The Buffer Culture Powered by Happiness Version 0.1 (alpha)
Always a work in progress• As with everything we do and ourselves, this document is a continual work in progress.• Updated February 22nd, 2013.
Start with whyCulture: what gives Buffer the best chancefor progress of the product, happiness ofusers and the team, and personal growthwhile part of the journey?
The foundation of our valuesIn the founding months, Joel & Leo read, re-read and internalized Dale Carnegie’s famousbook, How To Win Friends and InﬂuencePeople. A lot of the Buffer values are derivedfrom his deeply impactful words.In January 2013, when Buffer was 7 people,we discussed what words deﬁne the culturewe have, and put together this document.
The 8 Buffer Values• Always choose positivity and happiness• Default to transparency• Have a focus on self improvement• Be a "no ego" doer• Be open to having your mind changed• Have a bias towards clarity• Make time to reﬂect• Live smarter, not harder
Always choose positivity and happiness• You always approach things in a positive and optimistic way.• You never criticize or condemn team members or users.• You never complain.• You let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong.• You are deliberate about giving genuine appreciation.
Default to transparency• You take pride in opportunities to share our beliefs, failures, strengths and decisions.• You use transparency as a tool to help others.• You always state your thoughts immediately and with honesty.• You share early, with a focus on avoiding secrecy of shifts in direction.
Be open to having your mind changed• You seek ﬁrst to understand, then to be understood.• You are suggestive rather than instructive, replacing phrases such as ‘certainly’, ‘undoubtedly’, etc. with ‘perhaps’, ‘I think’, ‘my intuition right now’.• You truly walk in the other person’s shoes by asking that extra question to ﬁnd out more than you normally would.• You take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong.
Have a focus on self improvement• You are conscious of your current level of productivity and happiness, and make continual changes to grow.• You have a higher expectation of yourself, than Buffer does of you.• You regularly and deliberately do things that make you feel uncomfortable.• You practice activities and develop habits that will improve your mind and your body.
Be a "no ego" doer• You dont attach your personal self to ideas.• You let others have your best ideas.• You approach new ideas thinking “what can we do right now?”• You are humble.• You always ship code the moment it is better than what is live on our site – no matter what.
Have a bias towards clarity• You talk, code, design and write in a clear way instead of being clever• You over-communicate, repeating things more times than you would intuitively• You use more words to explain, even if it feels obvious already• You don’t make assumptions, you instead ask questions to have the full picture
Make time to reﬂect• You deliberately ﬁnd time for reﬂection, because that’s where your life-changing adjustments come from• You have a calm approach to discussions and ponder points in your own time• You ﬁnd time to jump out of the trenches into the higher level thinking that will move the needle• You understand the value of patience and treat it as a muscle which needs practice to grow
Live smarter, not harder• You value waking up fresh over working that extra hour• You always aim to be fully engaged in an activity, or resting• You single task your way through the day• You are at the top of your game, as you focus on expanding capacity of your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual energy• You choose to be at the single place on Earth where you are the happiest and most productive, and you are not afraid to ﬁnd out where that is