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Transcript of Culture Coding
Culture coding for startups
We create passionate cultures that accomplish wonders
The ProblemThe SolutionThe Company
You probably dont want to hear this
9 out of 10 startups fail.
Source: The Startup Genome Project
Half of all VC-backed ventures fail.
Source: Sequoia Capital
For the most part, failure is due to the inner workings of a startup.
Source: Dozens of VCs, most vocally Peter Thiel
Peter Thiels Law:A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed.
Founder of PayPal. Founders Fund. Breakout Labs. Thiel Foundation
We disagree. Respectfully.
Hack your culture. Do it with as much focus and intensity as you hack your products and distribution.
Since (almost) nobody does it, let us explain what we mean.
Culture is not
cookies in the jar.epic parties.wild perks.
[Although these things can be very nice.]
Culture is what you believe ...and then do.
Our awesome startupWhy do we exist? What business are we in?Whats our secret? Whats our big vision? Whats our plan?
What kind of people do we hire?How do we make decisions?How do we resolve conflicts?How do we do things around here?What do we reward?
Who are our ideal customers?How do we reach them?How do we treat them?
Who do we choose as our investors?How do we work together?
Who do we compete against?How do we (not) compete?
Culture is coded in your answers.
Driven by competition [we don't recommend it!]
Driven by purpose
We are on a mission!
Culture comes in many flavours.
So how do you hack your culture code?
Its hard to hack something you cant see.
To hack your culture code,you need to write your current code first.
The language you need to learn to write your culture code iswell, language. The traditional kind.
Once you can look at it together,you can change it.
Lets do a quick experiment.
Where would you rather work?
Company AWe will be a market leader in market X. Our mission is to maximise shareholder value. We value integrity, excellence, team work and profitability.
Company BWe are on a mission to solve a grand challenge X. We have a big crazy idea. We want to replace a 10,000 year old technology (yes, seriously). We are a team of explorers ready to give it everything we've got. Because if we don't try, we will be letting a billion people down.
You can feel the cultural vibe,cant you?
5 tell-tale signs your culture code is fine-tuned for startup success:
IdentityYou have a distinct sense that you are sharply different from the rest of the world. In a good way.
FoundationYou are on a mission to change the world. You've got the vision, the secret and the plan (product+distribution).
TrustYou trust the people you work with. And they trust you back.
Pivot-abilityYou learn from everybody and everything. Your beliefs are up for discussion, you can change them and pivot.
GiftworkEverybody puts in the extra effort, goes the extra mile. Because what you do matters. Because people like each other.
Not there yet?
Well, roll up your sleeves.Youve got some culture hacking to do.
Hello, aspiring culture hackers.
At Corporate Spring, we believe passionate cultures can accomplish wonders.
So we help create them.
We run 37 hour cultural hackathons.
Goal:Hack your culture to help you accomplish wonders.
Philosophy:Make the implicit culture code explicit. Take a hard look. Run cultural experiments. Steal culture hacks from other startups. Invent your own. Fail quickly. Debug. Have fun. Celebrate successes. Laugh at failures. Think of cultural coding as a game with serious consequences.
DAY 1 MACRO start 7:00 am
Unhide hidden drivers.Code stress test. People. Customers. Investors. Competitors. Coding Beliefs.
Create ground to stand on.Code stress test. Whys. Mission. Secret. Vision. Plan. Person #20. Coding Foundation.
DAY 2 MICRO finish 8 pm
Make every day count.Code stress test. Setting goals & allocating time. Sharing information & ideas. Tracking progress. Course corrections & pivots. Big & small decisions. Resolving conflicts. Dealing with setbacks. Onboarding, giving feedback and celebrating. Keeping eyes & ears open. Having fun. Coding Hacks.
Is that Our Way?Code review. One last stress test.
37 hours at a glance
feel like this:Fast-paced action. Even when you sleep. Answer big questions in 30 seconds.Make impossible tradeoffs on the spot. Get inside other people's heads. Turn hacks into edgy social experiments. And write, write, write the code.
Outcome:Your culture code ready for beta testing Monday morning.
Our WayCulture code version 2.0
Without good frameworks, its easy to lose sight of whats important. We draw on two seminal works on culture:
Hofstedes Cultures ConsequencesHalls Beyond Culture
Frameworks without practical startup context are useless. Here are some of the people and ideas we follow:
Steve Blank, Lean StartupPeter Thiel, Founders FundMax Marmer, Startup GenomeVinod Khosla, Khosla VenturesPaul Graham, Y Combinator Happy Startup CanvasGoogle VenturesStartup WeekendsStartup CompassFunders & Founders
We love cultural hacks. We keep an extensive inventory of effective cultural practices. Some weve designed ourselves (and won prizes for). Others weve borrowed from culture-hacking companies like Asana, Zappos, Google. We are always on the look out for good ideas that work.
Our hackathons are based on research
Ready to culture code?