Blogs » Official Blog » Life at StumbleUpon » Game On at StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon doesn’t officially have a company motto, but the concept of “work hard, play hard” resonates strongly across the company. Since we’ve moved into our new office (complete with open office work spaces, two kitchens, and a view of the San Francisco Giants stadium – not that we’re bragging or anything), we’ve been working harder then ever before to make StumbleUpon better for our users. With that being said, everyone needs to blow off a little steam now and then. From our savvy business team to our brilliant engineers, all of our employees make a point of giving every project their all while managing to strike a balance between perseverance and playtime.

Jack Krawczyk, Senior Product Marketing Manager, lines up his shot as competitor and coworker Vijay Vachani, Business Development Manager, looks on.

Having a red-velveted, four legged friend (otherwise known as a pool table) in our common area has spawned quite a bit of competition among our business team. What began as an occasional friendly match between coworkers has snowballed into a complex game matrix of wins and losses between six employees. Every day around four o’clock or so, a couple games will be played in an attempt to have the best overall record. Vijay Vachani, Business Development Manager and league leader in number of games played (read between the lines: he’s addicted), enjoys being able to discuss work in a different setting with coworkers.

Vijay and Director of Strategic Partnerships Oliver Hsiang discuss the StumbleUpon “Pool Grid.”

“I’m more productive before and after playing pool, knowing that I’ve taken a short, enjoyable break. Lots of times I’ve found myself saying to my opponents, ‘Good idea! I’ll get on that right after this game,’” says Vijay.

Currently, there’s talk of fine-tuning the competition into a set number of games with prizes and trophies to be awarded along with bragging rights.

Another game has developed over in the Finance and Stats Ninja corner of the office – a competition entitled Macho Hand. A couple months ago one of our finance employees brought in Hand Grippers (“Captains of Crunch” model), a device used to strengthen your grip by squeezing together two metal bars stiffly hinged together. Adding a little twist to this gadget, employees will fight to see who can crunch the most squeezes out of the Hand Gripper in under a minute. Each squeeze must fully close, touching metal to metal. This contest is ongoing with leaders determined for max number of repetitions per hand as well as a combined total for both hands overall.

After a hard day’s work spent indoors, StumbleUpon employees move outside to work out their pent-up energy. To help stay in shape and have fun, StumbleUpon Office Manager Bibi Lozano founded a weekly running group that takes off after work from our headquarters. Our fearless, fit workers pound the streets of SOMA, running loops among the blocks of businesses and frequently up to the piers along the San Francisco Embarcadero. Senior Systems Engineer Ken MacInnis, an avid runner, helps coordinate the weekly runs which often stretch several miles. He says, “We’re fortunate to have the best terrain, scenery, and weather in the world to run in and fun coworkers to run with. Getting out for some friendly camaraderie and competition to wind the day down is the perfect way to put the two together!”

Software Engineer Steven Belous (pictured in costume above left), practices the art of Chinese lion dancing in his spare time. Above right, I give the "Hand Grippers" a shot at my desk. Unfortunately, I'm a little weak.

StumbleUpon employees take their interests far outside office hours as well. Other playtime endeavours enjoyed include: rock climbing, playing in bands, collecting vintage electronics, restoring old motorcycles, knitting, sewing clothes, making jewelry, playing Ultimate Frisbee, snowboarding, practicing Tai Chi, Chinese lion dancing, making brush paintings, and organizing and playing in board game nights.

All these diverse interests create a team of dedicated individuals with a unique perspective (after all, all work and no play would make dull Stumblers!). The mesh of our personalities and backgrounds creates the best team possible to build and improve StumbleUpon more and more every day. Take a look at some of our employees and their favorite stumbles to get to know our team a little better and learn about their interests. Think you fit the StumbleUpon company culture? Interested in joining the All-Star SU Team? Check out our jobs page and drop us a line.

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