Every Friday morning, we have a MailChimp Coffee Hour. Most Fridays, it’s to talk about what’s going on around the office. We started doing this after our company reached 100 employees or so. As you can imagine, a weekly company meeting can get really boring and repetitive.
We hate repetition.
So every once in a while, we invite creative, interesting, thought-provoking, and downright weird people to come and teach us something new. Lots of companies do this. Etsy has their excellent "Code as Craft" talks, and we all know about the Talks at Google. But if there's an ulterior motive to ours, it's to emphasize the importance of creativity, chaos, and loving what you do.
Art director, designer and author James Victore explained how truth, bravery, and love connect with his work. He also challenged us to read poetry.
99% Invisible host Roman Mars performed a live version of his show, answered questions about design and journalism, and regaled us with stories about his kids.
Comedian and writer Baratunde Thurston introduced us to his new company, Cultivated Wit, discussed his best-selling book, How to Be Black, and gave us a hilarious behind-the-scenes look at his former employer, The Onion.
Kevin Mitnick, author of Ghost in the Wires and once the world's most wanted computer hacker, stopped by to scare the crap out of us with tales about his illicit adventures. He still haunts us every day.
"The Black Widow"
Billiards legend Jeanette Lee, best known as "The Black Widow," described her triumph over scoliosis and showed us some mind-blowing trick shots.
Writer and engineering manager Michael Lopp inspired us with a talk called "Designers, Programmers, and Dictators."
Software developer, writer, and musician Zed Shaw taught several of our departments—UX, support, developers, delivery, marketing—how to start coding in Ruby.
Security technologist and author Bruce Schneier talked to us about trust, cooperative systems, and the abuse of those systems.
ROFLCon co-founder and Pacific Social Architecting Corporation Chief Scientist Tim Hwang talked to us about using Twitter bots for good—and what happens when a human falls in love with one.
Award winning video game composer Chris Rickwood made music in front of us. By turning a sound sample from a MailChimp employee into a song, he proved that "the real world sounds badass."
Entrepreneur and best-selling author Seth Godin talked to us about the importance of being weird.