Tampa’s first company culture meetup: This Thursday, June 23!

blind tiger cafe 3

I’m going to attend what should be an interesting meetup this Thursday in Tampa: the first Tampa Company Culture Meetup. It’ll happen on Thursday, June 23rd at 7:00 p.m. at the Blind Tiger Café in Ybor City.

culture its what were made of

The simplest definition of “company culture” is the set of values and practices that a company’s employees share. Wikipedia’s page on organizational culture says “culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.”

Some examples of company culture:

  • A small, scrappy company operating out of someone’s living room is likely to have a culture with values like “done is better than perfect” and an “anything that gets the job done” approach to operating.
  • A hospital’s culture will probably feature values like “err on the side of caution” and practices that emphasize following procedure and maintaining as sterile an environment as possible.
  •’s About Zappos Culture page spells out their core values, and one of their practices is giving customers the best experience possible.
  • Even a solo sole proprietorship has a culture — it’s that single person’s vision, values, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.
  • The unintentional but de facto culture at a company that’s in crisis can be one where the primary value is “every man for himself”, with its practices being doing the bare minimum because no one’s really invested in the place anymore and blind adherence to procedure solely to avoid becoming a scapegoat.

blind tiger cafe

Roberto Torres, CEO of Blind Tiger Cafe and Vlack and Denim.

According to its Meetup page, this goal of this group is to “bring together the best minds in Culture from all around the Tampa Bay area. We want to share best practices, hear from some pros, and discuss the always changing landscape of company culture.”

The first meeting will feature Roberto Torres, CEO of Blind Tiger Cafe and Black and Denim. He’ll talk about how understanding company culture helped his business succeed.

Here’s how Tampa Bay Business Journal described Torres shortly after he opened the Bling Tiger in late 2014:

Torres has the success story and drive to be Mr. Ybor. The head ofBlack and Denim Apparel Company now sells his merchandise in his three-in-one retail, cafe and coworking space. The space’s opening is perhaps the first flashy step in inviting young urban professionals to spend the day in Ybor City.

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Tampa Bay Online has this to say about the space:

Perhaps the best way to understand the new Blind Tiger Cafe space in Ybor City is to envision it as a creative-type entrepreneur’s dream of where to work for the day, or the month.

The Blind Tiger gets its name from another term for “speakeasy”, an establishment that sells alcohol illegally, often under the guise of another business. The Blind Tiger Café does something similar: they’re a clothing boutique under the guise of a café, with a little coworking space thrown in for good measure.

black and denim

If you’d like to know a little more about Torres and the Blind Tiger and get a feel for the sort of company culture they have, this video might shed some light:

I’ll be there Thursday evening, along with Anitra. Hope to see you there!

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