Starting a company is more than starting a company. Whether you know it or not, whether you like it or not, you are also starting a culture.
That’s right—culture isn’t born. It’s forged.
And that’s a serious responsibility. A company culture, perhaps as much as a good idea, can help shape the company’s success.
The SocialRadar app is an unprecedented blend of two indispensable facets of our everyday life: social media networks and geolocation technology. It’s therefore apropos that our culture is a blend, too. We’ve combined best practices of the cultures of other companies we’ve worked for as well as companies we’ve admired from afar, plus injected some aspects that you will not see anywhere else.
Among the reasons I believe a well-defined culture to be important for company growth:
Having a marketable product or service is not always enough to attract and retain top talent. Sweeten the deal—and your company’s overall strength at the same time—by fostering a robust culture. It makes up for the inevitable frustrations along the way and enables disparate segments of a company to share a common bond.
When creating a new product or service, a company benefits from ongoing (daily!) brainstorming and healthy discussion. It doesn’t matter how many ideas your team generates that are not worth pursuing as long as they propose good ideas, too—and you don’t want to risk how many ideas would not come up at all if you didn’t establish this free-associating culture.
Startups almost by definition mean long working hours in small working spaces. Sometimes you’ll have to ask employees to do more with literally nothing. You need a culture that motivates people to embrace these (hopefully temporary) conditions with eagerness. That means not only expecting innovation but also celebrating it. Since many startups are tackling a problem that may not be apparent to the rest of the world yet, you are equal parts fortune-tellers and underdogs.
Strong company cultures vary widely but most share at least one quality: they are shaped not just by management but also by employees, which further vests everyone on staff in the company purpose.
At SocialRadar, the culture extends beyond SocialRadar. For example, we want our vital crew to stay vital, so we emphasize the importance of a healthy work/life balance. If it means practically pushing an employee out the door at 5 p.m. to make sure he is home for a family dinner, we will. Likewise, if it means asking him to stay late to stay competitive, we will. But he won’t be alone—the whole office is also working late. With dinner provided, of course.
You just got a teaser of one of the ten unconventional pillars of our culture. Here are the rest of them—the core ideas around which our company culture revolves: