Culture Is One Of The Most Important Aspects Of An Embryonic Startup

I continually think about what kind of culture I am building within the Seconds team.  We are still a rag-tag founding team, some full time and some very part time, most on the west coast but some outside of Seattle.  Yet setting a strong and distinct culture at this embryonic and incubation stage of the company is one of the most important things a founder can do.

I read this the other day and it made me pause and reflect on how to better create culture within my team.  From Blake Master’s notes on Peter Thiel’s CS 183 class:

Good company culture is more nuanced than simple homogeneity or heterogeneity. On the homogeneity side, everyone being alike isn’t enough. A robust company culture is one in which people have something in common thatdistinguishes them quite sharply from rest of the world. If everybody likes ice cream, that probably doesn’t matter. If the core people share a relevant and unique philosophy about something important, you’re onto something.

Similarly, differences qua differences don’t matter much. In strong company cultures, people are different in a way that goes to the core mission. Suppose one key person is on an ice cream only diet. That’s quirky. But it’s also irrelevant. You want your people to be different in a way that gives the company a strong sense of identity and yet still dovetails with the overall mission. Having different kinds of problem-solvers on a team, for example, can make for a stronger culture.