Table XI Blog

Software Engineering

I don’t care where you went to school

I care a lot about hiring the right people to join TXI. But I think our version of “right” differs from other companies.

First off, I don’t care what university you went to. Or if you went to university. You can just leave that part off your resume and I will never notice.

What university you went to tells me a couple of things: 1) How well you can answer standardized test questions that research has shown to be biased toward over-represented groups and 2) How much money your family was able to spend for your higher education and/or how indebted you were willing to become for the same experience.

What university you went to tells me nothing about your skills, your curiosity, your passion, your openness to new ideas, your kindness, your dedication, or anything that I vet for when hiring. 

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Why we’re engaging with counter-narratives

In June 2021, the TXI team partnered with InterAction, a Chicago-based educational nonprofit organization, for workshops on both racial justice and counter-narratives as part of our ongoing efforts to become an anti-racist organization.

Our global, national and personal histories are often dominated by narratives that serve the interests of white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy. As InterAction defines them, counter-narratives center “stories told by marginalized people to unearth and disrupt power and reveal collective experiences of oppression.” These narratives provide “a message [or] way forward” from systems of oppression, but they can be difficult for Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) to access.

In this article, we’ll explain why we decided to invest time and resources into a counter-narrative workshop. We’re sharing in the hopes that understanding our motivations for doing this work will help other organizations empower their BIPOC employees to tap into and tell their own counter-narrative stories.

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Career growth and development at TXI

Before I joined TXI about five years ago, I’d spent most of my career in education. I care deeply about learning and growth opportunities, and there’s a large body of research that indicates that personalized learning with qualified educators leads to better outcomes. So when I decided to make some significant enhancements to how TXI supports its people, I knew I wanted to incorporate those two elements: diverse growth paths for individuals to choose from, no matter their starting point, and expert training for the managers who would be supporting them on those paths. 

Before this effort, TXI had a linear level model--effectively, a “ladder”. There was one way to grow, straight up a predetermined path. The structure implied that all people at the same level needed to focus on the same kinds of work, deliver the same kinds of value--that they were all, in a sense, the same. It wasn’t true, of course, but it did impact people’s reality: it was how we set expectations, evaluate outcomes, and define titles and compensation. 

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