A few weeks ago I got a text from a friend asking if I could share some of our Variance internal docs. Specifically, he was looking for our meeting rules, which is something we originally put in place back in Percolate days. Unfortunately, that blog post has now mostly disappeared from the web, plus we have made updates for life as a remote team. So I downloaded the doc out of Notion and sent it over.
I thought about just making the Notion page public, but I decided against it. After some more thought, though, I started to wonder why all these docs aren’t public. As we ramp up hiring (you can find all our available roles on our Jobs page), I find myself sharing bits and pieces of them anyway. Plus, as with any documentation, it’s always easiest to manage when there’s a single source of truth. So this week we put together a Culture page and started to publish our internal docs. There will certainly be some that we keep internal only, but defaulting to public seems like a good approach for our employees, prospective employees, and even our customers, who will all have a much better sense of our philosophy and approach.
What’s in this initial release?
- A culture page that outlines our mission, vision, and values and links off to our other cultural docs
- Our POV on the value of writing in building a company, which we believe is a critical component for scaling a startup and a culture, particularly in a remote world
- Our “laws of meetings” which outline the rules we try to live by and why it matters so much to us to be careful about never becoming a culture of meetings
- Our “mores”—the beliefs that we bring to building a business (and life) and we hope to share with all Variance employees
Here’s a little taste of what is inside. From our doc about the value of writing:
Writing scales incredibly well. It can be read at any time by an unlimited number of people. Media theorist Neil Postman once said, "The act of reading a book is the best example of distance learning ever invented because reading not only triumphs over the limitations of space and co-presence, but of time as well." Inside a company there just isn't a better way to communicate than written words. That's why we are focused on ensuring we build a culture of writing. In this context, writing serves a few roles:
- Writing to communicate. This is the point I just made.
- Writing to converse. Thanks to new tools, writing isn't just static, it's a thing people can comment on and edit publicly.
- Writing to think. There's a saying in law — "does it write?" — that speaks to the clarifying role writing can have in the process of thought. Forcing yourself to articulate something in writing lays bare how clearly you understand it.
- Writing to archive. Companies are a sort of shared brain. The better that brain functions, the better the company functions. Having a shared archive of ideas, arguments, and communications and ensuring that archive is searchable (hence Notion) can help ensure that the brain functions at as high a level as possible.
We plan to release more of our company and culture docs in the coming weeks and months. If you’re an engineer or salesperson interested in joining our team, please give them a read and then drop us a note. If you’re a customer or prospect, hopefully, this helps contextualize why we’re different and how we plan to continue to build a great product and company.
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