So, what's the big idea, anyway?
We're glad you asked

You do good work. You deserve to know how you did. Right now.

Too many of us get too little critical feedback. With Kumquat, we hope to change that sad fact. To more of a happy thing.

So what is this Kumquat stuff all about?

If you’re anything like us, your career has been relatively devoid of feedback. You’ve been driven by your own desire moreso than the opinion of your superiors and peers. And your requests for guidance have often fallen flat or been completely ignored. Worse yet, this feedback—when it comes—only comes on a quarterly or annual basis.

Yes, my friend, it’s a sad and sordid tale.

If you’re in the traditional corporate-review setup, you’re only as good as your last project. Or maybe the project before that. If you’re out on your own or at a small company, you have absolutely no structure to support a formal review process.

Which leads us to ask, is this really the most valuable environment for furthering your development?

Of course, the answer is no. Why would we ask the question, otherwise?

Here are some other common questions:

Why? Why? Why?

True story. (This is Rick talking.) I once went nearly five years without a performance review.

Five years!

That's like going to college and graduating without ever receiving a grade.

I wanted a review. I kept asking for one. But it kept getting pushed. “We need to implement a system,” “We don’t have time,” “You’re doing fine. Why do you need one?” “We’re not going to give you a raise,” “We said we’re not going to give you a raise,” “No raise and that’s final.”

Still no review. And when I finally did get a review (at a new organization), it was useless for my growth. It was a great historical document listing what I’d accomplished, but it was like driving through a rear view mirror. And it was inaccurate. So a broken rear view mirror, at that.

Then I got mad. And then I started complaining. And ranting.

Then Toby and I started thinking. And decided that maybe we should actually do something. Lo and behold, we hit upon Kumquat as a means of working to solve the problem.

We have a formal review process. Why would I need this?

Let me answer your question with some questions:

No, answer the question.

Okay, okay. You need this because the focal/annual/360 review process is broken. It has become less and less of a tool for mentoring and guiding employee growth and more and more a tool for the corporation to control raises and promotions.

It’s your career. You need to take responsibility for it.

That’s why we built Kumquat. To help make it easier to get the feedback you deserve. Whenever and however often you want it.

But my annual review is tied to my bonus.

That’s not a question. But I wrote it, so I’ll pretend it is.

The bonus and review relationship is the primary reason the entire process is broken. No one wants to kill someone else’s bonus. Unless they’re just mean. But most of the time, nobody wants to be the jerk that provides the critical feedback that improves you but detracts from your bonus.

So, what happens? You get insidious blather about your performance. Insuring that you get the check in the box that guarantees you the appropriate percentage on your paycheck. Which is fine for your bank account. But it’s abysmal for your career.

Performance reviews should provide critical feedback that helps you stretch, improve, and become more successful. Reviews shouldn’t be a means of encouraging you to remain in your safe little role.

That’s why we built, err… commissioned—by far more talented individuals—the building of Kumquat. To get the good, the bad, and the ugly. Where it is useful to you and out of the reach of those deciding on bonuses.

Who are you?

Kumquat was a labor of love released by Toby Lucich and Rick Turoczy. We run a little shop called Return. And we write for a few of blogs, More than a living, Silcon Florist, and hypocritical. Other than that, we’re fairly nondescript. But if you want to tell us otherwise, we would be willing to listen.

How much will Kumquat cost?

The first version will always be free. Perhaps with even more functionality than it has today. Should something happen that requires us to begin charging for Kumquat, we will grandfather any current users into a free program or allow them access to all of their data.

I guess what we’re saying is: We don’t foresee the need to charge for you this functionality. (Corporations maybe, but you? No.) Should that change, we’re not going to hold you or your data hostage.

If Kumquat is free, how do you make money?

We make money by working. Doing things that we enjoy for which we get paid. It’s a pretty common practice.

Oh wait. Did you mean on Kumquat?

Well, Kumquat is a money pit, currently. It’s not making any money, nor do we really have a solid plan for making money with it.

But to be perfectly honest, we don’t care. Something had to be done. So we did it. We built it so we could use it, ourselves. But we have the infrastructure in place for you to use it, too. So we thought we’d share. Just to be nice.

If it becomes too difficult to continue to provide financial support for the site, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. But we’re not interested in holding you or your data hostage.

I’d like to provide some feedback. How can I submit ideas?

We want to hear from you. In fact, we’d love to hear from you. All the good, the bad, and the ugly. We get tired of complaining to one another. So, please, use our online form to send your feedback our way.

We strive to respond to all email inquiries within 48 hours whenever possible. Please note, responses to spam take slightly longer.