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On Culture

Ben Horowitz has two incredible documents that I can keep going back to often to remind myself of how to think about these two topics. One is on Product Management, and is titled "Good Product Manager / Bad Product Manager". The other outlines what the culture of a company is.

As Ben states, you can answer precisely zero of these questions by referring to your corporate mission statement. However, how you answer these questions defines the culture of your company. While these questions are simply a riff by Ben, each of us can come up with our own versions of such questions:

  • Is that Slack message / email / phone call so important that I need to return it today, or can it wait till tomorrow?
  • Can I ask for a raise before my annual review?
  • Is the quality of this document good enough or should I keep working on it?
  • Do I have to be on time for that meeting?
  • Should I stay at the Four Seasons or the Red Roof Inn?
  • When I negotiate this contract, what's more important: the price or the partnership?
  • Should I point out what my peers do wrong, or what they do right?
  • Should I go home at 5pm or 8pm?
  • How hard do I need to study the competition?
  • Should we discuss the colour of this button for five minutes or thirty hours?
  • If I know something is badly broken in the company, should I say something? Whom should I tell?
  • Is winning more important than ethics?
So few words, so much wisdom.

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