With great customer feedback coming in, plotting how our product should grow and transform has been refreshingly easy. I've taken a little time to make our processes more efficient, and with the needs of the company growing each day, the team is starting to grow organically.
The first people to join up with me are helping part time while we build up our revenue. I'm getting help with marketing, legal, and customer outreach, which should give me a little more time to continue product refinement. And now that things are becoming more collaborative (and we're all working remotely), it feels like a good time to create a set of philosophies to help us move forward with confidence and independence.
Here we go!
A person’s impression of our company comes from the sum of their interactions. These interactions might be with our product, an advertisement, a salesperson, or through the things we say in emails, blog posts, and tweets. Whether the person is a customer, vendor, or employee, the impression they have of us matters and is often irreversible.
This manifesto is meant to put a little concreteness to our philosophy and set expectations for what it means to be a part of this company. Rather than have a list of rules to follow, we have these values to ensure we’re acting cohesively.
When everyone feels comfortable speaking honestly about their concerns, solutions are much easier to find. When we’re communicating honestly with our customers, it’s easy for them to see the humanity behind our work. If our product marketing and our employee contracts are clear, we’ll have fewer misunderstandings.
Politeness should go without saying. Rude people aren’t fun or easy to deal with, and no one wants to buy something from a prick.
When someone makes an honest mistake, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. When someone writes us an unclear or poorly-worded email, let’s resist the urge to ignore them or send them this. When we can be generous with our time or a small discount, let’s impress customers (or each other) with an unexpected bit of niceness.
Respect is a difficult thing to demonstrate in day to day living, yet it’s vitally important to healthy relationships. Sometimes it takes a surprising act to get the point across.
Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Having fun is critical to happiness, and happiness is critical to doing great work. Let’s be lenient with each other’s bad humor.
It’s easy to get invested in our own ideas, especially if the atmosphere grows defensive. We need openess to properly evaluate what we should do, so here's the magic antidote: ideas aren’t worth very much by themselves. The real value comes in how those ideas are executed.
Let’s allow good evidence and clear reasoning to change our minds.
Some ideas aren’t meant to be fully formed. Sometimes they’re just a hum in the background of our mind’s thinking that influences us. Let’s make sure everyone feels comfortable putting an idea out there, and let’s not feel bad when ours don’t stick.
We’re here to create awesome products that people love. We are not in the business of trickery or “custom enterprise solutions.” It’s better for us to make less money and do what we love than to bastardize our work or confuse our customers.
People do their best work when they have control over their contributions. If someone is putting in passionate and collaborative hard work, it shouldn’t matter where or when they are.
Everyone in this company needs to do great work and be held to their word. Without this, the other tenets in this list don’t mean much.
We need people who understand responsibility. We need people who can manage their time, prioritize their workload, answer emails, stay on top of outstanding items, be proactive, and make up for their mistakes.
Making plans can be a great exercise in constructive thinking, and short-term plans are great for collaborating and getting work done. All-in-all though, adaptability is much more valuable, because we can react when assumptions change.
The world of technology is fast-paced, and the observant and proactive players are rewarded. We should stay nimble and optimize our business processes to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.
Being able to explain yourself in words is critically important, especially in a company that promotes remote work. Writing well doesn’t only mean that people can understand your meaning, it’s also a small act of generosity: it shows you took a little bit of your time to ensure someone else doesn’t waste theirs.
Data can be amazing. Whenever good evidence exists, it should be used in our decision-making process. That being said, data can’t tell us everything, and it’s easy to draw biased conclusions. Let’s not be afraid to use our instincts or just give something a shot and see how it goes.
Budgeting does more for us than just save money, it’s a good mindset to maintain. If we're careful about our commitments, we’ll invest more deeply in them and get more out in return. Less tools and fewer decisions means less overhead, and saying “no” more often keeps us focused.
Just as we should focus on staying adaptable, this document should, too. Times, people, and assumptions change as new information and experience comes about. Let’s not sweat the details too much, but let’s do keep this discussion going and make a consistent effort to challenge and update our philosophy as time goes on.
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