Done wrong, as they often are, company values are bullshit. They are bullshit in the sense Harry Frankfurt defines in On Bullshit: empty assertions designed only to satisfy some tactical need, worse even than lies in their distance from the truth. "When an honest man speaks, he says only what he believes to be true; and for the liar, it is correspondingly indispensable that he considers his statements to be false. For the bullshitter, however, all these bets are off: he is neither on the side of the true nor on the side of the false. His eye is not on the facts at all, as the eyes of the honest man and of the liar are, except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says."
We are not bullshitters. We would sooner have a blank space on our "About Us" page than allow creeping traditions of mediocrity to get a foothold in our company. But there are also ways of thinking that have contributed to our success, that we use to evaluate ourselves and prospective hires, and that we want to ensure we carry into the future. We are growing at a rate where we need to scale up our ability to propagate a healthy culture, and formulating our company values is the best way to do that.
Our goal was to arrive at the smallest possible list of core values that we could use to guide good decision making. We expected it to reflect what we believe, what has worked well for us, and what we aspire towards even when we fall short.
Understand what matters to our employees. Give them what they need to do their best work.
No games. No bullshit. We rely on our peers to improve. Be open, honest and kind.
Value quality and integrity in everything we do.
Understand customers' stated and unstated needs. Make them wildly successful.
Be energised by hard problems. Revel in unknowns. Ask "Why?", but always question, "Why not?"