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Patreon Culture Deck

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Our core behaviors
Most companies have core values. Few companies have cultures that reflect them. That’s why Patreon has core behaviors — things you can do to ensure a thriving workplace for you and your teammates.

Our core behaviors were crafted by our first two dozen employees. To this day, we use them as our guiding light toward maintaining the culture we’ve built and love.

Published in: Technology
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Patreon Culture Deck

  1. 1. © Patreon 2018 May 2018 PATREON CULTURE
  2. 2. © Patreon 2018 DISCLAIMERS The material in this deck is not necessarily “right” or “wrong.” You won’t agree with everything here, but as a team, we have to make certain decisions about how we operate together in order to maximize our effectiveness and efficiency. Our culture is a living and breathing organism that evolves over time. This deck covers what works for Patreon today, but that’s not what’s worked for Patreon in the past, or what will work for us in the future. We expect you to help create our future slides.
  3. 3. © Patreon 2018 Mission Core Behaviors Transparency Manager Expectations Communication Office Energy Inclusivity and Diversity Spending People Compensation OVERVIEW
  4. 4. © Patreon 2018 MISSION
  5. 5. © Patreon 2018 WE HAVE TWO MISSIONS 1. Fund the creative class 2. Create a company where teammates build fulfilling lives
  6. 6. © Patreon 2018 IT’S NOT AN ACCEPTABLE OUTCOME TO COMPLETE ONLY ONE OF THOSE THINGS. WHY? Because we don’t want to accomplish our mission at the expense of our teammates. And we don’t want to create a happy, fulfilled team if we aren’t getting creators paid.
  7. 7. © Patreon 2018 CORE BEHAVIORS
  8. 8. © Patreon 2018 WHAT IS CULTURE? Culture is a group of people repeating behaviors, which is why our core behaviors are the most important aspect of our culture. When people say they like our culture, they’re saying they like the way we treat each other, our visitors, our creators, and our patrons.
  9. 9. © Patreon 2018 WHY CALL THEM “CORE BEHAVIORS” INSTEAD OF “CORE VALUES?” Because behaviors are actions you can take and things you can do. Behaviors are lower in the stack than values, and thus, more actionable. Most companies have core values, but few companies have cultures that reflect them. Why is that? It’s because most companies write down values and then hope people adhere to them. At Patreon, our culture reflects our behaviors because we’ve built all of our systems (hiring, promoting, recognition, feedback) around them, and we ground decision-making in them.
  10. 10. © Patreon 2018 PUT CREATORS FIRST 1
  11. 11. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 1 - PUT CREATORS FIRST Patreon is nothing without our creators. It is: ● Prioritizing delivering long term value to creators when making important decisions ● Understanding the issues that are most important to creators and patrons It isn’t: ● Prioritizing features and offerings solely based on creator feedback ● Ignoring the needs and interests of Patrons Trade-offs: We’d rather folks prioritize creators . . . over their own comfort or convenience . . . over short term gains for Patreon
  12. 12. © Patreon 2018 We deliver unusual care to creators. Our business provides creators’ income and rent checks, so we do not take our responsibility lightly. We exist because of, and in service of, creators. There is a creator behind every text, email, call, request, bug, and payment issue, and we treat them as human beings, not users. We will fight to keep the human spark in our relationships as we scale. We invest in teams like Community Happiness, Creator Care, and Trust & Safety who are on the front lines taking care of our creators because it’s both the right thing to do, and a strategic advantage for Patreon. 1 - PUT CREATORS FIRST
  13. 13. © Patreon 2018 When creators visit our building, we show respect. When creators perform in our space, we are so quiet you can hear a pin drop. We are not distracted on our devices because we want creators receiving our undivided attention. When creators finish performing, we are so loud that we shake the building. When a creator leaves Patreon, they should feel like it was the best show of their lives. Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 1 - PUT CREATORS FIRST
  14. 14. © Patreon 2018 ACHIEVE AMBITIOUS OUTCOMES 2
  15. 15. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 2 - ACHIEVE AMBITIOUS OUTCOMES Set, measure, and accomplish goals that deliver massive value to our creators and patrons. It is: ● Setting, measuring, and accomplishing really challenging goals that matter to our creators and patrons ● Prioritizing outcomes over output ● Working efficiently to drive results It isn’t: ● Working harder or longer for its own sake ● Accomplishing things at the expense of your teammates Trade-offs: We’d rather folks achieve ambitious outcomes than . . . do great work that doesn’t actually contribute to our mission . . . do what’s popular or attention getting . . . deliver what’s easiest or most convenient
  16. 16. © Patreon 2018 CULTIVATE INCLUSION 3
  17. 17. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 3 - CULTIVATE INCLUSION We want an environment that retains and engages the diverse teams we’re building. It is: ● Building diverse teams that incorporate the ideas of folks from different walks of life ● Showing empathy for others and expressing curiosity about the way others see the world ● Creating opportunities for your teammates to grow and succeed It isn’t: ● Requiring consensus to make every decision ● Limited to interests of specific groups of people ● Building solely for underrepresented communities Trade-offs: We’d rather folks cultivate inclusion than . . . do everything in a uniform way . . . please the most impassioned or outspoken teammates . . . avoid uncomfortable conversations
  18. 18. © Patreon 2018 ADD VALUE QUICKLY 4
  19. 19. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 4 - ADD VALUE QUICKLY Add value quickly. It is: ● Moving forward with urgency ● Continuously seeking ways to add value ● Structuring work to delivers value early in project lifecycle It isn’t: ● A justification for low quality work ● An excuse to exclude key stakeholders Trade-offs: We’d rather folks add value quickly than . . . get bogged down in processes and rules . . . wait for the perfect solution
  20. 20. © Patreon 2018 Build for the chart on the bottom. 4 - ADD VALUE QUICKLY
  21. 21. © Patreon 2018 BE CANDID AND KIND 5
  22. 22. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 5 - BE CANDID AND KIND Be extremely caring and extremely direct in all you do at Patreon, especially when it comes to giving positive and constructive feedback. It is: ● Providing constructive feedback in a way that helps folks improve ● Receiving feedback with curiosity and openness It isn’t: ● Sharing potentially hurtful feedback in public settings ● Being candid behind someone’s back Trade-offs: We’d rather folks be candid than . . . align faster on decisions . . . have better group cohesion . . . have more comfortable and low friction interactions
  23. 23. © Patreon 2018 We like Carole Robin’s guiding principles for candid feedback: 1. Do it early 2. Avoid shaming 3. Focus on behavior 4. Stay on your side of the net 5. Be generous - assume good intent 6. Speak to the other person’s interests and state your intent 7. Practice 5 - BE CANDID AND KIND
  24. 24. © Patreon 2018 Kim Scott’s radical candor framework reminds us how important it is to be kind and direct when giving feedback. 5 - BE CANDID AND KIND
  25. 25. © Patreon 2018 SEEK LEARNING 6
  26. 26. © Patreon 2018 Patreon creator, Strangely Bikes 6 - SEEK LEARNING We surround ourselves with people who are obsessed with learning and development. It is: ● Actively seeking to improve your understanding of important issues ● Being humble about your ideas and open to changing them in the face of evidence ● Taking on projects that would require you to stretch, learn, and grow. It isn’t: ● Analysis paralysis - endlessly seeking data before taking action ● Taking on work that spurs personal growth but is misaligned with our company goals and priorities Trade-offs: We’d rather folks seek learning than . . . make misinformed decisions faster . . . stick to tradition or past processes
  27. 27. © Patreon 2018 Patreon supports your pursuit of this core behavior with our learning and development offerings. Patreon encourages our employees to seek learning opportunities, including external opportunities like professional coaching, mentorship, training programs, seminars, and conferences. Each teammate is given a yearly $3,000 learning stipend to use towards their development, and can receive one book credit per quarter through TeamReads. Our quarterly organizational reviews make sure that managers are paying attention to, and have a career development plan for, each individual on their team. Our biannual 360 reviews ensure that everyone gets the feedback they need to understand their development. We host bi-monthly manager training to help our leaders continue to develop their coaching, strategic thinking, and feedback skills, among others. 6 - SEEK LEARNING
  28. 28. © Patreon 2018 RECAP
  29. 29. © Patreon 2018 RECAP We don’t like the term “culture fit” at Patreon. We look for “culture add” and “core behavior fit”. We hire people that bring new experiences, backgrounds and perspectives to the table, but you must demonstrate these behaviors to succeed at Patreon. 1. Put creators first 2. Achieve ambitious outcomes 3. Cultivate inclusion 4. Add value quickly 5. Be candid and kind 6. Seek learning
  30. 30. © Patreon 2018 We operate with complete transparency to give our team the context needed to make great decisions. TRANSPARENCY
  31. 31. © Patreon 2018 Patreon chooses transparency. However, we should be aware of the potential downsides: 1. Key information could leak and damage the company. 2. The team could feel information overload via too much oversharing. 3. Information could be consumed without proper context. 4. Folks might share problems before having solutions and too much of that could shake confidence in leadership. Despite these costs, we operate with complete transparency to give our team the context they need to make great decisions. And we’ll continue to monitor our transparency to ensure that the benefits outweigh the downsides. TRANSPARENCY
  32. 32. © Patreon 2018 Here are some of the things we do to disseminate important information: 1. We hold open Q&A at all hands meetings. We expect you to ask hard questions. 2. The executive team weekly agenda is public in Asana. 3. All team weekly meetings have public agendas viewable in Asana. 4. Board meeting notes and takeaways will be shared with the company after each meeting. 5. All metrics for the business are available in Tableau dashboards. 6. Data science presents on company growth every month. 7. Each time we do a company-wide employee engagement survey, we share results and our actionable next steps. TRANSPARENCY
  33. 33. © Patreon 2018 Managers at Patreon are expected to invest in their team by helping prioritize, coaching instead of telling, and providing visibility on their team’s impact. MANAGER EXPECTATIONS
  34. 34. © Patreon 2018 To be a manager at Patreon: Care deeply about your teammates. Invest in their success, growth, and productivity. Our beliefs and manager expectations are influenced heavily by Google’s Project Oxygen Recruit and retain only top talent that deliver outstanding results on ambitious goals. While we see value in appreciating and praising effort, we make our decisions based on impact individuals have to the business Build a diverse and inclusive environment. This is so important that it has its own section later in the deck Ensure your team is working on only the highest impact projects. Every hour at Patreon is important. Time not spent on the most impactful work is time wasted. Build a system to make sure individuals on your team have the right context to set the right priorities Measure and provide visibility into the team’s progress. Include your most impactful objectives in your team’s scorecards. MANAGER EXPECTATIONS
  35. 35. © Patreon 2018 If you feel you are not receiving strong coaching or guidance from your manager, give them that feedback. Help Patreon hold your manager to a high standard and tell them if you would like more or less direction in your work. MANAGER EXPECTATIONS
  36. 36. © Patreon 2018 Patreon turns good communicators into expert communicators. We care about communication because world-class communication helps us solve problems faster. COMMUNICATION
  37. 37. © Patreon 2018 At Patreon, we commit to communicating with C.A.R.E Clear Bottom-line your answers and documents. Set expectations. Facilitate easy reading. Aware Consider dynamics. Respect time by sharing with context. Listening > Loud. Real Put the moose on the table. Take responsibility. Accept feedback gracefully. Empathetic Be kind. Be willing to change your view. Assume best intent. Use playbacks. COMMUNICATION
  38. 38. © Patreon 2018 We don’t want to sit in boring meetings. Below are our meeting expectations: Ask yourself if a meeting is the best way to solve your problem before calling one. Is it possible to solve your problem or gather the info you need over Asana, Slack, or email? Each meeting should have an owner and that owner should arrive with a set agenda, keep the group on track, and help the group progress quickly towards the goal of the meeting. Default your meetings to 25 or 50 minutes. Attendees can and should leave during a meeting if they are not receiving or adding significant value. This is not seen as "rude" at Patreon. It's seen as valuing time and aiming to be maximally productive. Aim to have as few attendees as possible in your meeting. If there are additional stakeholders that could have been included in the meeting, take notes in the meeting and send them out to stakeholders afterward. Give each other feedback. Because each meeting is unique, it's tough to have guidelines that work for every situation. The best thing we can do is give each other feedback if meetings don't feel as productive as you would want. 6 - RESPECT TEAMMATES TIME
  39. 39. © Patreon 2018 We do our best work when we’re together. We prioritize togetherness so that we create an engaging and productive environment. OFFICE ENERGY
  40. 40. © Patreon 2018 Below are reasons we care about cross-functional teammates being in our office: Teams that work together in the same office learn each other’s work styles and preferences faster. We can become more efficient at building things together. Teammates need to know when others are available. A consistent schedule helps with that, and is essential to the success of some teams, like recruiting. When teammates wait for other teammates to arrive, it costs Patreon unnecessary time and money. We need to maintain our office energy to attract the right employees, candidates, and creators. These stakeholders have reasonable expectations of what they expect from our office. Most people at Patreon want to work in a place that is humming with creative energy, collaboration, and productivity. We create areas of our office to accommodate different styles and needs, including heads-down focus, lively interactions, and private conversations. More face-time will help us build relationships and collaborate better. We are growing team size quickly, and facetime together gives us the best chance at maintaining our culture and building effective relationships. Each team sets their own work hours. Please discuss your team’s hours with your manager. OFFICE ENERGY
  41. 41. © Patreon 2018 We expect cross functional roles, hiring managers, and leaders to arrive by 9am. Not every company operates this way. In fact, some companies are entirely remote. While we don’t set standard hours for every person and every team, the policy above is right for us, and gives us the best chance at scaling our team, building effective operations, and accomplishing our ambitious goals. OFFICE ENERGY
  42. 42. © Patreon 2018 We build an inclusive environment because we believe that will give us the best chance at funding the creative class. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  43. 43. © Patreon 2018 At Patreon, we feel safe to express our authentic selves and respect each other’s experiences. We challenge ourselves to grow and thrive by embracing our differences and diverse perspectives. Dozens of analyses (like the one here) show that diverse and inclusive teams outperform teams that lack diversity and inclusivity. We must be a team that is as diverse as the community of creators and patrons we seek to serve. It’s the right thing to do. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  44. 44. © Patreon 2018 We set ambitious goals to help us realize our vision. Diversity goals By EOY 2020 our VPs should be: ● 50/50 - Men / Gender Minorities ● 50/50 - White / People Of Color By EOY 2020 we should be: ● 50/50 - Men / Gender Minorities ● 50/50 - White / People Of Color With similar ratios in Ops/Tech, Managers/non-Managers, and among the full team/high-level team members (5&6) DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  45. 45. © Patreon 2018 We set ambitious goals to help us realize our vision. Inclusion goals ● Underrepresented group members are promoted at parity with majority group members. ● Belongingness (as measured through a biannual engagement survey) reaches 95%. ● We’d like to see active ERGs for each of the primary protected classes by 2020 EOY. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  46. 46. © Patreon 2018 We are committed to achieving these outcomes. Here are some programs and policies we are working on to achieve our goals: DIVERSITY & INCLUSION Diversity Inclusion ● 70/30 underrepresented minority (URM) candidates top of funnel for VP roles ● + 3 URM focused Sourcers ● Launching a University Recruiting and Internship program in 2019 ● Leveraging a 3rd party firm and relationships with organizations (Code 20/40, Lesbians Who Tech, etc.) ● Leveraging Atipica + reporting on pipeline diversity ● Public Demographic Release + D&I Blogs ● Analyzing promotion parity and reporting to the team ● Analyzing compensation & equity parity and reporting to the team ● Empowering Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for URM groups ● Improving Belonging through work on a. Decision making b. D&I learning c. Immersive events
  47. 47. © Patreon 2018 Language is crucial to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. There is no such thing as a diverse “candidate” or “person.” Please do not use that language. “Teams” can be diverse or lack diversity, not individuals. Also, some teammates use gender neutral pronouns. You can find your teammates’ pronouns in their Slack bios. If someone slips up and uses un-inclusive or offensive language, speak up and correct them with compassion. Remember, all feedback at Patreon is KIND and DIRECT. DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
  48. 48. © Patreon 2018 We have a formal spending philosophy: effective, not fancy SPENDING
  49. 49. © Patreon 2018 Our spending aligns us with our creators. A company’s spending philosophy should align with its customers. Our customers are creators, and our creators don’t work in offices with marble floors and golden toilets. Creators are resourceful and effective, so we must be resourceful and effective. When a creator visits Patreon, we want to feel proud to show them our office. We wouldn’t want a creator to come into our office and feel like we’re building opulence off the backs of their paychecks. That’s why you won’t see things like ball-pits or pinball machines at Patreon. SPENDING
  50. 50. © Patreon 2018 If you think of a range of spending, we don’t want to spend so little that it’s insulting or ridiculous. We also don’t want to spend in a way that prevents us from being effective. There’s a sweet spot that’s just the right amount of spending to be effective, and we don’t want to spend beyond that to the point that it becomes fancy. SPENDING Excessive Just right Not effective Insulting/Ridiculous
  51. 51. © Patreon 2018 Here are some examples to help guide your decisions. 1x1s with your manager: If you go off-site for a 1x1, it’s OK to occasionally grab a coffee or a light snack - that’s fine. Wine and cheese at a wine bar - that’s too fancy. Food and drinks should not be the norm for 1x1s - we have food and drinks available here at the office. Business meals: If it’s important to your productivity to have a meeting off-site, then please consider whether a snack or meal is necessary. If it seems appropriate for the situation, then we keep it light and frugal. We aren’t a law firm, so we don’t go out for martinis with colleagues. If your team reaches a major milestone and you decide to celebrate with cheap champagne and sparkling cider from Costco, that’s totally fine. If you and a colleague unwind after work, discuss a project at a bar, and then expense the ten-dollar cocktails? That crosses our line. Hotels: When you stay in hotels for work-related travel, we want you to be safe and get a good night’s sleep. Three-star hotels are generally sufficient. If it smells bad in your hotel or you feel unsafe in a rough part of town, then you probably haven’t spent enough to be effective. If you see marble floors in the lobby or a chandelier in your room, then you’re in a place that is too fancy. SPENDING
  52. 52. © Patreon 2018 We negotiate with vendors every single time. Now that Patreon has closed its Series C, many vendors out there might think, “I bet I can just tack on another 20% to this bill and Patreon won’t even notice or care.” We must prevent this from happening so that we can invest that money instead in things that will fund the creative class. How? By negotiating every time. Vendors should walk away from negotiations with Patreon thinking that we are TOUGH negotiators who are also also friendly and respectful. We celebrate our negotiation wins in the Slack channel #negotations. SPENDING
  53. 53. © Patreon 2018 We raised significant amounts of venture capital for 3 reasons: 1. It allows us to focus on our work rather than continual fundraising 2. It allows us to make decisions that benefit us in the long term vs. short term 3. It allows us to take big bets when we see a promising opportunity We did not raise money so that we could spend lavishly. SPENDING
  54. 54. © Patreon 2018 We hire and retain high-performing and highly compassionate people. You cannot be just one of those things. PEOPLE
  55. 55. © Patreon 2018 When thinking about whom to hire or keep on a team, we ask each other “Is this person world-class at what they do?” We phrase it like that to remind each other how high we should hold our bar. We can have an ridiculously high bar because there are so many people that want to work at Patreon. Our mission is one that many people would happily devote their careers to. We don’t settle when it comes to people-related decisions, and that’s what makes this place special. PEOPLE
  56. 56. © Patreon 2018 If you fall short of these high expectations, you will know about it because we give and receive candid feedback constantly. We help our teammates through tough times, just as we expect our teammates to stick with Patreon through tough times - to the extent that it serves our mission. We don’t expect anyone to stay with Patreon if we aren’t the best way to fund the creative class. And Patreon won’t retain someone if having them on our team is not the best way to achieve our mission. PEOPLE
  57. 57. © Patreon 2018 In our most recent company-wide survey, 100% of our teammates answered “Yes” when asked the question “Is the work that your company does important?” 95% of the company responded that they understand how their individual work directly contributes to the company mission. We are also externally recognized for our team. San Francisco Business Times named Patreon one of the top places to work in 2017 and 2018, and we were named to similar lists in 2016. People stay at Patreon because they love their teammates and our mission. Our employee attrition rate is ~1/3rd the national average. PEOPLE
  58. 58. © Patreon 2018 This is why we partner with our people when deciding what to build each quarter. Because we hire people who genuinely care about our mission, we can give more autonomy and trust. During company planning, the executive team shares a vision, strategy, and strategic objectives based on insights and feedback from the company. From there, our teams decide what they want to build to support the strategy. PEOPLE
  59. 59. © Patreon 2018 We expect our teammates to make mistakes and learn quickly. You are free to fail at Patreon. We want to build a company of people who crave making meaningful impact on our mission, and those folks must be willing to take risks. We don’t want to avoid mistakes. We want to correct mistakes quickly, and then incorporate what we learn from them so that we don’t make the same mistake again. PEOPLE
  60. 60. © Patreon 2018 Patreon pays fair salaries that are competitive externally and fair internally. COMPENSATION
  61. 61. © Patreon 2018 Our compensation philosophy is based on the idea of value for value. The goal of our compensation policy is to attract, engage, and retain employees. We look at several factors when determining level and compensation, but we put more weight on an individual’s impact on the mission than something like years of experience. We want you to be given value commensurate with the value you’re giving to Patreon. Also, our management track is not compensated higher than our individual contributor track. Both types of work are valued and you can have success here on either track. COMPENSATION
  62. 62. © Patreon 2018 Our compensation philosophy has 3 key tenets. Fair and unbiased. Everyone is paid at the 60th percentile of market, and we audit compensation yearly for fairness externally with market data and fairness internally across teams and demographics. We also use ongoing feedback from recruiting to calibrate our bands as market rates shift. Motivating and energizing. When you grow, so should your compensation. We want to help inspire our teammates to go above and beyond, knowing that we’ll reward their growth. Because of this, we have systems in place for promotions, pay increases, spot bonuses, and meaningful equity grants. Simple and clear. We want every member of our team to understand how they’re paid and why. Having a simple policy is also important because complexity in a system can hide bias. When considering changes to our compensation policy, we weigh the benefit of change against operational overhead, cultural impact, and added complexity. COMPENSATION
  63. 63. © Patreon 2018 You receive equity four ways at Patreon: 1. When you are hired 2. When you are promoted 3. When you are deemed a top performer 4. When you hit 2.5 years and every year thereafter. This is the Wealthfront equity plan, which is one of the most employee friendly plans available in the market. COMPENSATION
  64. 64. © Patreon 2018 Promotions at Patreon Promotions happen when a significant shift in responsibility occurs, as soon as a candidate deserves it. We do not wait for a certain “time of the year.” All teams have compensation bands and levels to properly tie skills and experience to compensation. You are encouraged to talk to your manager about where you currently stand and where you would need to develop to reach the next step in your career. COMPENSATION
  65. 65. THANK YOU! © Patreon 2018 Thank you for taking the time to read through this deck. If our mission and culture seem like something you want to be a part of, please visit our careers page at Patreon.com/careers If you have feedback, questions, or thoughts, feel free to reach out to us at: Maura Church, Head of Date Science, maura@patreon.com Tyler Palmer, VP of Operations, tyler@patreon.com May 2018

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