A quick thought on company culture.

Company culture seems to be in vogue over the past few weeks. For some reason, culture has been showing up on Twitter, in discussions, all over. I’m sure this is in part due to the two recent lectures in Sam Altman’s startup class that talk about company culture and team building:

http://startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec10/

http://startupclass.samaltman.com/courses/lec11/

Great stuff in these two lectures from Alfred Lin of Zappos, Brian Chesky of Airbnb, Patrick and John Collison of Stripe, and Ben Silbermann of Pinterest. Worth the watch, as of course have been all of the other lectures.

Here are the two things I want in my company culture:

  1. Every single person at this company should be proud of what they are doing, and proud of what the company is doing. I think this one goes without too much explanation.
  1. Every single person at the company should be able to sell.

This one may require a bit of unpacking. I don’t mean sell as in the old kind of sales, the Glengarry Glen Ross always-be-closing kind of desperate, sleazy, immoral sales. I mean 21st century sales, where the ability to sell means the ability to move others.

I say this because to be good at sales, you have to be able to listen. You have to be able to ask questions. You have to master the three rules of improv theatre: 1: Hear offers. 2: Say “Yes, and”. 3: Make other people look good. You have to always proceed as though others are doing you favors, and not the other way around.

That’s what I want in my company culture.


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