Marketing and Technology Teams “Face Off” at Silicon Valley Comic Con
Until last weekend, most team building events at StubHub were a traditional mix of happy hours and dinners.
But on Saturday, March 19, a group of Stubbers got creative and got together at the first-ever Silicon Valley Comic Con.
“I just wanted to get together as a team, and I just wanted to have fun,” said Eddie Tang, user experience designer at StubHub and the originator of the idea.
Fifteen Stubbers from marketing, user experience, engineering, research and other teams agreed, and decided to make the trip from San Francisco to San Jose for the day, with the goals to welcome new team members, get to know each other across organizations, and create the feeling of a cohesive, collaborative team.
And to really set themselves apart, Stubbers decided to dress the part.
The Comic Con crowd is known for wearing costumes of favorite super heroes, comic book characters and other figures from pop – and tech – culture, so StubHub’s team brainstormed costume ideas for the group. The criteria were simple: “Our costumes had to be fast, cheap and scalable,” said Tang.
The winning idea: emojis. Known for individual personalities, but often used together to express a larger sentiment, emoji costumes let each Stubber pick something relatable, that also looked good in a group.
With the idea solidified, it was up to newly minted costume designers Tang, Kenneth Lee and Jordan Springstroh to actually construct wearable emoji faces. The StubHub Design Studio became an emoji workshop, and the three created 15 unique emojis using visors, foamcore, glue and a lot of creativity.
“The emoji costumes were a hit once we got to Comic Con, and a lot of people asked us to pose for photos,” said Safia Ali, manager of user experience for StubHub. “What really stands out about those pictures is that people wanted us to stand together as a team, more than they wanted individual photos. To me, that shows that while it’s important to express our individuality, when we work together we’re able to achieve so much more.”
Safia, who wore the “barf emoji,” saw the event as a powerful example of surfacing great ideas from within the organization, and leveraging the management team to clear hurdles and help make the idea happen.
“This entire team building idea was crafted by members of several teams, and then I and other leaders within StubHub enabled the team to get it done,” she said. “When we empower everyone at every level, culture builds itself, and people find purpose in what they do.”
With the success of this type of team building, more ideas are sure to come.
“Comic Con celebrates ‘being a geek,’ but it really appeals to a broader audience, and that’s why it’s fun,” said Tang.