Written by Leo Gorodinski, CTO and Co-Founder at Alvys
I had an incredible experience at Jet, having front row seats to what would become the largest e-commerce acquisition in history (at that time). That experience taught me a lot about company culture as I got to see it emerge in real-time. Anyone in business knows that conflict will arise as people begin working on projects trying to propel the company forward. Each person has a job to do, and typically they want to do it the way they think is best. But, it’s not always the case that you get to move forward with your plans without any push back from colleagues.
The start-up world is fast paced and doesn’t leave room for holding grudges. When Nick and I first met, we spoke at great length about trust, transparency, and fairness. We agreed that these values go to our core. We decided that any company we started would be imbued with those values. That’s why, for the past two years, I’ve been doing my best to create a great company culture at Alvys.
Company culture comes down to our collective behaviors and the values that drive them. These behaviors begin to crystalize as people spend more time together. They show up in the form of employee interaction, customer success, and conflict resolution. Over time, you will end up with a fruitful culture that inspires creativity and growth or one that hinders and stifles expression. We chose the path of growth. Alvys will be here for a long time, and we’ve planted seeds of success. We believe that any company will thrive with the right ideas and the right culture. Here’s a list of six behaviors we aim to cultivate:
1. Healthy Communication
We communicate clearly, transparently, kindly, humbly, seeking first to understand, before being understood. We take time to organize the information that we produce and ensure everyone stays informed.
2. A Blameless Atmosphere and Grace in Conflict
Our foundational position is that everyone did the best at the time with the information they had. We seek to learn from our mistakes rather than to dwell on them. We embrace debate. When conflict turns unhealthy, we seek to handle it gracefully and productively.
3. Talent Recognition and Development
We seek top talent, and we train and invest in our talent. We recognize accomplishments, and we grow leaders and individual contributors from within. We trust our team members and enable them to perform their roles.
4. Ownership and Cross-Team Collaboration
Cross-functional teams collaborate throughout the lifecycle of each feature. Product managers, designers, engineers, and testers all take ownership in ideation, discovery, development, QA, and of course, production operations. We don’t throw requirements or responsibilities “over the fence.”
5. Laser Focus and Pursuit of Excellence
We pursue excellence in our features, UX, reliability, speed of delivery, system architecture and code quality, all with a laser focus on creating value for our users.
6. A Fixation on Our Users
Our primary competitive advantage is our ability to understand the needs of our users, translate them into product features, and then to offer a reliable service and a great user experience. Our users are the ultimate judges of our work, the north star in our journey.
Building a company from the ground up is no easy feat. It takes time, effort, and patience. There are all these moving pieces acting as microcosms interlinked with each other. We aim to pull all those individual pieces together with trust, transparency, and fairness. When the pieces click together, the vision comes to life.
As our company grows, so does our culture. We’ve set a strong foundation capable of enduring the strongest of storms. Whether you’re an employee or an entrepreneur, what you say and do matters. How you treat others matters. If you’ve made it this far, we hope that you take these values and adopt them as your own.
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