Culture Coding


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As a startup founder, you probably don’t want to hear this. But if you want to accomplish wonders, you must: 9 out of every 10 startups fail. It’s not the product and not even the distribution where things tend to go sour most of the time. It’s the inner workings of your organization. To succeed, you must hack your culture with as much dedication as you pour into your products. To help you get started, we facilitate 37 hour culture hackathons. They are fun, high-energy and high-paced culture-prototyping sessions where your team develops a blueprint of a culture you need to succeed.

Contact for availability and prices.

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Culture Coding

  1. 1. Culture coding for startups
  2. 2. We create passionate cultures that accomplish wonders
  3. 3. What’s inside The Problem The Solution The Company
  4. 4. The Problem
  5. 5. You probably don’t want to hear this…
  6. 6. 9 out of 10 startups fail. Source: The Startup Genome Project
  7. 7. Half of all VC-backed ventures fail. Source: Sequoia Capital
  8. 8. For the most part, failure is due to the inner workings of a startup. Source: Dozens of VCs, most vocally Peter Thiel
  9. 9. Peter Thiel’s Law: A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed. Founder of PayPal. Founders’ Fund. Breakout Labs. Thiel Foundation
  10. 10. We disagree. Respectfully.
  11. 11. The Solution
  12. 12. Hack your culture. Do it with as much focus and intensity as you hack your products and distribution.
  13. 13. Since (almost) nobody does it, let us explain what we mean.
  14. 14. Culture is not cookies in the jar. epic parties. wild perks.
  15. 15. [Although these things can be very nice.]
  16. 16. Culture is what you believe ...and then do.
  17. 17. Every day.
  18. 18. Culture is coded in your answers. Our awesome startup Why do we exist? What business are we in? What’s our secret? What’s our big vision? What’s our plan? People Customers What kind of people do we hire? How do we make decisions? How do we resolve conflicts? How do we do things around here? What do we reward? Who are our ideal customers? How do we reach them? How do we treat them? Investors Competitors Who do we choose as our investors? How do we work together? Who do we compete against? How do we (not) compete?
  19. 19. Culture comes in many flavours. We are on a mission! Competitors Customers People Investors People Customers Investors Driven by purpose Competitors Balancing act Customers Driven by competition [we don't recommend it!]
  20. 20. So how do you hack your culture code?
  21. 21. It’s hard to hack something you can’t see.
  22. 22. To hack your culture code, you need to write your current code first.
  23. 23. The language you need to learn to write your culture code is…well, language. The traditional kind.
  24. 24. Once you can look at it together, you can change it.
  25. 25. It’s intuitive.
  26. 26. Let’s do a quick experiment.
  27. 27. Where would you rather work? Company A We will be a market leader in market X. Our mission is to maximise shareholder value. We value integrity, excellence, team work and profitability. Company B We are on a mission to solve a grand challenge X. We have a big crazy idea. We want to replace a 10,000 year old technology (yes, seriously). We are a team of explorers ready to give it everything we've got. Because if we don't try, we will be letting a billion people down.
  28. 28. You can feel the cultural vibe, can’t you?
  29. 29. 5 tell-tale signs your culture code is fine-tuned for startup success: 1 2 3 4 5 Identity You have a distinct sense that you are sharply different from the rest of the world. In a good way. Foundation You are on a mission to change the world. You've got the vision, the secret and the plan (product+distribution). Trust You trust the people you work with. And they trust you back. Giftwork Everybody puts in the extra effort, goes the extra mile. Because what you do matters. Because people like each other. Pivot-ability You learn from everybody and everything. Your beliefs are up for discussion, you can change them and pivot.
  30. 30. Not there yet?
  31. 31. Well, roll up your sleeves. You’ve got some culture hacking to do.
  32. 32. The Company
  33. 33. Hello, aspiring culture hackers.
  34. 34. At Corporate Spring, we believe passionate cultures can accomplish wonders.
  35. 35. So we help create them.
  36. 36. We run 37 hour cultural hackathons.
  37. 37. Goal: Hack your culture to help you accomplish wonders.
  38. 38. Philosophy: Make the implicit culture code explicit. Take a hard look. Run cultural experiments. Steal culture hacks from other startups. Invent your own. Fail quickly. Debug. Have fun. Celebrate successes. Laugh at failures. Think of cultural coding as a game with serious consequences.
  39. 39. 37 hours at a glance DAY 1 – MACRO – start 7:00 am DAY 2 – MICRO – finish 8 pm Foundation Hacks Create ground to stand on. Make every day count. Code stress test. Why’s. Mission. Secret. Vision. Plan. Person #20. Coding Foundation. Code stress test. Setting goals & allocating time. Sharing information & ideas. Tracking progress. Course corrections & pivots. Big & small decisions. Resolving conflicts. Dealing with setbacks. Onboarding, giving feedback and celebrating. Keeping eyes & ears open. Having fun. Coding Hacks. Beliefs Unhide hidden drivers. Code stress test. People. Customers. Investors. Competitors. Coding Beliefs. Review Is that Our Way? People Customers Investors Competitors Code review. One last stress test.
  40. 40. 37 hours feel like this: Fast-paced action. Even when you sleep. Answer big questions in 30 seconds. Make impossible tradeoffs on the spot. Get inside other people's heads. Turn hacks into edgy social experiments. And write, write, write the code.
  41. 41. Outcome: Your culture code ready for beta testing Monday morning.
  42. 42. Our hackathons are based on research… Theory Practice Hacks Without good frameworks, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important. We draw on two seminal works on culture: Frameworks without practical startup context are useless. Here are some of the people and ideas we follow: Hofstede’s “Culture’s Consequences” Hall’s “Beyond Culture” Steve Blank, Lean Startup Peter Thiel, Founders’ Fund Max Marmer, Startup Genome Vinod Khosla, Khosla Ventures Paul Graham, Y Combinator Happy Startup Canvas Google Ventures Startup Weekends Startup Compass Funders & Founders We love cultural hacks. We keep an extensive inventory of effective cultural practices. Some we’ve designed ourselves (and won prizes for). Others we’ve borrowed from culture-hacking companies like Asana, Zappos, Google. We are always on the look out for good ideas that work.
  43. 43. Ready to culture code?