To The Core – Introducing Our 12 Values

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We are slowly growing up and evolving as a company. For a long time, I dismissed things like written company values as corporate nothing-speak but I’ve come to realise how important they are to help share our vision for the company with employees and customers.

3 months ago, my co-founder Dan and I locked ourselves away for 8 hours straight and thought about the type of company we want to be. We emerged with some core values for our company that we want to share with you today. Without further ado, our values are as follows:

  1. Software is Our Craft, We Never Stop Improving.
  2. We Move Fast & Stay Highly Productive.
  3. We Promote and Reward on Merit Alone.
  4. Only Good People Can Work Here.
  5. Everybody Thinks Like an Owner.
  6. We Embrace Openness by Default.
  7. We Stand for More than Money.
  8. We Strive to be an Amazing Place to Work.
  9. We Choose Positivity and Happiness.
  10. We are Humble.
  11. We Work Smart.
  12. We Do the Right Thing.

Let’s go through them and break them down. If you have any questions, fire at will in the comments or come talk to me directly.

1. Software is Our Craft, We Never Stop Improving

  • We strive to be experts at building, supporting and selling software. We will never stop learning, measuring and experimenting. We make the best software we can make.
  • We are open with the world about how we run our company, our values, our systems, our techniques.
  • We will strive to turn the company into a “well oiled” highly productive machine that works smarter than our competition.
  • We are never complacent. We will not allow our competitors to out-software us.

2. We Move Fast & Stay Highly Productive

  • We are a Highly Productive Team (not a family).
  • We strive to stay lean, have small teams, minimise bureaucracy, eliminate productivity hurdles and keep our best developers team-leaders (and not managers).
  • If the decision is reversible, we make it quickly in the best interest of the company and move on.
  • We want 40 really good productive hours of work a week. We do not want people to burn out.

3. We Promote and Reward on Merit Alone

  • Contribution to company goals is more valued than time-served.

4. Only Good People Can Work Here

  • Dickheads, no matter how talented, will be fired.
  • We want people for whom it’s more than “just a job”. You can show it’s more than just a job by giving feedback, suggesting ideas, going the extra mile to impress a customer, sharing stuff you learned.
  • We only want people who continually improve and strive to be the best they can be to work here.
  • We want people who want to look back on their careers and be proud of what they achieved.
  • We want people who care about the people they work with.
  • We only want staff who really care about the Customer and the Software we build.

5. Everybody Thinks like an Owner

  • We choose what’s best for company and customers in the long term.
  • We continually think about how we can improve the company and share ideas.
  • We act as representatives of the company and share responsibility for maintaining our reputation.
  • We all care about the companies metrics and success.

6. We Embrace Openness by Default

  • We are open about plans, open about figures, open about failings, open about wins, open about hiring, open about engineering, open about sales.

7. We Stand for More than Money

  • We support initiatives that make the world a better place. From here on, 1% of company profits goes to good deeds.
  • We genuinely want to make the most useful software possible.

8. We Strive to be an Amazing Place to Work

  • Our on-boarding will make new people feel special and privileged to work here.
  • We will keep improving the work environment and trying experiments to optimise happiness and productivity.
  • We will promote a healthy work/life balance.
  • We will strive to make work enjoyable and productive by deliberately and continually promoting autonomy, mastery and purpose.
  • We will make work fun wherever possible (internal docs can be fun, onboarding packaging, software easter eggs, quirky office design etc)
  • We are quirky and proud of it.

9. We Choose Positivity and Happiness

  • We always approach things in a positive and optimistic way.
  • We never complain. We never criticise or condemn team members or customers. Let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong. Never argue over any written medium such as instant email, message or chat. That said, give honest feedback in a constructive way and don’t be afraid to share bad news.
  • We deliberately show genuine appreciation.
  • We will always be friendly, personable and responsive to customers (even when they’re rude). Our company should have a face – every tweet should be signed, every email friendly and personable.
  • We are suggestive instead of instructive and use phrases like “how about” instead of “you should”.
  • We all take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and could be wrong.

10. We are Humble & Honest

  • Good ideas can come from anywhere. Take the ego out of it and choose the best solution for the long term success of the company.
  • We are proud of our work and accomplishments but leave our egos at the door.
  • When discussing the company and what we have achieved, we are always humble and look to the future.
  • We are always honest.

11. We Work Smart

  • We single-task our way through the day.
  • We share code as much as possible.
  • We share processes between teams.
  • We prioritise and work on the right thing.
  • We clearly define goals and objectives, have one lead for every project and finish what we start.

12. We Do the Right Thing

  • We correct mistakes even when nobody would notice.
  • If a customer doesn’t love our software, they get a full refund, no questions asked. * within 90 days
  • We will always go the extra mile for customers – in user interface design, in thinking about their needs, in caring about their company and problems, in surprising and delighting them.
  • We give back via open source.

As we said to the staff : “Sure, a lot of these are aspirational and that’s OK but today we set in stone the type of company we want to be, a great company that we will all reflect on one-day and say… ‘hey, I helped build that. I remember the day we established our values…’ I hope that each of you will embrace these values and help us make a company we can all be proud to be part of. That’s it folks. Let’s do this.”

Let us know what you think!