Culture of Disruption - How we're growing a new type of game company


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This is the internal "culture of disruption" deck that describes the culture at Disruptor Beam around authenticity, effectiveness and constant improvement--and why these values are supported through things like the absence of non-competes, absence of attendance tracking, and universal sharing of objectives & results. It's like a cheat-sheet for how to get hired at Disruptor Beam!

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Culture of Disruption - How we're growing a new type of game company

  1. This document is about Disruptor Beam’s culture. It’s what works for us. But if you think it can help you, please feel free to take whatever you need. This deck is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license: OUR CULTURE OF DISRUPTION Version 2.3 – December 12, 2016
  2. OUR VISION: To revolutionize storytelling for our deeply connected world.
  3. OUR MISSION: To turn the world’s greatest entertainment franchises into the most successful mobile games.
  4. The best teams are those that are bound by a consistent culture.
  5. We’re a software company. Culture is the software that helps us be an awesome team.
  6. Lots of companies list out a set of values like being ethical, honest, passionate, customer-focused, etc. Most of these are so overused or obvious that they ought to be universal to almost every company. Instead, we’re going to focus on the values that are special for us.
  7. THREE CORE VALUES OF A DISRUPTOR 1. 2. 3. Authenticity Continuous Improvement Effectiveness
  9. Often misconstrued, authenticity is not about being an open book, revealing every detail of yourself without rhyme or reason. It is simply the act of openly and courageously seeing what needs to be seen, saying what needs to be said, doing what needs to be done, and becoming that which you are intent on being.” -Scott Edmund Miller “
  10. In the last few years, the word transparency has become a business buzzword. We believe in transparency, but we don’t think it’s enough…
  11. AUTHENTICITY IS TRANSPARENCY ON STEROIDS It isn’t just about being willing to hold our actions to the light of evidence — it’s also a willingness to always ask whether what we’re being transparent about is what really matters.
  12. A good question to always be asking: Is that what really matters?” You can apply this question to help prioritize how to spend time, whether a particular metric is valuable, or whether a product is heading the right way. Answering this question allows us to be true to ourselves, each other and our work. “
  13. When we rely on vanity metrics, a funny thing happens. When the numbers go up, I've personally witnessed everyone in the company naturally attributing that rise to whatever they were working on at the time. That's not too bad, except for this correlate: when the numbers go down, we invariably blame someone else. Over time, this allows each person in the company to live in their own private reality. As these realities diverge, it becomes increasingly difficult for teams to reach consensus on what to do next.” ERIC RIES LEAN STARTUP DUDE AUTHENTICITY IS THE ANTIDOTE TO A CERTAIN PROBLEM: “
  14. Customers can tell when something is inauthentic. Although we sometimes make mistakes, customers are more forgiving when they know we have their interests at heart. Authentic companies build authentic products.
  15. AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS We don’t just strive for authenticity in our products, but also in how we view ourselves and work with one another. • This starts with self awareness, a dimension of authenticity. • This also means having authentic conversations in and across teams – conversations in which openness and candor is valued, and where shared problem-solving occurs.
  16. GREAT COMPANIES DON’T NEED (OR WANT) NON-COMPETE AGREEMENTS None of our employees sign non-compete agreements because we believe that great companies are built by team members with an authentic passion for working together on interesting problems— not by trying to prevent them from working elsewhere.
  17. Some companies build things they’d like to use themselves; others because they think there’s something needed in a market. For us, we like to think that we’re creating games that first-and-foremost our friends would enjoy, but also that can be successful in the market. WE DON’T BUILD PRODUCTS UNLESS WE WOULD WANT OUR FRIENDS TO PLAY THEM
  19. I do the same thing over and over, improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I'll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.” – Sushi Master Jiro Ono, from Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  20. Game development is a craft. You get better at a craft through a willingness to learn along with lots of practice.
  21. In agile software development, iteration is a way to constantly improve products by releasing more frequent versions and paying attention to the metrics that matter.
  22. But, these concepts do not just apply to the process of developing software. We’re committed to continuously improving every aspect of our business through iteration: customer service, development, hiring, design practices, deals — everything.
  23. Failure—as long as it isn’t the same type of failure over and over–is a normal part of business. Continuous Improvement is the ongoing pursuit of excellence that stems from taking risks, learning from experiences, and putting those learnings into action. *Ancient Bene Gesserit saying FEAR IS THE MIND KILLER*
  24. A commitment to continuous improvement means that you’re highly adaptable and willing to learn. You’re always trying to find ways to get better at your craft, you listen to those around you, and you’re naturally curious. “ANCORA IMPARO” (STILL, I LEARN) —MICHELANGELO
  25. v CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVING TEAMS We strive for continuous improvement as a company, but also on the team level. As we converse in and across teams, individuals are expected to take on a learner vs. a knower attitude. We encourage our employees to strive to learn-it- all, not know-it-all. All conversations are mutual learning opportunities and each one has the potential to help all teams improve more rapidly.
  27. Disruptors are also effective. By effective, we mean that we focus on results. The results that really matter. We make decisions that allow us to nurture an ecosystem that grows our customers.
  28. We have an unlimited paid-time-off and flexible work-from-home policies. If you are sick, please stay home and get better. If you need a vacation, please take the time you need. If you need to work-from-home because your kid is sick or you need to get your teeth cleaned, do what is best for you. We believe giving employees the freedom to take the time they need when they need it will in turn provide individuals and teams the opportunity to be more effective.
  29. Everyone at Disruptor Beam, from the CEO to the newest hire, records their current quarterly goals and historic effectiveness in a location that every employee can access. At our office, company-wide metrics and financial results are communicated to everyone. OBJECTIVES & KEY RESULTS
  30. TEAM EFFECTIVENESS Individual effectiveness is relevant, but team effectiveness is actually most important. Teams can actually accomplish more together than a few heroic individuals on their own. We examine the effectiveness of teams based on a handful of factors previously identified by Google including: • Psychological Safety • Dependability • Structure & Clarity • Meaning • Impact SEE:
  32. Skills are important, especially if they are the kind that take a long time to develop, but we usually aren’t concerned about perfect overlap to a job’s specification. The most important inherent talents are general problem solving, innate intelligence, the ability to take a player’s perspective, adaptability and ability to learn new skills. Culture fit is fundamental to any of our hires. No matter how skilled and talented someone is, they won’t be hired unless we feel they’re the right fit for our values. HIERARCHY OF IMPORTANCE IN HIRING DECISION
  34. Flat organizational structures are common in many startup companies (and also many game companies, such as Valve). But more often than not, a flat organization is just chaotic and points to an absence of management. Typical top-down hierarchies don’t always work well for knowledge-oriented enterprises like software and game design—they can be too rigid, constrain creativity, and encourage the formation of fiefdoms. HOW OTHERS DO IT: THE FLAT VS. TOP-DOWN ORGANIZATIONS
  35. We don’t have a rigid top-down hierarchy, but we are not a flat organization either. Practices, culture and processes are more important than fixed reporting structures and we’re always iterating and improving them. We use regular peer-reviews and publicly-accessible objectives & key results (OKRs) instead of private/politicized supervisory-style performance evaluations. We do use titles. They’re a useful tool to communicate where someone focuses. Managers tune teams, processes, provide coaching and make sure that everyone is aligned to the work and responsibilities that are best with them. DISRUPTOR BEAM: FLEXIBLE TEAM-BASED ORGANIZATION
  37. We create experiences that fire the imagination, connect people with each other in new ways, and let them feel things they wouldn’t otherwise feel. That’s pretty awesome.
  38. Our company is an engine for innovation. It lets us come together and invent things we could never do on our own. Our culture is a strategic advantage.
  39. The more our culture helps us innovate… …the more we grow… …the more valuable we are… …the more we get to keep innovating.
  40. The HubSpot Culture Code Netflix Culture Deck Zappos Family Core Values Valve Employee Manual Gilmore & Pine: Authenticity: What Customers Really Want Google People Operations TIP OF THE HAT TO: