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  • In business 5 years
  • Funding modelBootstrapped
  • Team size 11

We are a consulting firm that helps companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. Additionally, we run a well-known media publication, Last Week in AWS.

The Duckbill Group profile

As a company, we help people improve their experiences in working with AWS. We do this through our media properties and our boutique consulting practice.

On the Media side of the house, we focus on helping people stay up to date on the latest news in the AWS ecosystem through our newsletter, Last Week in AWS, two podcasts, Screaming in the Cloud and AWS Morning Brief, and public speaking at conferences and vendor events.

On the Consulting side of things, we help companies fix the horrifying AWS bill by making it both smaller and easier to understand. We provide our clients with expert advice and peace-of-mind around their AWS costs.

How do you maintain flexibility & balance for your team?

We try our best to support a healthy balance between work, family, and life through a few things:

  • We are remote-first and have been since day 1.
  • We have a standard vacation policy of three paid weeks off, in addition to parental leave and holidays. We expect everyone to use their vacation as they see fit; when someone is out, they are *out* and aren't pulled into work conversations on days off.
  • We have unlimited sick leave, which we also count as covering a kid being sick. In other words, if one of our team needs to take time off to take care of a sick child, that time off is not counted against their vacation time.
  • We encourage people to treat their schedule in a flexible way. Some people work a split day, for example, while others work late into the evening, and still others maintain a standard 9-5.
  • We try to be as async as possible and limit the number of synchronous meetings.
  • We try to be intentional about how we use Slack: it's often-repeated in our Slack that communication is not expected to be instant and someone responding quickly is just a happy coincidence. We encourage people to close out Slack when they're working, as Slack is not necessarily where work gets done.
Remote First Parental Leave Company Retreats Flexible Schedule Office Allowance

How do you ensure autonomy and plan for the future?

As a very young company, this is an area we're still early days in and figuring out. At present, company leadership sets vision and strategy for the company. Teams and individuals are encouraged to define goals for their team and for themselves on a quarterly basis in support of the vision and strategy. Teams and individuals often work closely with company leadership when defining those goals, but not for approvals on them--more to ensure we're not biting off too much at once.
Deep Work Shared Goal Setting

How does your company try to hire people from underrepresented groups and improve the diversity of your team?

What we're doing now:
  • We have structured interview processes and standardized questions for all candidates. Everyone who gets interviewed has the same experience.
  • We post our jobs in communities where underrepresented people are.
  • We use racially- and gender-diverse interview panels for every candidate.
  • We take copious notes on all candidate interviews, so we're able to review all information when making decisions instead of relying on our memories.

Where we're still improving:
  • While our company has high gender diversity, it has low racial diversity. We're beginning to make an intentional effort to recruit from racially-diverse communities, which we have not been doing previously.

How do you support your team to grow and improve?

Structured professional growth is an area we struggle with due to being so young and so small. At present, we provide an allowance of $2,000/person each year for them to use on continuing education as they see fit. We are beginning to create long-term improvement plans for each person, which we have not done previously due to not having any managers in the company yet.

We help individuals understand company goals on an ad-hoc basis--everyone is encouraged to reach out to the CEO if they have questions about them. Same process for any conflict management concerns.

That said, we are in the process of hiring managers in the company which will increase our capabilities here.
Professional Allowance Regular 1×1’s

Perks and benefits

We provide a 401(k) with a 100% match up to 6% of your salary. The 401(k) match vests immediately, too.

We provide healthcare, vision, and dental with premiums fully covered by the company. Of course trans benefits are covered; trans rights are human rights. Dependents are covered 50%.

“Unlimited PTO” is often misused to pressure employees into taking less vacation than they should, so we offer 3 weeks of PTO that accrue monthly, plus unlimited sick leave.

“Paid parental leave” is challenging for a small company. Being a parent is far more challenging, so we of course offer paid parental leave for new parents of any gender.

We provide an allowance of up to $3,000 for setting up your home office, or we’ll cover the cost of a membership at a coworking space.

Further reading

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