Values and Culture
I believe values matter. I don’t believe founders should be neutral when it comes to communicating what our company stands for and what I personally stand for. As tech companies get bigger and touch more parts of our lives, this becomes more and more important. It’s never too early to start defining and communicating your values. Values are the core of who we are as a company and the true-north we aim toward when the future impact of decisions are not clear. “Knowing thyself” is a lifetime journey, for a company as well as an individual. We’re always working on ourselves. And I while often feel that these viewpoints below can be perceived as naive, these are a few of the values around which we have clarity as a growing team at 6D. We’ll continue to update them as we listen and learn.
If you share these values and are interested in working with us, alongside us, or allowing us to serve you as a customer, reach out to us at email@example.com.
We are a team that is solving hard technical problems, and developers are our customers. We are an engineering-first culture, and we want to be known as a place where great engineers can do great work. We want to make our customers successful so our culture is very much oriented toward shipping products, even though those products may need risky research to be performed. What we are not doing is trying to boil the ocean and solve every technical problem in AR at once, nor are we conducting science projects and then hoping someone will want what we invent. Solving a hard problem that no one has been able to solve before, then seeing our customers succeed with what we have built is where we find satisfaction.
We look at diversity from two perspectives. First, within the company, we want to expose ourselves to a wide range of viewpoints and ensure we can empathize with our customers and with society. We don’t care about your background beyond the extent that you share our mission, can contribute to achieving it, and have had life experiences that will enrich us all.
Second, we believe that many people are systematically disadvantaged in society and we are amongst the most fortunate people on earth to be able to work in this field. While a single tiny startup cannot effect massive change alone, we need to be clear about what and who we stand for and ensure our voice and our actions reinforce positive trends in society.
Feel free to browse our Team page and hold us accountable. We are working hard to hire women. Please reach out even if you don’t think you have all the qualifications, we want to listen & hear your story. We are mostly immigrants of various cultural backgrounds. Different ages & socio-economic backgrounds. Single, married, kids & no-kids. About 1/3 of us represent various minorities. We have a broad mix of educational backgrounds. We can do better.
It’s not hard to paint a dystopian picture of our AR enabled future. Surveillance everywhere, data being sucked up and used for nefarious ends. No privacy. First, we need to bake our values in from the beginning. Our customers (and their customers) need to trust our values before they trust our policy, before they trust our technology. How we try and work through these problems is just as important as what we do. Second, 6D.ai is unencumbered by a business model that is built on advertising. Like AWS or Stripe, we intend to charge for the value we directly provide. We are not exposed to the conflicted motivations that all the large incumbents have when it comes to learning how to succeed in AR. My hope is that 6D.ai can be a visible participant in the work to responsibly serve our customers and society, and that the degree to which we are transparent will lead to corresponding accountability and trust. The challenge for us is that while many lessons have been learned by the industry and need to be applied, ubiquitous AR enables use-cases and end-user value that no one really understands yet. We will make mistakes due to unintended consequences, and betting wrong on how we think things will work out. We hope our mistakes will only be in areas that the right answers could not have been 100% known in advance, and that we will be judged by how we respond to our mistakes, rather than be expected not to make any.
TRANSPARENCY, ACCOUNTABILITY & TRUST
When we are transparent with each other, it creates accountability. Transparency is something that managers have wanted from their teams for ever. However, it’s often not discussed that there’s a responsibility on leadership to earn the trust of your team. That willingness to trust must be earned by leaders, and we hold ourselves accountable that anyone who is transparent with us: customers; team members; or society at large, must be trusted by us in return. Knowing that we are working together towards a shared vision is the basis of succeeding together.
6D exists to serve other people. We want our customers to be successful and for them to get all the glory for what they create. Building the plumbing, the enabling technology, and knowing that we helped make you successful is what we live for. Though we are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and the problems we are solving, we are not working for our own fame. It’s infinitely more gratifying for me to help someone else succeed than the times I’ve received the accolades myself. That’s the feeling I want all of us at 6D to feel, even a little bit.
We treat our customers the way we treat ourselves. 6D is a place where we value people who give credit to other people and other teams. Where we win together and lose together. Where leaders give the credit and take the blame. These are not soft nice words we say publicly to make ourselves feel like we are good people. We recognize these are hard and challenging standards to live up to, that frequently go against all our emotions in the moment. However, it’s how we build the type of team that is resilient, supportive and able to achieve more than a group of talented individuals can achieve alone. Each of needs to know that when we fail, the team has our back, and when we do achieve the unimaginable, we recognize we did not do it alone.
While we are a team of engineers working on deep esoteric 3D maths problems to make computer vision APIs used by other engineers, at heart we are working for something bigger than ourselves. We want to leave the world better than we found it. We believe that creativity is core to how people enjoy the world, that the technology we invent can help anyone who uses it find a new spark for their own creativity, that we are already working with some of the most creative people in the world, and we love seeing them come alive as they think about what 6D might let them do. And lastly, because we believe that to solve these deep esoteric 3D maths problems, our team needs to be as creative in our thinking and take risks in our execution, just like any original artist.
Values are not only about how we treat each other. They are literally what we value. We cannot survive without winning. Not in the sense of “crushing the competition” but in the sense of “winning your heart.” We deeply value competing against ourselves and our own limits, against competitors big & small, and importantly against all the reasons that our customers might be happy with the status quo. We have a vision of the future that we believe in — that AR can enhance our humanity and 6D can help bring that future to reality. We can help our customers make better products for their customers. We want to win you over.
Startups are not a sprint, even though it feels like it. We intend to win at the end, not the run down to the first corner. Pacing ourselves, balancing an effort with a recovery, focussing on the long-term vision and optimizing for winning are core to our values. Like in any endurance race, there will often be times that call for a short hard effort — overtaking a competitor, climbing a hill, breaking free of the pack — but if you want to win, you also need to be able to back-off to a slightly less fast pace that allows recovery after the effort is successful. Our leaders all have experience in building startups, we’ve seen success & failure; we have young families who we prioritize; some of us have competed in endurance sports. We are super competitive, competitive for the long term.