Startup Stars: Q&A with Saygent's Jenny Shirey and Evy Wilkins

Two "sayges" enlighten us on their office culture.

Our new Startup Star profiles explore the playful side of new ventures—and their people—in Mountain View. Each week, we’ll highlight someone from a Mountain View startup and give you some fun facts about them.

We spoke to Marketing Director Evy Wilkins and Director of Research and Design Jenny Shirey about the office lives of the six-person company, Saygent. The startup's platform automatically analyzes voice for sentiment for a variety of uses, such as customer satisfaction and recruiting. The company is a year old and shares a room with other burgeoning companies in the 500 Startups Sky Bar on Castro Street. They are looking to expand.

Mountain View Patch: Tell me about some of the social events you've had.

Evy Wilkins: The most recent thing we did all together was a couple Fridays ago. We went and saw Captain America together at ten in the morning, which was awesome. Because of the movie we ended up talking about patriotism ... and we learned a lot about each other. That was kind of interesting because we didn't think going to the movies would actually help us learn about each other. [And] we have a book club which is kicking off here.

Jenny Shirey: We'll each read a book and then give a summary presentation of it. At Saygent, we're all about being very knowledgeable, very smart people but still having fun. We call ourselves "Sayges"—we have a blog and we each have an alter ego who is someone very wise.... My alter ego is Hermione Granger—it's anyone you feel like you look up to because they're really intelligent or wise. Evy is Athena, the goddess of wisdom.

This is my favorite: this is super new, but we call them "braincreams," it's a mixture of brainstorms and ice cream, so on Fridays we eat ice cream and usually brainstorm about something fun we want to do with our platform.  

Wilkins: We're more about activities. the next thing we wanna do is cooking—cooking classes. Most people want cake and candy, and to learn how to make the kind of elaborate cakes you would never make, so we're looking to do that. We always do [these activities] during working hours because it kind of adds that extra element of fun.

Patch: What's the longest you spent working without sleep?

Wilkins: It's only been about 20 hours. I love sleep so I usually end up waking up as early as I can, but I need some sleep.


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