Be humble, seek feedback, and always solve the fundamental problem (Density Values)

After five years and dozens of drafts about what we care about, what we value, and attempts at articulating what the most successful people at Density do or embody, we’ve boiled it down to the following:

Be humble, seek feedback, and always solve the fundamental problem.

These three ideas are what you will find when you work at Density; they’re also what we aspire to. We believe the statement is a mindset, a way of operating, and something that can be functionally applied.

Be humble

Humility has helped us build a logical, socratic culture. It’s encouraged us to be self-aware. To be open about our strengths, our weaknesses, and how to improve. It’s a ballast against politics, arrogance, hubris, and gamesmanship.

It is great for business. It has helped us build authentic relationships with our customers and with one another. It’s helped us be transparent about the accuracy of our technology. To be open when we are not the right solution. And to become trusted counselors to our customers.

Humility wins us business, it is inclusive, it keeps us nimble and honest, and it has led to remarkably high voluntary employee retention.

We hire and fire around humility for these reasons.

Seek feedback

Cultures that are good at identifying conflict are more likely to resolve it. Feedback at Density is not anonymous. It is most often 1 on 1 and it is encouraged all the time. Things you’ll hear at Density:

  • “Have you told them that, directly?“
  • “How can I be better?”
  • “How can we be better?“
  • “Do you have the support you need?”
  • “Can I give you some feedback?”

Direct, rapid feedback gets ahead of resentment. It discourages back-channeling and faceless complaints. It strengthens the relationships that are critical to our work. It relies on and encourages humility, trust, courage, clarity, directness, logic, and care. It is a fundamental requirement of a growing, healthy company.

Without an environment that supports feedback, the individuals can’t improve, the team becomes blind to shortcomings, and the organization suffers. There cannot be growth without feedback.

Always solve the fundamental problem

Working on the right thing is harder than being excellent at your craft. Different people have different ways of talking about this. Some call it “first principles.” Others, “focus.” We call it, “solving the fundamental problem.”

It means knowing what doesn’t matter. It means knowing what you can safely ignore. Knowing what is most important comes from experience, good judgement, forethought, ingenuity, imagination, logic, vision, and creativity. These are all things we look for in people who work at Density.

Solving the fundamental problem means talking to users, shipping product early and often, and it means experimenting (ask us about the story behind: “Can we just put the damn thing above a door?” )

Our product is a playground — engineering, design, devops, security, sales, manufacturing, machine learning, marketing, supply chain, logistics, etc. There are so many fun things to do and there is so much to learn.

This is why we value people willing to advocate for and invest their time in identifying the essential thing. The thing we have to do first. The thing that separates us. The thing that all others rely on… the fundamental problem.

Andrew Farah, Density CEO

More about we do: http://density.io

Building @densityio.

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