There is always a big focus on a company mission statement to help companies stay on course through the great times and the challenging times. The mission statement is analogous to the US's Declaration of Independence:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
The problem with mission statements is that because they are short and broad, they can be unhelpful as guidelines. Re-read above and then remember that the authors said all men are created equal, even as slavery ran rampant. Most company mission statements are either ignored or manipulated to the point where they are useless.
It’s the US Constitution, on the other hand, that lays down the core laws of our country and with it - clearer guidelines on which to build a country.
Companies, then, should focus on building constitutions, not mission statements.
As I embark on Adzerk, I want to first outline some core rules for Adzerk that I hope will forever shape how Adzerk employees interact with each other and the outside world.
- Adzerk will not outsource any of the core parts of our business
- Adzerk will only work with libraries and platforms released under open source licenses
- Adzerk will not engage in any form of spam including the buying of any email list
- Adzerk will not work with companies displaying ads on properties they don’t own through the use of toolbars or other software installed on a customer's computer
- Adzerk will not work with companies purposely engaging in digital piracy
- Adzerk will never buy 3rd-party data to augment data lists nor sell a customer's data, even if given permission to
Employee Bill of Rights
- Employees will have unlimited vacation and should take at least 5 days off in a row at least once per year
- Employees will always be provided insurance and insurance made available for their families, spouses, or civil partners
- Employees will always be free to work on side-projects in their spare time – they own all rights to these projects as long as they aren’t competitive with Adzerk
- Employees are free to be in a physical office or not - if you get your work done, we don't care where you're sitting
- Employees will have twelve weeks paid maternity leave and four weeks paid paternity leave
- Employees will receive stock options, best-in-business benefits, and fair wages
Just like the US Constitution, this will be a fluid document – amendments can be added by the executive team, but it will be done in a very transparent fashion. I know that Adzerk will change and adapt in the coming years – but now we can at least be sure that it will be done consciously and deliberately.
Core Value Amendments
As Adzerk has grown, Adzerk has codified and made actionable our set of Core Values. We view these as Adzerk Constitutional Amendments because each value represents a specific course of action for all employees to emulate.
1. Make the Internet a Better Place
Decades of ad networks and OpenRTB have gotten us to an Internet that is inundated by ad units that slow down websites, harvest our data, and obtrusively take up the screen. We aim to fix that by giving publishers alternatives to terrible programmatic ads - and allow them to build custom, seamless, privacy-first ad platforms that'll help them monetize without resorting to awful banner ads.
2. We Are All Adults
We will build a company where we want to work, with a focus on self-responsibility and autonomy. As noted above, we have an Employee Bill of Rights and want all employees to be fairly compensated. We trust our employees to do the right thing, and we don’t feel like the company or management needs to babysit them.
3. Embrace Diversity
We will fight to empower underrepresented groups - whether that's through community efforts or active programs to find and recruit diverse viewpoints. This goes well beyond having an equal opportunity employment policy - it's about striving to have a workplace full of and shaped by unique backgrounds.
4. Be Open
We are open and transparent with our employees, customers, vendors, and the public. We work only with open source software and also contribute to it; for instance, we created and sponsored the Clojure tool Boot. Being open also translates into internal practices, like sharing the P/L of the company every month and being transparent about direction and decisions inside the company. Lastly, openness means sharing posts like this with the public.
5. We Delight Our Customers
We aim to delight our customers and also delight our customers' end users (their advertisers, their website visitors, etc). This includes active conversations between customers and our executive staff and product team. It includes proactive support and customer success help. And it includes a constant practice of listening to customers, fixing our mistakes, and delighting them moving forward.
6. Deliver Innovation
We will build a culture of innovation. We are not happy with the Status Quo and will always seek to find ways to improve our product, our internal processes, and our personal skills. The term includes 'deliver' because innovation without making it actionable doesn't help anyone. Innovation also implies 'new' - we don't want to just offer incrementally better features to our customers; we want to release transformative products that improve the lives of them, their advertisers, and their users.
As we continue to grow, we will introduce new hires to our Constitution and Core Values, as well as stress them in quarterly kick-offs and in every-day interactions. We look forward to continuing to refine and tweak what we stand for and our guiding principles.
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