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How to create a good culture?

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What Company Culture IS and IS NOT. Date / / Category / Hiring, Startups, Team Frustrated.

What Company Culture IS and IS NOT

Disturbed. Disappointed. That’s how I feel after reading a recent article that appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek called “Job Applicants’ Cultural Fit Can Trump Qualifications.” I don’t typically like to rant against stuff on the web, but I’m worried this is a case where the popularity of the piece (note the thousand upvotes, 600+ comments, and hyper-negativity in the Reddit thread) and the lack of response is giving a wonderful thing – company culture and cultural fit – an undefended bad name. Let’s be clear; these things ARE NOT company culture: Secret Santa gift exchangesKaraoke nightsBean bag chairsNerf gun fightsCatered lunchesCruises with your co-workersMashed potato sculpting contests judged by your auditors at Deloitte (yes, we really did this at Moz, and it was totally fun) If You Don’t Respect Your Customers You Won’t Be Successful. I spend a lot of time with startups and thus hear many companies talk about their approach to sales and their interactions with customers.

If You Don’t Respect Your Customers You Won’t Be Successful

From these meetings you can really tell the leaders that care deeply about their customers and those the look down on them. Given customers & sales are the lifeblood of any organization you’d imagine everybody would respect their customers. Be Nice Or Leave. We have a sign like this in our beach house.

Be Nice Or Leave

We got it in New Orleans many years ago. I thought of that sign when I was on the phone yesterday. I was talking to a person involved in a deal I’m working on right now. He said “you guys are being awfully nice here.” For much of the rest of the day, I was thinking “are we being too nice?” The Ronco Principle. January 2015 No one, VC or angel, has invested in more of the top startups than Ron Conway.

The Ronco Principle

He knows what happened in every deal in the Valley, half the time because he arranged it. And yet he's a super nice guy. In fact, nice is not the word. Don’t Fuck Up the Culture. Hey team, Our next team meeting is dedicated to Core Values, which are essential to building our culture.

Don’t Fuck Up the Culture

It occurred to me that before this meeting, I should write you a short letter on why culture is so important to Joe, Nate, and me. After we closed our Series C with Peter Thiel in 2012, we invited him to our office. This was late last year, and we were in the Berlin room showing him various metrics. Midway through the conversation, I asked him what was the single most important piece of advice he had for us. He replied, “Don’t fuck up the culture.” Mean People Fail. November 2014 It struck me recently how few of the most successful people I know are mean.

Mean People Fail

There are exceptions, but remarkably few. Meanness isn't rare. In fact, one of the things the internet has shown us is how mean people can be. A few decades ago, only famous people and professional writers got to publish their opinions. And yet while there are clearly a lot of mean people out there, there are next to none among the most successful people I know. Part of what's going on, of course, is selection bias. My wife and Y Combinator cofounder Jessica is one of those rare people who have x-ray vision for character. Why? Startups don't win by attacking. Another reason mean founders lose is that they can't get the best people to work for them.

There is also a complementary force at work: if you want to build great things, it helps to be driven by a spirit of The exciting thing is that startups are not just one random type of work in which meanness and success are inversely correlated. Notes. Programming Your Culture. I do this for my cultureTo let them know what a n@#!

Programming Your Culture

A look like when a ni&%! A in a RoadsterShow them how to move in a room full of vulturesIndustry is shady, it needs to be taken overLabel owners hate me, I'm raising the status quo upI'm overcharging n$%^a for what they did to the Cold Crush—Jay-Z, Izzo (H.O.V.A.) JAY Z - Izzo (H.O.V.A.) | Listen for free at The Three Levels of Trust with Successful Co-Worker Partnerships. I think a lot about how to create and maintain highly effective teams.

The Three Levels of Trust with Successful Co-Worker Partnerships

To be a part of a highly effective team, you need to have mutual trust with your team members. Many companies approach this problem organizationally, but the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’m convinced individual tackling it one co-worker at a time is the right solution. So, I thought about what trust really means with your co-workers, and found that there are really different levels of trust in an organization.

I’ll break them down here. Layer 1: Same Goals It’s amazing how many workplace relationships never even get to this step. So, what do you do if you don’t share the same goals? Why is it important to have the same goals? Layer 2: Doing What You Say Once you’ve agreed to the same goals, you need to divide work to reach those goals.