Lesson 9. Corporate Culture


A startup is a clean slate. If you take the time and effort, the corporate culture can be anything you envision. If you don’t bother, then at scale it will be just another place to work, yet another “Office”, yet another “Dilbert”, a soul-sucking job you take to get some “Moon Shoes”.

This lecture looks at three innovative corporate cultures: Netflix, Valve, and the Method Soap Company.

(Total running time: 72 minutes)

0. Moon Shoes
1. Dilbert and The Office
2. Freedom and Responsibility
3. No Managers at Valve
4. The Method Method
5. Tours of Duty at LinkedIn
6. Radical corporate democracy
7. Holacracy
8. Your culture?

Nike’s Principals

Case studies

Netflix Freedom & Responsibility Culture
Nexflix Culture (official website)
Value Guide for New Employees
The Method Method by Eric Ryan, Adam Lowry and Lucas Conley
Blinkracy from Blinkist
Buffer’s blog and open data
Johnson & Johnson’s Credo
Why company culture is crucial by Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot


The Next Step – Worksheet

Related articles

Culture Is More Than a Ping Pong Table – Medium
It’s Not About the Coffee by Howard Behar
The Five Disfunctions of a Team (manga version) by Patrick Lencioni
Holacracy vs. Hierarchy vs. Flat Orgs – Medium
Holacracy Is Not What You Think – Medium
Inside Zappos radical management experiment that prompted 14% of employees to quit – Business Insider
Netflix Unlimited Maternity/Paternity Leave – TechCrunch
Ex-Valve employee describes ruthless internal politics – PCGamer
A seemingly counterintuitive business decision that helped Patagonia triple its profits – Business Insider
What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team – The New York Times Magazine
Organizational Debt by Steve Blank
Go For Culture Add, Not Culture Fit by Brad Feld
Silicon Valley’s Grow-or-Die Culture Is Costing Us by James Stanier

Plus stories about culture and (fast) growth

#ScaledToDeath: The 6 Traps of Exponential Growth – Medium
Zenefits Scandal Highlights Perils of Hypergrowth at Start-Ups – The New York Times
I Give My Employees $1,000 to Do (Almost) Whatever They Want – Entrepreneur


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