Justin, Jaco, and I want to build software of exceptional quality and reliability, build products that have an impact, and surround ourselves with amazing people. Each one of us has our own primary focus, but all three of these goals must exist in superposition in order for any of them to manifest.
I didn’t even realize this until we’d started talking about the place we wanted to build; but after we talked about our primary goals - mine is the people - we realized that all of these things were necessary for any of them to succeed.
Great people work on things that matter. Great people build with exceptional talent and drive. Great people need to be around great people. I frame everything around the people, since that’s my focus, but this could all be reformulated to be about the product or the quality of work.
Here’s how we’re going to do it:
Partners only. After a 6 to 18 month probation, you either make partner or you move on. Partners vote. Partners split year end dividends. This stops us from holding onto nice, but ineffective people or from hiring ineffective support staff. It is also the only way to get truly outstanding people to work with you in the long run.
Minimize the amount of time billable work. Per project billing encourages efficiency and aligns incentives because it motivates us to finish the project and to focus on core value. Yes there are risks, but when you bill by the hour you have give out an estimate anyway. What are you going to do? Invoice double the estimate? Besides, great software isn’t about the feature set, it is about the polish. How much skill and effort went into making Instagram or Slack? How complicated were those apps on paper?
Open source projects. True, contributing to open source projects decreases the amount of direct top line revenue, but without it skills hemorrhage and you lose your best people.
Encourage Vennetians to build and ship side projects and startups. Losing one or two people pales in comparison to the good vibes and press associated with incubating world changing stuff.