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    Tamr chosen as No. 1 small company

    The Cambridge database cleanup firm’s chief executive strives for an office meritocracy, not a rigid hierarchy.

    At Tamr, employees invariably have to stop and think when asked their job titles. The hesitation, they explain, comes from the company’s focus on what its workers do rather than on their particular positions. When chief executive Andy Palmer launched the Cambridge database cleanup and unification company in 2014, he wanted to create a meritocracy, not a rigid hierarchy. Today, this philosophy is part of every decision made at Tamr, Palmer says.

    Thoughts from the top: “The role of a manager is to work for the people who work for them,” Palmer says.

    Magic moment: Recently Nidhi Aggarwal, head of strategy and marketing, had to pick up her 3-year-old from day care right before she was scheduled to lead a webinar. So she brought her daughter to the office and the team pitched in to entertain the youngster while Aggarwal ran her event. The toddler still asks when she can visit the office again. “I can bring my whole self here,” Aggarwal says.


    Office space: As Tamr expanded in its small Harvard Square location, the engineering team quickly became too big for any of the existing offices. So the company simply tore down partitions, creating a unified, collaborative workspace. “When we do renovations, we tend to knock walls down rather than put them up,” Palmer says.

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    Off hours: With fewer than 60 employees, Tamr retains the closeness of a startup. A group of employees gets together to work out every Wednesday, and the company plans recurring movie outings. A regular Friday happy hour, known as “Scotch o’clock,” often spills over into impromptu nights out in Harvard Square.

    What sets the company apart, in a word: Accountability


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    Sarah Shemkus is a freelance writer. Send comments to