Co-founder & CEO, Wildbit
As a woman who has built a bootstrapped, people-first software company that most recently celebrated 20 years in business, Natalie Nagele is someone we’ve looked up to for a long time. She is working to prove that you can grow a profitable company that prioritizes people.
Wildbit began as a small consulting business but soon started creating products like Postmark, Beanstalk, and People-First Jobs. As she’s built the company, she’s constantly asked herself, “Why do we exist?” and “How can we do it better?”. Answers to these questions have driven significant decisions in the business, including the move to a 32-hour workweek that prioritizes deep work and increases productivity. With changes such as these, Wildbit is not following the traditional business success checkboxes. Instead, Natalie and her husband and co-founder Chris are stopping to ask “Why?” along the way so that they can build a genuine, honest business that is true to their values.
Natalie believes that businesses should be human. She recognizes that people are most fulfilled when they get to do meaningful and challenging work. So, in addition to creating valuable products, she wants to understand how businesses can be a vehicle for impact not only on their customers and employees but also on their communities.
Natalie geeks out about human behavior, travel, and ethical capitalism. She loves connecting with people and makes space for intentional thinking time.
🤓 I geek out about…
Human behavior, travel, ethical capitalism
🎒 I collect…
Moments with my family and friends
💬 My friends ask my advice about…
Relationships with family, business direction, cooking recipes
🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…
I like to think about the gray area of all things, and don’t live in black and white. That causes conversations to get very broad before they get narrow.
I also really love connecting with people, so I love to ask folks to unmute on big calls to share jokes or just hear each others’ voices.
🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your company?
- Personal and professional growth in our teams - people-first means people, first. We love to help folks find new career paths/change jobs inside of Wildbit.
- Revenue growth from different products in a single portfolio - gives validation that we’re producing work that is commercially viable and providing value to people (people first, all people, not just employees)
🌤️ A thing that makes me hopeful about the future of business:
More people are asking for meaning and purpose in work. And more theory, science and literature is showing the commercial and societal value of re-examining the purpose and meaning of work, to support a future of work that prioritizes all four human constituents (shareholders, employees, customers and community) above the business in and of itself.
💭 I wish more companies would…
Implement a 32-hour workweek.
💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?
Stop and truly evaluate what enough is - instead of measuring progress by hours spent in front a screen.
❓ A question I love:
What did you learn that surprised you?
🚶 I would walk/drive/travel 500 miles to…
Try a great new restaurant.