Welcome to Puppy(dot)io — Or why management disrupts a startup’s culture. 🧐

The Monocle — Episode #1

How stock photo websites think people work.

Company Culture

As companies scale, good founders will always talk about how worried they are about maintaining their “company culture”.

Was ist das?

Culture is a code of conduct. It’s how people in your company choose to behave, communicate, dress, work, have fun, etc. Every company has one.

My kind of cocktail party.

The birth of a company’s culture 🐺

Orginally Puppy.io was called Wolf.io. The founders thought it best illustrated what they all had in common: their entrepreneurial drive, alone against the world — a lone wolf idea. Yes, they had grouped into a pack, but each with their freedom and individuality.

  • Reporting & Communication: Founders expected each other to let the others know if something was wrong or if they were having doubts about a decision.
  • Ownership & Responsibility: Each of them was responsible for making sure they were able to deliver. Collaboration was key in that effort, and if you didn’t ask, it was your fault.
  • Scope decision making: Each founder could call their own shots unless they felt it would impact the work of the pack.
Richard (CEO): I'd like for this company to be different than Hooli and Goolybib and all the rest, you know? Like, let's like not turn this into a corporate cult with bike meetings and voluntary retreats that are actually mandatory. And claiming to make the world a better place all the time. Let's, uh, let's just think different.Richard (CEO): Don't think different. That's Apple.Richard (CEO): Uh, umm Let's just Let's just do it.Big Head (Early Employee): That's Nike, man.Richard (CEO): I know that's Nike.Big Head (Early Employee): Yeah.Richard (CEO): Uh Fuck it. I don't know. Let's just make it... Let's just make it happen!

The Birth of a Dictatorship

As soon as Wolf.io’s first employee stepped in, things started to change.

From Self-Managed (t=0)…

At t=0, the company culture is the one we described above: self-managed.

… to Dictatorship (t+1 employees)

The experience for the newly hired lone wolves however, was very different.

First employees with Founders :-)

⚡️ Culture Clash ⚡️

A couple of hires down the line and you have the founders’ vision of a self-managed lone-wolf culture vs. the real team of cute puppies.

In case it isn’t clear, the three 🐺🐺🐺 in the blue box are the founders :)

“At Wolf.io, this shouldn’t be happening.” — Howdy, Pack Leader

Everyone was kind of looking around thinking… “I just did what I was told — I was following the Pack Leader.”

Teach your team to self-manage.

There will always be strong leadership from the founders.

“The greatest people are self-managed.” – Steve Jobs

Pro Tip 💡

Founders, start by telling your team the secrets to how you manage yourself.

🧐 →🤔

[monocle → off]



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Adrien Guilmineau

Co-founder @ariacaptions @sidekick_hq @tinbox_app • Hangout @_thefamily • Kinda-studied @warwickuni