Atlassian: the Phantom Menace of the IT World

I had the pleasure to be the ambassador for Atlassian, an enterprise software company that started in 2002. We met with the current CFO, Murray Demo, in their office in the Mission District of Silicon Valley. The scene was a very interesting one. Outside on the streets it appeared to be a very industrial area with not many people around. We were surprised to see when we walked in the large metal doors of Atlassian a large open floor plan with departments scattered throughout the building.

I was surprised by Atlassian’s business model after he presented: there were no salespeople in the company. I found this to be an interesting concept, as this is how they have a competitive edge in their market. By not employing salespeople, they are able to spend more on research and development and are able to sell their product at a lower price point to achieve a greater margin than competitors. This is very counterintuitive, yet, it has led to the founders being the richest people in Australia under 40.

I also wanted to note further on the culture. There were employees’ dogs sitting next to them as they made breakfast for themselves in the cafeteria. The office was equipped with elegant bathroom amenities and free drinks in refrigerators all over the office. Everyone in the office was dressed in jeans or the like. It was clearly eminent that Atlasssian valued their employees, and the company appeared to be very focused on productivity, rather than formality.