Our values

Talk is cheap, so here's a bunch of it.

Our values

Talk is cheap, so here's a bunch of it.

Fundamentals over scale

  • We are not a venture company. The goal is not to be a unicorn.

  • Grow only when growth is sustainable and does not sacrifice value.

  • Trust, financial viability, and value-delivery trump scale when in conflict.

This is not a hyper-growth company.

We keep the startup ethos of aggressive experimentation, of lean, flat, and autonomous teams, but we are not trying to please investors or take over the entirety of a market. If we climb the mountain, we’ll do it staring at the ground, one rock at a time.

That doesn't mean moving slowly. We can “move fast and break things” - as long as we break only what we can repair or afford to lose. Trust, in particular, is hard to repair.

Trust is king

  • Be aggressively truthful in all dealings, even if it is costly in the short term.

  • Practice trust as an institutional virtue, not just an instrumental good.

  • Do not spin, do not mischaracterize, do not omit, do not grey-pattern.

  • When in doubt, ask yourself: if my incentives were different, would my behavior be different?

We live in an era of distrust, and rightly so. It is easy to justify varying levels of dishonesty as a necessity of doing business, so nearly everyone does. And everybody knows it. In an era where everyone is sick of this, there's power in drawing a line in the sand.

Trust is not just for people outside the company, either. It’s for us. It’s there so that we can speak of our work with pride, so that we can know our efforts are doing something morally (and not just financially) meaningful.

Because it is so easy to sacrifice trust bit by bit, we must not sacrifice it at all. This applies even in spaces like sales where spin is typically routine. That carries costs, because lying sometimes works. But we have to resist that temptation actively, because once the spin starts it does not stop.

Be a place for those without one

  • Hire smart or determined people that don’t fit in elsewhere and train them.

  • Embrace weird introverts that white-collar culture leaves behind.

  • Rely on tight social bonds to smooth everything we do.

Businesses, as currently operated, leave a great deal of talent on the table. We’ve seen first-hand the extraordinary transformation that simply having a place that works by rules you understand can deliver.

That can mean "I'm a weird introvert and I need a place that doesn't demand my social engagement". It can mean "I have strong moral beliefs and I need a place that doesn't demand my moral compromise". And it can mean "I have skills but I don't fit in with white-collar culture".

Being a home for people who have none creates powerful bonds and deep loyalties. They grease the wheels of the workplace in ways no management could, and they encourage the individual integrity we need for our values not to succumb to temptation even while individuals are operating autonomously.

Embrace complexity, internally

  • Users, on either side of the platform, should never have to learn something to use us.

  • But powerful internal tools are what set a tech-enabled agency apart.

  • Embrace powerful tools and heavy training internally to deliver one-step magic externally.

We are a service: an organization you come to to deliver you an outcome. We are not a tool that you use to seek that outcome for yourself. Hiring tools exist already: applications, outbound campaigns. They are horrible and everyone hates them.

To borrow from programming parlance: using us should be descriptive, not procedural. Users' involvement should be limited to saying what they want or need, not on configuring or learning how to get those things. Ideally, that involvement should be done via existing workflows (e.g. Slack).

Since we are not exposing our tools to users, our tools can be correspondingly more complex and powerful. Internal tools are a powerful force-multiplier and the centerpiece of a tech-enabled recruiting agency. We cannot demand that our users become experts, but we should be experts on our own internal landscape, without exception.