While Eating A Cinnamon Bun

Published over 2 years ago • 3 min read

Hey Folks,

Let's look at building a strong culture by jumping into a little Virti lore with the story of why our Friday team meeting is called the "Cinnamon Bun" which involves New York City and strong coffee....

At Virti we've built a great company culture despite having a fully remote and distributed team with people in New Zealand, California and Europe spread across different time zones. One of the ways we have done this is with regular team meetings that bookend the week. The Monday team meeting allows everyone to catch-up after the weekend and I start the week with a quote and do some quick whole team coaching to remind people of our company culture of Be Bold, Be Fast and Be Amazing; usually selecting one of these and using it in a practical example relevant to the week. At the end of the week on a Friday we have our "Cinnamon Bun" meeting which allows people to reflect on the week and give shout-outs to other team members to celebrate the company culture.

The very first time we ran a remote all-hands Friday team meeting through a zoom link myself and Virti CTO Nils were in New York on a business trip around Christmas time. We had spent most of the day in meetings at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in our NYC coworking offices. Keen to check out the Christmas tree at The Rockefeller Center which had been put up on the Friday we headed into Manhattan planning to take the team call with the tree in the background to show the engineering team in the UK. As we got close to Rockefeller Plaza I pulled up google maps to find the best place to grab a coffee near 48th and 5th. A few places were close but one caught my attention. It was a Swedish Church which also had a coffee shop. As Nils is Swedish we made the decision to check it out. In addition to serving extremely strong black coffee there were also cinnamon buns on offer and a variety of Swedish treats. This fairly serendipitous coffee shop choice became lore at Virti and hence why we named the Friday all hands meeting after it, where we reflect on the week and say what we've learned and share our weekly highlights. So continuing with tradition I hope you enjoy these Sunday CEO newsletters complete with quotes, what I have learned and some of my highlights from around the web. If you'd like to see anything covered in the blog, YouTube or in this newsletter feel free to hit the reply button.

Have a productive week!


✍️ Quote of the Week

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control, now. - Denis Waitley

🏔️ What I've Learned This Week

After a great interview with a candidate we offered a to job this week it reminded me that regardless of people's academic backgrounds or experience there is nothing that beats employees who are a culture fit for your organisation. In startups this is often hungry, ambitious people who are passionate about the company mission and thrive in uncertainty. It's not too dissimilar to people who do well in high-pressure environments like medicine and surgery and putting them under pressure at interview and with pre-interview tasks usually allows these folks to stand out.

📚 Weekly Highlights

🎤 TED Talk - I (again) rewatched Master Shi Heng Yi's TED talk on the 5 hindrances to self-mastery, which blends humour, mindfulness and insight. “The universal law of being successful and happy at the same time means finding the balance”. One of my favourites.

🎙 Podcast - Really interesting hearing what Michael Pollan learned from quitting caffeine for 3 months on the JRE. I've recently purchased an Aeropress to make coffee and the history behind caffeine was really insightful.

🎬 This Week's Videos

📰 This Week's Press and Articles

I'm speaking at Shift Medical VR today and The MedTech Expo next week

🔌 Connect with me on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok

Dr Alex Young

AI, learning and productivity

Hey I'm Alex! I’m a Surgeon, Founder and CEO Focused On Learning and Human Performance. I explore the systems and techniques that help us live healthier, wealthier, happier and more productive lives.

Read more from Dr Alex Young

👋 Welcome to the 1027 NEW readers this week. Hey Folks, It's been a crazy 7 days in the world of AI! From Sam Altman's firing and rehiring to the news that OpenAI's Project Q* might be the closest thing to AGI yet! To help make Thursday Thunder as helpful as possible I'd be really grateful if you could take this short survey to see what you'd like to see from myself and my team over the next 6-months. 🏔️Quote of the Week “When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not...

5 months ago • 3 min read

👋 Welcome to the 923 NEW readers this week. Hey Folks, It's been huge week with the OpenAI Developer Day and lots of crazy announcements. In today's Thursday Thunder we'll be running down how people have started to use GPT4 Turbo and the new GPTs builder and API. Let's go! 🏔️Quote of the Week “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” — Vince Lombardi ✍️ Today's Prompt - Sales Cold Email Prompt "I need a cold email idea that will engage my [ideal...

6 months ago • 1 min read

👋 Welcome to the 1,053 NEW readers this week. Hey Folks, This week I've been juggling my time between speaking engagements, my ed-tech companies and keeping up with all the latest tech and learning news to share with you in today's newsletter. I've recently been on a hiring spree across my portfolio of businesses and it always surprises me how the best candidates often have similar stand-out characteristics regardless of the job they're applying for. Attention to detail, life-long learning...

7 months ago • 4 min read
Share this post