Cultural challenges when opening a new office

Cosmin Nicolaescu

CTO at Brex



"Stripe decided to open an office in Seattle, and I was pretty involved in the project. The first question we had was determining whether we would recruit people in Seattle or bring some people from the San Francisco headquarters. The requirements were to create a Seattle office that on the one hand would have its own culture and be independent from the headquarters, and on the other hand would be organizationally intelligent with the rest of the company. We decided that it was a better option to recruit people from Seattle. I agreed to take care of the staffing in Seattle and went there often. An interesting challenge arose during recruitment. While most people know Stripe in San Francisco, we realized that this was not the case in Seattle, and I spent most of the time in the interviews pitching Stripe. This made recruiting much harder."

Actions taken

"As traditional interviewing methods were not effective in attracting the best candidates, I decided to be creative and thought of some alternative methods. We created some videos presenting the company story and culture and organized some meetups to present Stripe to large companies such as Microsoft. Progressively, some teams were created and some managers for these teams were recruited."

Lessons learned

"Don't assume that things that work in one place will work in another. You have to take cultural differences into account. A good leader should adapt quickly and should be creative in tackling this challenge."

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Cosmin Nicolaescu

CTO at Brex

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyCulture Development

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