A reflection on values
This page is sometimes filled with nonsense and buzzwords about a company’s core values. About how the people working there are making the world a better place by adding value while having lots of fun and so on.
Unfortunately - in many cases - that's just a coat of paint applied by the marketing department. It’s fake and you can smell it from far away.
Most companies are just a group of people and capital coming together to provide a product or a service to other people or businesses. It’s a transaction, in which a part is giving and another one is receiving. You know, Economics 101.
At this stage, Compiuta is not aiming to change the world. We won’t be coming up with a disruptive technology that will have a revolutionary impact for the foreseeable future. And we act accordingly.
Values should be habits
Values are useless if just preached. Worse, they are toxic and create a culture of “we don’t follow up on what we said we would do”. A company must use values as a no brainer to make critical decisions, like firing a superstar employee or saying no to a big contract.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
The solution is having down to earth and actually applicable values: these are far more likely to be useful. The spirit is something along the lines of “create a game with simple rules and respect them no matter what”.
So, what about Compiuta's values?
If you’re considering joining Compiuta, please make sure you read our values carefully. Working for a company is a relationship - you should be a fit for Compiuta and the other way round.
We will do our best to judge whether you are a fit for Compiuta during the interview phase. The second part is up to you and that’s why we ask you to treat it as the first task you’ll be assigned.
As you’ll see, there’s nothing disruptive here: we just stick to the basics and try our best to provide a workplace in which everyone can feel empowered to do their best job.
At Compiuta we value:
If you behave like a jerk you are out. That’s it. We don’t even care about how much money it will cost us to fire you, because we’re sure that keeping jerks around will have a higher price tag in the long run.
An additional step over respect is kindness. For example, we value a lot people that go the extra mile to make small gestures to put colleagues at ease.
Examples: obvious stuff that shouldn't even be mentioned like racism, sexism or any other form of discrimination, is out of Compiuta.
A team can only work if there’s complete trust between its constituents. You can only build trust through honesty. Either while giving feedback to a colleague or sharing a piece of information, aim for complete honesty: otherwise, we’ll assume the worst.
Mistakes are only bad if we don’t learn from it: if you screw up, you’re expected to be transparent about it. The best thing you can do is to just state your assumptions, what happened and what the conclusion was - bonus points if you try to provide a solution. What is not tolerated is the old practice of sweeping dust under the rug or, even worse, blaming someone else.
Getting this one right is tricky, because it can easily derail in silliness or naïveté. While watching closely that our feet are not floating too high above the ground, we always try to look at the way things could work. Once we have budgeted a certain amount of risk we can tolerate, we execute heads down as if it were impossible to fail. Then we raise our heads and hope for the best.
We start by asking ourselves “Let’s suppose this is going to work. How….” Sometimes the difference between a good idea and a bad one is just how much you believe in it: we want to be able to remove indecisiveness from the execution phase.
This is our version of the typical “Excellence” value. Everyone seems in a race to be the best in the world at something. We are running a different race, supported by Pareto’s principle. We value done over perfect, we ship and correct mistakes rather than being paralysed waiting for the muse to come.
We even called our company Compiuta, the feminine Italian noun for “done”.
Does this mean we tolerate crap? Nothing further from the truth: we are perfectionists and need to constantly remind ourselves to ship. Great products usually come from iteration instead of grand schemes.
This one is easy: if you are stuck, give yourself a bit of time to step back and think. Maybe also ask for help. Then just do it without worrying about it being the final version - that mythological beast, exactly.
Again, nothing revolutionary - some say we set the bar too low. Isn’t this boring? No dreams at all? Of course we have big expectations for Compiuta: but those are just the icing on the cake.
We believe in strong fundamentals, practiced over and over: you may be surprised how far we’ll go with them.