Long distance runners might notice the title being inspired by the author Haruki Murakami’s book about his experiences and thoughts on long-distance running. There are many obvious parallels between long-distance running (around the themes of endurance, discipline and passion), and the process of building and sustaining a startup, but this post is only about a specific aspect of that – it is a crystallization of our views on where we come from (culture), and where we want to go (aspirations). Ultimately, these factors decide how we grow our team.
Leaving aside the oft-maligned, superficial definitions (bean bags, lava lamps, free yoga!), a reasonable definition of culture could be expressed thus:
Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people
A natural corollary to this is the fact that culture is not in fact static, but morphs as an organization grows. However, initial conditions/founding philosophies do matter, and are worth examining. For us, the following set of characteristics have been paramount:
- Taking ownership and standing by the quality of every unit of work. If its worth doing, its worth doing well.
- Every function is equally important, and people who can pick up and run with new skillsets add immense value.
- A rock-star plays in a band – individuals shine when they bring others along and deliver on a shared vision.
- Work-ethic and a willingness to learn trump pedigree and labels.
- And lastly, this. Everyone makes mistakes, some learn from them.
Looking ahead, how do we speak to the aspirations of people who consider joining us at this point in our journey?
- It is an opportunity to make an outsized impact as we create differentiated offerings through proprietary access to vast amounts of data.
- Everyone is picking up new skills, so learning is in the air!
- Every open position we have is also implicitly a responsibility to shape and lead functional parts of the organization going forward – in machine learning, systems engineering, full-stack development, and QA.
- We recently closed a round of funding, onboarded major new customers, and have built the base for growth (and tough problems that need solving).
- We moved to a new office, and its hard to top our meeting room! (see above)
If this resonated with you, head over here to check out our open positions. We would love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.