The Buffer Culture
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Always a work in progress
• As with everything we do and ourselves,
this document is a continual work in
• Updated February 22nd, 2013.
Start with why
Culture: what gives Buffer the best chance
for progress of the product, happiness of
users and the team, and personal growth
while part of the journey?
The foundation of our
In the founding months, Joel & Leo read, re-
read and internalized Dale Carnegie’s famous
book, How To Win Friends and Inﬂuence
People. A lot of the Buffer values are derived
from his deeply impactful words.
In January 2013, when Buffer was 7 people,
we discussed what words deﬁne the culture
we 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
• 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
• 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
• You share early, with a focus on avoiding secrecy of shifts in
Be open to having your
• 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
• 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 regularly and deliberately do things that make you feel
• You practice activities and develop habits that will improve
your mind and your body.
Be a "no ego" doer
• You don't attach your personal self to ideas.
• You let others have your best ideas.
• You approach new ideas thinking “what can we do right
• 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
• You over-communicate, repeating things more times than you
• You use more words to explain, even if it feels obvious
• 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
• 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