Values

Exploring Creativity and Innovation: Lessons from Building Anew

Version 01, Feb 2024

Foreword

The concept of corporate values has always sat uneasily with me, delaying the process of articulating them. My discomfort stems from the hollowness and prescriptive nature of such values—the audacity of dictating behavior and the risk of breeding cynicism if not perfectly executed. I aim to build a business, not an ideology, prompting the question: what more should I expect from others beyond hard work and fairness?

Despite initial reluctance, two years of endeavor and reflection have led me to appreciate the merit of this exercise. Observing our partnership, a unique and collective ethos emerges, hard to name but undeniably worth capturing. Writing it down not only clarifies but also invites broader dialogue, helping to distill our collective pursuit into something tangible.

This endeavor challenges the conventional format of corporate values. Instead, I opt for a narrative approach, sharing insights and observations that celebrate our collective achievements in fostering an environment conducive to inspired work. Rather than discussing business values directly, I will explore them through the metaphor of road trips, inspired by the unique qualities that make our partnership special.

1. Show Up with Heartfelt Intensity

My early road trip experiences, specifically a family journey up the Great Northern Highway, initially obscured the joys of the open road. Yet, my father’s infectious passion for travel and discovery highlighted a valuable lesson: the importance of showing up with what we term “heartfelt intensity.” This form of intrinsic motivation, evident in the dedication and enthusiasm our partnership brings to our work, emphasizes the significance of how we engage in our endeavors. It’s about the fervor and commitment behind our actions, a shared trait that enhances our collective output and fosters a culture of meticulous attention to detail and joy in our work.

2. Start with ‘What Could Be?’

Challenging the status quo and exploring alternative paths form the essence of our approach, much like eschewing Google Maps for a family quest to find the best roadside tamales. This mindset, akin to navigating uncharted territories, encourages us to dream, to question, and to innovate, ensuring our work remains dynamic and creative. It is about embracing a multidimensional perspective, allowing us to transcend conventional limitations and envision what could be, thus fostering a culture of creativity and expansive thinking.

3. Assume You Don’t Know

Adopting a posture of humility and openness propels us forward, especially in the face of novelty and uncertainty. My father’s approach to exploration—engaging with locals, embracing spontaneity, and maintaining a relentless curiosity—serves as a model for our work ethic. It’s about acknowledging the limits of our knowledge and being eager to learn, to discover, and to adapt, ensuring we remain open to new ideas and diverse perspectives, thereby enriching our collective wisdom and innovation.

4. You’re on the Hook for the Team

On a recent road trip, my partner and I faced a daunting challenge navigating through the congested heart of a sprawling city. The GPS had failed us at the worst possible moment, leaving us to rely on an old, printed city map and our collective wits to find our way. The streets were a labyrinth, packed with cars, buses, and the constant blare of horns. With my partner calmly scanning the map and providing directions, we navigated through the chaos, executing precise turns and maneuvers to avoid gridlocks and dead ends.

This moment, tense yet exhilarating, underscored the importance of teamwork, trust, and clear communication. My partner’s ability to remain composed and provide clear, confident directions through the traffic maze was invaluable. It was a vivid reminder that, in both life and business, having a reliable co-pilot can turn seemingly insurmountable challenges into surmountable obstacles.

This experience is emblematic of the culture we strive to cultivate within our business. It teaches us that when faced with complex problems, a calm demeanor, trust in each other’s abilities, and clear communication are our most powerful tools. It reinforces the idea that by supporting one another, leveraging our diverse strengths, and working collaboratively, there’s no challenge too complex to navigate. This approach ensures that, as a team, we not only reach our destinations but also enjoy the journey, learning and growing together every step of the way.

5. Make Them Feel Something

Ultimately, the essence of our endeavors—whether through road trips or software development—is to evoke emotion, to make people feel alive, connected, and inspired. Our goal is to create experiences that resonate on a personal level, leaving a lasting impact. It’s about infusing our work with humanity, ensuring that beyond functionality and innovation, there’s a touch of joy, a spark of delight, that makes our creations memorable.

Conclusion

As we continue to build and innovate, let us remember the lessons of our shared experiences and the values that emerge from them. It’s not just about the work we do but how we do it and the feelings we evoke in others that truly define our success. We’re more than just a couple of people working together; we’re a team dedicated to making the internet and by extension the world, a bit more like home.

Discover more about our journey and join us in making a difference.