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The Buffer Culture Powered by Happiness Version 0.6
Always a work in progress • As with everything we do and ourselves, this document is a continual work in progress • Updated February 18th, 2015
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 values In the founding months, Joel & Leo read, reread 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 10 Buffer Values 1. Choose positivity and happiness 2. Default to transparency 3. Have a focus on self improvement 4. Be a "no ego" doer 5. Listen ﬁrst, then listen more 6. Have a bias towards clarity 7. Make time to reﬂect 8. Live smarter, not harder 9. Show gratitude 10. Do the right thing
Choose positivity and happiness • • • • You strive to approach things in a positive and optimistic way • You are deliberate about giving genuine appreciation You avoid criticizing or condemning team members or users You avoid complaining You let the other person save face, even if they are clearly wrong
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 share early in the decision process, to avoid “big revelations” You always state your thoughts immediately and with honesty
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 don't attach your personal self to ideas • You have a bias towards action: Done well today is better than perfect next week • • You practice humility You are adaptable and comfortable with making decisions and working in situations of uncertainty You ship code the moment it is better than what is live on our site
Listen ﬁrst, then listen more • • • 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 focus on listening rather than responding You take the approach that everything is a hypothesis and you could be wrong
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 that extra question 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 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 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
Show gratitude • • You regularly stop and are grateful for your circumstances • You approach customer conversations with humility and the knowledge that it’s a privilege to serve these people • You have gratitude for platforms, tools and open source that laid the foundation for the possibility of the company: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants” - Isaac Newton You are grateful for the work co-workers do to push the company forward and to help you move faster
Do the right thing • You choose what’s best for customers and the company in the long-term • • You correct the mistake even when no one would notice • You get excited about opportunities to help others You strive to provide the best solution, even if that means foregoing proﬁt