Allen Lau is the CEO and co-founder of Wattpad.
Tell us about Wattpad and the journey to where you are now
Wattpad is a global entertainment company. Our app lets our 75 million monthly users discover and share stories from science fiction to romance and everything in between.
Leveraging the data and insights that we collect, we then turn the best stories on our platform into TV shows and, movies and, print books.
The company started in the year of 2006. When my co-founder, Ivan and I, created a mobile reading app on the Motorola Razor phone, as well as a website for people to share their stories.
Our vision has not changed since then, but it has expanded pretty drastically in the last 12 years.
How do you attract and retain talent that best fit your company culture?
To attract talent, and make sure we are tracking the very diverse talent, there are a million things we must do – there’s not just one big thing that we can focus on.
From the start of the application journey, we hide all names and address when screening resumes, taking away as much conscious bias as possible. We also pull from a global talent pool.
Our government has a program called ‘Global Talent Stream’ which is a program that – I’m one of the few tech CEO’s that suggested to the Government a few years ago – that allow us to bring in talent outside of Canada to the country, within two weeks.
How does company culture impact organizational performance?
Wattpad is an extremely diverse company. 56% of our employees are female and 40% are people of colour. This diversity of staff mirrors what we see in the community.
It’s the real reason we can help our community to grow and flourish.
What’s next for Wattpad?
We invest a lot in our data science. This enables us to have the technology custom DNA that helps us analyze the over a billion data points that we collect every day and half a million new chapters that upload to our platform every day.
Leveraging this data and insights, we have multiple revenue streams from advertising to paid stories. Off our platform, we have published books, movies, and TV shows.
Now the biggest opportunity for the company is scale, and scale, and scale!