The Year Ahead at Narvar: What Came Out of Our 2018 Kickoff

At the beginning of February, the team jump-started our new fiscal year with a week-long 2018 company kickoff and Innovation Tournament, and it was certainly an exciting series of events to experience first-hand. We Narvarians came together from across the globe (literally—our London and India offices were both represented in full force) to align around the vision, goals, and strategies laid out for the year ahead. In addition, we also heard from Silicon Valley star-studded panels on how to scale startups, create change within an organization, and think like a VC.

We ran around Union Square on a scavenger hunt, competed in Office Olympics, and put our heads together to come up with some pretty cool ideas about where we as a company could possibly go next. We came, we saw, we got down to business—and we had fun and learned a lot in the process.


Here’s some of what came out of our week:

Outside perspectives.

From former CEO John Fleming to former ExactTarget CEO Scott Dorsey, our CKO speaker lineup was definitely one for the books. We learned a lot about the evolution of ecommerce, heard seasoned founders discuss their takes on how to best scale a startup, and found out what it means to be an effective agent of change.

Having all these thought-leaders, disruptors, and investors at our CKO was rewarding not just because of the thoughtful and pointed content they provided, but also because it was a testament to the mark we’re making within the industry and the admiration we’re winning as a growing company. Just sayin’—you know it’s not just us when several of the invited guests are commenting on the incredible energy in the room and how impressed they are with the progress Narvar has made over the past few years.

Narvar CEO Amit Sharma with former CEO John Fleming.
Panel moderator Nisha Ahluwalia with speakers Kakul Srivastava (former VP of Product Mgmt, Github), Michelle Lam (CEO, True & Co.), and Bill Macaitis (former CRO/CMO, Slack)
Amit Sharma with panel moderator Shannon Gordon and speakers Raul Vazquez (CEO, Oportun), Scott Dorsey (Managing Partner, HighAlpha), Melissa Raymond (VP of Data & Analytics, Zendesk), and Roger Lee (Partner, Battery).
Amit Sharma with investing panel speakers Janie Yu (Fung Capital), Brian O’Malley (Accel), and Alex Bard (Redpoint).

We do great things together.

A strong company culture isn’t just important to us. It’s vital. We of course all rally around our mission statement day-to-day in our own individual roles and goals, but put us all in a room together, or divide us up into small teams and give us a challenge, and you’ll clearly see that we have built something strong, solid, and, well, just plain fun to be a part of. From the creative Office Olympics (Flip Cup with water? Why not!) to the joyful happy hours, the week saw us all coming together to celebrate last year’s big accomplishments by letting loose a little.

But it wasn’t all fun and games at CKO—our Innovation Tournament in particular proved a) how scrappy we can be, and b) how smart, collaborative, and business savvy we all are. Every Narvarian was assigned to a team within a larger cohort, and each team came up with a business idea to pitch. The top pitch from every cohort was then presented to members of Narvar’s Board on Friday afternoon, and at the end of it all, a winner was chosen: Ship Green, which would allow retailers to present consumers with an eco-friendlier shipping option at checkout. It was amazing to see these cross-functional teams put their heads together to brainstorm and pitch a multitude of creative ideas—in creative ways—in a limited amount of time.

The future looks brighter than ever.

As is to be expected during a company kick-off event, our Founder and CEO Amit Sharma presented the vision, key objectives, and expectations for 2018, as well as looking back on just how far we’ve come. We also took time within our functional teams during the week to plan around these company-wide goals, ensuring everyone across the organization is looking to the same North Star as we move into Q1 and beyond.

Whether it’s helping retailers figure out how to balance the human element with AI, staying ahead with emerging technologies and channels, or bridging the divide between online and physical experiences, we Narvarians have plenty to get excited about this year. Let’s do this!