Values

An evolving list of things I value when building a business:

  1. Address needs. Solve a deep pain-point, fulfill a strong desire, or bring immense joy. Be brutally honest in assessing whether you have achieved this.
  2. Seek clarity. Internally document and communicate what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and who does what. (More on this here).
  3. Defer to users/customers. Collect and listen to feedback.
  4. Be bold. Be unconventional. Push boundaries.
  5. Foster creativity and collaboration. Enable ideas to flow amongst your team by creating a no ego, low pressure (albeit hardworking/effective) environment.
  6. Have integrity. Respect others and yourself.
  7. Be authentic. Have passion for what you’re building. Practice what you preach and sell.
  8. Make money. Make the world better. Be aggressively for profit, but consider and help solve the world’s most pressing problems.
  9. Promote individual growth. Set up structured mentorship functions. Enable employees to achieve their longterm professional goals.
  10. Act. Move fast. Each action — an email, a line of code, etc. — moves you forward. Make progress daily. It’s the oxygen for growth.
  11. Be data driven, but question. Track everything. Have goals, benchmarks, milestones, etc. But also question the data—find hidden insights; talk to people.
  12. Apply and innovate best practices. Have hard skills and utilize them. But constantly think through how you can do things better.
  13. Over-communicate. Regularly update your colleagues and stakeholders. Never cause someone to feel confused or out of the loop.
  14. Be responsive and efficient. Quickly respond to emails, texts and phone calls, especially those from pre-existing contacts (as opposed to someone cold emailing you). Don’t slow others down.
  15. Simplify. In producing a product or deliverable, minimize to what’s essential. Focus on what’s most important.
  16. Reinvent. You can’t survive by performing the status quo. (via Howard Schultz).
  17. Seek diversity. Avoid monotony. Actively and seriously seek diversity and its benefits.
  18. Work hard. Have a life. Put in the hours. Have a rich personal life. Consider flexible scheduling and workplaces. Trust teammates to get the job done.
  19. Support parents. Implement a generous parental leave policy, including a flexible workplace policy for when employees return.
  20. Great is better than perfect. Whether shipping products or solving a crisis, in most cases, don’t wait for the perfect solution.
  21. Make hard decisions as an individual. Don’t pass hard decisions onto others. Be diligent. Take a position. Have accountability. Make yourself valuable.
  22. Do the hard work as a company. Don’t expect others to give you the answer (e.g. Don’t expect a VC to tell you if your business idea is viable). You need to become the expert. Put in the legwork and figure things out.
  23. Ignore hype and noise. Avoid distractions. Focus on growing your company.
  24. Compensate well. Don’t screw your employees. Proactively seek to pay them well. Enable them to afford common expenses (e.g. a house, children’s tuition) and the lifestyle they desire so they can work for your company for years.
  25. Share ownership. Be generous in distributing equity, especially to early employees. Prevent them from having resentment as they pour their waking hours into your company.