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Packback Brand Purpose & Values

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At Packback...we're curious about curiosity.

You might know us as that “cheap eTextbook startup”. Or maybe “those guys that went on Shark Tank”.

We started our business as college students about 3 years ago. As students, the cost of textbooks felt like the BIGGEST issue in education. And don’t get us wrong…textbook prices are a HUGE problem, (like a 7 Billion dollar a year problem in the USA alone). But over years of building this startup, we’ve gotten a glimpse at the bigger picture.

We realized that the key to "fixing education", is not some massive overhaul of the system. It's not just making things cheaper.

The real problem to solve is bringing curiosity back into the classroom and empowering students to ask the BIG questions.

Somewhere along the way, the real "Why" behind education has gotten lost. We've become focused on helping more students graduate, rather than creating more thoughtful minds. We've become focused on helping more students get "A's" in class, rather than curiosity and empowering our students to ask "Why?"

Packback's Brand Purpose is to awaken the fearless, relentless curiosity in every student. Not just college students, not just on campus, not just in the US. We want to be the home for curiosity on the web for every lifelong learner.

This presentation contains our brand purpose, our manifesto and the 13 operating values we use to coach, make decisions and give feedback at Packback. Our goal in defining our culture was to make the roadmap to success as a company, and as an individual team member, as explicit and unambiguous as possible.

Our brand purpose is our ultimate filter for all business decisions at Packback. Our values are our team operating system. If we are living our purpose and our values, we know that we are heading together in the right direction.

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Packback Brand Purpose & Values

  1. 1. Brand is a profound manifestation of the human condition. It is all about belonging: belonging to a tribe, to a religion, to a family. ! - Wally Ollins “
  2. 2. The Packback Brand Purpose ! WHAT DOES OUR BRAND DO FOR US? ! • Our only real, immutable competitive advantage ! • Our “true north” for all decision making ! • Our insurance policy in tough times ! • Our best tool for improving and growing our team ! • Our roadmap for adapting to the future ! • Our shared contract for how to be a team member at Packback
  3. 3. Existing Behavior Graduation is often treated as the end of education...when graduation should be just the start of a lifetime of learning. Students are being taught to answer questions and follow directions, but don’t always learn how to question their world. ! Cultural Fuel The cost of a degree is at an all-time high, but a college degree no longer guarantees students a job after graduation. The skills traditionally taught in school are no longer the only skills needed to be successful in our rapidly changing world. ! We believe that all students have the potential to change the world if when become lifelong learners. ! OUR BRAND PURPOSE
  4. 4. OUR BRAND PURPOSE ! We exist to awaken the fearless, relentless curiosity in every student.
  5. 5. Our Curiosity Manifesto ! WHY CURIOSITY? ! • “Throughout the whole history of science most of the really great discoveries which had ultimately proved to be beneficial to mankind had been made by men and women who were driven not by the desire to be useful but merely the desire to satisfy their curiosity.” ! - Abraham Flexner ! ! • “If I have seen farther, it is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants” ! - Sir Issac Newton
  6. 6. At Packback...we're curious about curiosity. ! Curiosity is the most valuable resource humanity has, and it is unlimited. All we have to do is learn how to wake it up in the mind of a student… and they will go on to change the world. OUR MANIFESTO
  7. 7. Curiosity is what drove us to wonder how our bodies and minds work; to question our own existence. It's what drove us to wonder how much faster we could move, how much farther we could travel, how we could cure diseases, improve lives, create masterpieces, read, write, discover. OUR MANIFESTO
  8. 8. It's what pushed us to wonder what was on the other side of the vast ocean, beyond the edge of our shore. ! It is what still drives us today to wonder what's out there in space, beyond the edge of the earth. ! OUR MANIFESTO
  9. 9. Curiosity pushes us to push limits. It pushes us to chase the impossible. To map the universe. ! We believe the greatest quality of humanity is our desire to know what we cannot know. To see what we cannot see. To understand what is incomprehensible. OUR MANIFESTO
  10. 10. Curiosity is the most beautiful, pure, and generous human motivation because it seeks not to conquer, nor to own, nor to consume. ! It seeks only to understand. OUR MANIFESTO
  11. 11. The Packback Values ! THE WHY ! • Our values are inspired by the real actions of our teammates. These values represent the best of each of us— just like our team is bigger than the sum of our parts. It’s not about trying to “get” something we don’t have; it’s about living up to the best version of ourselves everyday. We already have what it takes. ! • We all own these values. They mean nothing on their own…we make them mean something through our behaviors. ! • Our values are our team “contract” for what makes someone successful at Packback, and what we believe will make Packback successful.
  12. 12. We are fearlessly and relentlessly curious, and excited to share our unique knowledge. ! THE WHY ! Great ideas come from well-fed minds. Just like having more ingredients allows you to create more unexpected, innovative recipes, the same is true for your mind. The more ideas you are aware of, the more unique your own ideas can be. ! Learning alone takes 10,000 hours to master something... but learning together is a shortcut! Share your knowledge generously and without being asked; people don’t know what they don’t know. Only great things come out of sharing knowledge. ! We are a learning company, and we believe that the moment we stop being individually curious is the moment we all stop growing as a team.
  13. 13. We believe “impossible” problems are just questions that we haven’t yet answered. ! THE WHY ! If big, important, impactful problems were easy to solve...then someone would have already solved them. ! It’s much easier to accept the world the way it is, than it is to try to change it. It’s much easier to admit defeat than it is to go to battle with a difficult problem. And it’s far easier to be a critic than it is to be a creator. ! Every great innovation was “impossible” until someone was brave enough to question that notion. It’s hard, it’s uncomfortable, and it will push us to our limits. But all of a sudden that “impossible” thing is suddenly not impossible anymore...in fact, it’s impossible to remember what life was like before.
  14. 14. We do not wait to be given responsibility ...we take ownership. ! THE WHY ! No one has ever been (or will ever be) simply “given” a leadership role at Packback...leadership and respect are earned by taking responsibility. And all the opportunities are right there, ready for the taking. ! Everyone at Packback is an entrepreneur and builds their own leadership role through taking ownership, looking for ways to make Packback better, and getting shit done. ! We are a small startup and have infinite ways we can improve- so if you notice something that could be better, YOU are the best person to take action to make it great.
  15. 15. We always go that one extra step for our team and our customers. ! THE WHY ! We go that one extra step, not because we are asked to, but because it is who we are. ! We are not the largest company or the most funded, but we win by always going above and beyond for our customers. Instead of just doing what our customers ask,we anticipate their needs. When a team member needs us, we treat them the way we KNOW they will treat us when we are struggling. ! And it’s amazing the difference that one step can make! If you stop one step shy of finishing a marathon, you still haven’t finished the race. But taking that one extra step...can take the company miles.
  16. 16. We are ambitiously humble. We are resiliently confident. ! THE WHY ! Working on a startup is full of extremes- huge wins, and painful losses. To stay on the path towards our vision, we can’t let ourselves be pulled too strongly by either the highs or the lows. We remain balanced because we are guided by our internal purpose, rather than following false external indicators of success. When we encounter a storm, we can see past the choppy waters because our eyes are focused on a vision of the future far off in the horizon. ! We’re willing to listen, willing to learn, willing to admit when we’ve made a mistake...but we always remain confident in our worth and our ability to overcome any challenge. We are humble, but we are not self-conscious. We are resilient, but we are not self-absorbed. We are ambitious, but we are not self- centered. !
  17. 17. We celebrate failure as evidence of taking action, taking risks, and experimentation. ! THE WHY ! We believe in risk-taking, trying new ideas, and taking action at Packback and we know that sometimes we’re going to make mistakes. Mistakes are fixable, but being afraid to take action leaves us stuck in limbo. ! We believe that risk is directly equal to reward. It’s “low risk” to copy an idea or process that was successful for another company, but it’s also low reward. It’s high risk to try something new that we think will be best to solve a problem, but it also has the highest potential reward. ! Both successful experiments and unsuccessful ones are equally valuable because we learn as much from disproving a hypothesis as we do from proving one.
  18. 18. We take time to fully understand a problem, then work to create the simplest solution. ! THE WHY ! We always remember that there are infinite possible solutions to any given problem...and our goal should be to find the simplest solution, so we can do more with less. And the only way to do that is to deeply and fully understand the problem we’re trying to solve. ! We ask “Why?” constantly, even if we think it might be obvious to everyone else. We all work to uncover the minimum requirements for what needs to be accomplished. We take time to understand the real root affliction so we can prescribe the most effective cure, before rushing to treat a symptom. ! Ideas are free...but solutions are costly! We implement solutions with incredible care and caution.
  19. 19. We do what it takes to build this organization, knowing that great progress is made through a series of small steps. ! THE WHY ! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there was no glamor in laying any individual brick...but by the end of it, Rome was built! ! We are willing to do what it takes to build and grow this organization, even if it is outside of our “job description” and even if it is uncomfortable. We all share in the gritty, grunty, unglamorous bits of building this business just as we all share in the successes, fun, and celebration. ! We help out when help is needed, wherever we are needed. Packback IS the people of this team–nothing more, nothing less–and we all succeed or fail together.
  20. 20. We are all leaders every moment of every day through our own positivity, work ethic, and commitment. ! THE WHY ! Every moment is an opportunity to inspire others through our actions and our attitudes. ! Staying unshakably positive, even in the face of challenges, sends a message to the rest of the team that we believe that we can overcome anything. Whenever we feel stressed, disappointed or overwhelmed, we remember that all we’ve accomplished so far seemed impossible at first. We make a conscious choice to remain resiliently positive instead of giving in to cynicism. ! Every conversation, every action, every gesture, every project, every early morning and late night work session is an opportunity to lead from within. We remember that there is no ceiling on our ability to shape this team and company for the better, and it all starts with our own attitude.
  21. 21. We use our individual creativity and passions to create moments of joy and inspiration. ! THE WHY ! If curiosity is our operating system...then creativity is our language. ! Every single member of our team brings unique passions and perspective to the table, and we work to help each other discover new passions. We celebrate the talents and passions of our team, and we recognize that what makes us individually talented and unique, are the same things that make our entire company special. We appreciate the things that excite each other’s curiosity, creativity and passions outside of work. These individual passions give us the diverse perspectives we need to create the unconventional solutions necessary to make an real impact on education. ! We use our creativity to create joyful, unexpected experiences in places that others would overlook.
  22. 22. We personally take pride and responsibility over increasing value, while decreasing waste. ! THE WHY ! To continue to live our purpose and improve education, we must prioritize the long- term sustainability of our business. We believe in doing more with less, and have thriftiness built into our DNA and every decision we make. ! We each take pride in looking for ways to reduce waste (of time or money), while actively seeking out ways to increase the value that we create. Just like the saying, “whole is greater than the sum of its parts”, it is imperative that we bring more good to this world than the simple sum of dollars we’ve spent along the way. ! We focus on creating as much value as possible for our customers, then capture a fraction of that value back as profit so we can continue expanding our impact.
  23. 23. We hold ourselves and each other accountable through celebration and feedback, while actively seeking ways to improve. ! THE WHY ! Culture is NOT managed by leadership. Culture is cultivated and protected and upheld by the team. We all take individual responsibility and pride in upholding and improving the culture at Packback. ! We use these values to make every decision about who to hire, what should be celebrated, when to give feedback and where to focus our attention. We all know and believe that these values are the roadmap to what will make someone a successful teammate at Packback. ! It is our individual responsibility to set every Packbacker up for success by reminding them of the values if they begin to stray. It is equally our responsibility to celebrate the wins of our teammates and call each other out when we see someone embody one of our values.
  24. 24. We communicate consciously and openly, even when that means having difficult conversations. ! THE WHY ! We have a passionate, smart and values-driven team and as a result, it is inevitable that there will be times that we disagree with a decision or notice a problem. In these cases, we refuse to remain silent. ! Because we all care about this company and our purpose, we know it is our responsibility to speak up when we believe in something. We use Safe Space skills to confront concerns immediately, rather than letting them take root in our minds and our hearts. ! We always assume the best of our team members, and make the conscious choice to talk to one another when we have questions or concerns, rather than drawing conclusions off of assumptions. We all become better as a result of dealing constructively with conflict.

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