Minimum Viable Culture

April 19, 2016 · 1 min read

When should a startup start to write down its culture and values?

As a startup founder, I deeply believe two things:

  1. Company culture starts with your first hire and is fundamental to long-term success.
  2. Small, early-stage startups don’t need a lot of process, documentation, or formality.

When my co-founder Ben and I were deciding whether to work together, we exchanged notes on the values and behaviors that mattered to us. But it felt too early for an official company values statement.

Instead, I wrote a brief set of “ground rules” that we give to new hires on their first day. They’re simple enough to read in a minute, but practical enough to apply to your daily choices and actions:

Fieldbook: Ground Rules

Thanks to David Crawford for commenting on a draft of this post.

These days I do most of my writing at The Roots of Progress. If you liked this essay, check out my other work there.


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