Sight Machine brings exceptional assets to manufacturing analytics: a patented AI data pipeline, digital twins, uniquely actionable insights into process quality and productivity… and something else you might not be aware of: patches. No, not software patches, but the kind that embellish biker jackets. They have not been patented — yet. But to my knowledge, no other technology company has anything quite like them.
A Patch Is Born
It all began 6 years ago, when Sight Machine was just in its infancy. We were all gathered together over dinner in Ann Arbor, Michigan, discussing what to wear for an upcoming trade show pitch. The first apparel idea — a logo-adorned golf shirt — was nixed almost as soon as it came up: far too dull and commonplace.
The next suggestion, flannel shirts with a Sight Machine patch sewn into the sleeve, didn’t get much traction at first. The flannel shirt was vetoed, but the patch took on a life of its own. After a few rounds of beer, several varieties of patches were proposed: one for the Ann Arbor office, a second for San Francisco, a third for engineers, a fourth for the marketing team, and so on. By dessert time, the idea had literally taken shape: a 4-by-3-inch hexagonal patch with various themes, designs, and colors, to be meticulously crafted in knitted yarn.
Fast-forwarding to the present, these singular insignias have become integral to Sight Machine culture. Produced in an ever-growing variety, 35 to date, each represents a different aspect of company life. Here, for the first time in a public forum, are the essentials of Sight Machine patch lore:
Pomp and Circumstance
Patches require a ceremony, and ours takes place as part of all-hands company meetings. Patches are presented to the strains of traditional Scottish Highlands bagpipes. First-time recipients get their initial set along with an honorary middle name, which we make up on the spot. Then comes a (not-so-) solemn recitation of the canon of rules:
Sight Machine Patching Principles
Honors earned. Employees acquire their patches the old-fashioned way: they earn them, in recognition for significant achievement. Help launch a product. Squash a software bug. Win a new customer. Write a blog. Speak at an event. You get the idea.
Display as you like. Patches may be framed, sewn onto a backpack or jacket, displayed prominently on a desktop, or stashed away in a drawer. Anything goes except discarding them.
An inside sport. Patches are granted exclusively to employees and investors. Customers and prospects ask for them all the time, but we have yet to yield to the pressure.
Admittedly, the Sight Machine patching tradition is atypical for a Silicon Valley tech company, and so are we. Our roots are in the Midwest, where a sense of belonging and shared effort are cultural hallmarks. Patches are our informal way of publicly recognizing and rewarding work well done. Those who’ve received many have been through a lot with the company. They’re looked upon as our sages and veterans.
The Patching Committee: A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma
At this point, you may be wondering who decides what Sight Machine patches look like, and who gets them. Employees play a part, of course, by proposing candidates for the honor. Nominations are then referred to the Patching Committee for a decision. This clandestine body works largely in the shadows — no one knows exactly who its members are. In keeping with patching tradition, their identities are kept strictly confidential. And always will be.
Find out how to patch yourself in to the Sight Machine culture, our company team, and our vision of digital manufacturing. No motorcycle required.