Why Dyn Celebrates Big Projects like Big-Budget Movies

By Scott Kirsner |  January 13, 2014

Do innovators get enough recognition at your company? At most organizations, the answer isn’t exactly a deafening “Yes!”

But at Dyn (pronounced “dine”), a New Hampshire company that sells Internet and e-mail infrastructure services, they’ve created a Wall of Fame to mark the occasion when Dyn employees set up a data center in a new city, revamp an existing product, or introduce an entirely new service. Instead of just the typical brass-on-walnut plaques, though, Dyn designs mock movie posters for each major milestone. Everyone involved in the project typically adds an autograph around the poster’s margin — or their name is included in the actual poster as one of the “stars.”

Cory von Wallenstein, Dyn’s chief technologist, says he borrowed the idea from

“I was on a trip visiting Amazon in Seattle, and in their lobby, they had movie posters for different efforts they had tackled, but it seemed like they produced about one a year. They celebrated the major, major milestones. The challenge we face at Dyn is that so much of our stuff is under-the-hood — making systems more scalable, more secure, decreasing bugs. We don’t work on a ton that gives you a big flash and bang that’s visible on a webpage. I wanted to take the concept of a team celebration and make it more visible for our sales people, our customer service team, or our management team, too. It gets people to ask questions and learn more about the project.”

Like Oscar voting, the poster production process is pretty secretive: anyone can suggest creating one, but for the most part, people don’t know which projects will or won’t garner a poster. “I try to look at what is most impactful, but under-appreciated,” von Wallenstein says. New posters are designed by Dyn’s marketing group; von Wallenstein says they do about one every month. They’re unveiled, signed, and hung on the wall with great fanfare at Dyn’s monthly all-hands meeting.

While “BOM Data Center Rollout,” commemorating a new Dyn data center in India, might not be a blockbuster, you can bet it makes all the Dyn employees involved feel like an A-lister.