In this week’s spotlight, we are highlighting a company that turn million dollar assets into billion dollar businesses. Left of the Dot Media incubates businesses with the best domain names and creates a new, more profitable way to appreciate the value of premium domain names. This Technology Impact Award recipient also values having fun and making the world a better place. Read on to learn more about what life is like at Left of the Dot Media…
1. Describe your company and your primary product(s) and/or service(s).
Left of the Dot Media (LOTD) has two main business models:
1. We incubate million dollar domain names and turn them into multi-million dollar businesses.
2. We have developed a new mobile app and platform, named YO! (www.YO.com) that allows users to share and connect without using the Internet.
INTERNET BUSINESS CREATION
The company’s co-founders, John Lyotier and Chris Jensen, have a strong background in Internet marketing and the Domain world; a world where it is not uncommon for the best domain names to be sold for millions of dollars. They believe that behind every great domain name, there is a business just waiting to emerge. At Left of the Dot, we incubate businesses using the very best domain names out there. The company searches out opportunities where we can disrupt, support, and provide liquidity to rapidly growing markets. Incubated businesses include: Christmas.com, RentalHomes.com, CruiseShips.com, and more than 20 others.
YO! CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED
As the flagship product of LOTD’s incubation program, YO! is a free mobile application and platform that allows users to chat, share, and discover content with others nearby. The patent-pending technology behind YO! makes it possible to share data peer-to-peer between smartphones without using the Internet. Photos, videos, messages, and even other apps can all be transmitted along the network’s edge over existing Wi-Fi routers and access points, or sent directly between phones using on-device Wi-Fi technology. The practical result is that content can now be shared between users without the need for expensive data plans or Internet connectivity and at a much faster speed and with much greater privacy and security. The mission behind YO! is to connect every person on the planet. Yep. Every single one of them, whether connected to the Internet or off-the-grid entirely.
2. How many employees currently work at your company?
The company was founded by John and Chris in 2010 with a $100,000 investment. For the first year they operated out of Starbucks and basements; they had no staff but engaged freelancers around the world to help build out the initial businesses via online services. Now, the company has over 80 full-time employees (or Lefties as we call them) separated into two regional branches: 20 in our main office in Maple Ridge and 60+ in our two development offices in Bangladesh.
3. Where are you located?
Our co-founders chose to locate Left of the Dot in the suburb of Maple Ridge as that was where they lived. They wanted to create a business in the community in that which they lived so that they would have a greater opportunity for giving back to and impacting their local community. With the office being closer to where most in the Metro Vancouver region actually live (right next to the north off ramp to Golden Ears bridge), Lefties enjoy many perks of this location including shorter commutes, free parking, and a better work-life balance.
4. Describe the culture at your company. What does your leadership team (and company as a whole) do to support/grow that culture?
We believe we have a pretty great culture here at Left of the Dot. It is actually one of our competitive advantages in our recruiting, along with our awesome new office…Did we mention we have an espresso machine and a soft serve ice cream maker? However, as great as all those things are, it all starts with our people, our beloved Lefties. We can honestly say that we have an incredible team who live by the saying, “Work hard and play hard”.
In offering our Lefties a great work-life balance, which includes core hours so that each team member can structure their day around their other commitments, we offer the flexibility that is appreciated amongst our team members. For example, some Lefties need to drop their kids off at school in the morning; this is totally manageable as they are able to simply shift their work day to start and end a bit later – a foreign concept to those who have to commute into the city of Vancouver every day.
As a team, we recently participated in bootcamp classes twice a week at a local fitness gym in preparation for Tough Mudder in Whistler. We are proud to say that our 20-person team completed the course and “No One was Left Behind”. This incredible team building event was one that our Lefties will talk about for years to come (especially the Cry Baby™ and Arctic Enema™ obstacles). On any given Friday, you will often hear team members reminiscing during beer o’clock about these killer obstacles.
Other key elements to our culture include our games room, where you may even get a chance to compete against a world-class table tennis athlete (who may also be our Product Manager, Travel Brands by day). Or, if ping pong is not your thing, there is also a foosball table and upcoming company-wide tournament.
However, it is not all about us. One of our core values is to ‘Make a Difference in Your Community’. Each Lefty is given unlimited community days, and these days can be used to take time off to volunteer and give back to their community. The only caveat is that the employee needs to take photos to show the team, the equivalent of, “It needs to be Facebook Official.” Our Lefties, have volunteered at Ronald McDonald House, donated blood, and supported several local families through Christmas hampers, along with countless other charitable initiatives. We are so proud of the impact they have had in their community!
5. When your employees talk about your company, what do they brag about?
“I brag about working for a company that truly respects my goals and values. We celebrate our community contributions and that’s very exciting to talk about!” ~Josh Viner, Product Manager, Travel Brands
“I usually brag about the people, I’m proud to say that I’m friends with every single person who works here. I brag about having the best bosses around who are not only absolute characters, but are very supportive and involved in the company. I also boast that I work in the best office in town because it’s true.”
~Brandon Hui, Brand Manager
“When people bring up work, I’m always the first to start talking about how lucky I am to be part of a family-oriented team that encourages us to pursue our passions and guide us in creating the impossible. Everyone here is willing to invest time into one another to see them succeed in every way.” ~Moni Manhas, Business Analyst (SFU co-op)
“A lot of things! A great, open culture! Awesome teammates! A great office that promotes a healthy lifestyle! And a chance to work on an exciting product that can actually impact the lives of so many. At the heart of it all though, we are an organization that strongly believes that business and community must be linked together, and by doing so, a deeper level of success can be achieved.” ~Saju Abraham, Senior Mobile Product Manager
6. Describe your most recent achievement, milestone, reason for bragging rights.
We feel we have a lot to brag about right now, including: a funky new office in the heart of Maple Ridge; the launch of our revolutionary new app YO! in March (which now has over 350,000 installs); and our team completing Tough Mudder Whistler in June. But, most of all, our recent high comes from winning the Technology Impact Award for Community Engagement from the BCTIA. Our community engagement program here at Left of the Dot is core to our values, and being recognized for the work that we do to better those around us was truly a monumental moment for all us.
7. What kind of roles are you hiring for? What kinds of people are you looking for?
Our philosophy is this: Attitude is more important than Experience. And by ‘Attitude’ we are not talking about sass, sarcasm, or self-confidence (though sometimes a little of each of these may be found in the people you may be working with). We are talking about a willingness to learn, grow, and adapt to the fast-paced, day-to-day activities that will be thrust upon you. We believe we can teach skills, but you cannot teach people to care. You can’t teach attitude.
As such, we are always looking for great people. If you are looking for inspiring projects to work on, a way to impact your community, and a place where you get to work with an incredible team, please check out our careers page on www.leftofthedot.com/category/careers or www.yo.com/career.
8. What is your company goal for the coming year?
We launched YO! in the spring of this year, and we are very encouraged by the take up we have seen in our target markets. Our users are finding real value in our app as it addresses a real pain that they experience every day. We are very excited for what the future holds for YO! We will be releasing YO! 2.0 later this year, and this will be the next big step in our journey. A better user experience coupled with an exciting new feature we have been working on that goes beyond discovering just people around you are some of the highlights. We believe that this new release will allow us to continue the momentum that we have already generated and gain further traction while helping to connect the next billion people.
We will also be placing a large effort on engagement with the app as we connect with our users and share with them all of the ways that YO! can help them to connect and share with those who mean the most to them. Understanding our users in our target markets and how they use our app—and making a better product for them—is our top priority.
To learn more about Left of the Dot, visit them online at www.leftofthedot.com.
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