When we first started work on Agent Pronto, I decided we should have a sort of company culture document.
The first challenge in creating something like this was personal - I couldn’t help but feel I was bullshitting. A culture document for a company of two people which hadn’t launched yet and didn’t even have a website? It felt…grandiose.
But after hearing Tony Hsieh at SXSW, I realized the best time (perhaps the only time) to establish company culture is from the very beginning.
My b.s. meters were okay with the concept now, but the name “culture document” was still giving me pains. I needed a better way to describe it.
The word “values” was immediately dismissed because generations of corporate meetings have rendered it meaningless. “Manifesto” sounded cool, but seemed more outwardly focused and also a touch douchy. “Culture code”, “rules of engagement” and “how we work” were a few other phrases considered. Eventually, I settled on Clubhouse Rules - a name so silly and childish that there was no room for grandeur.
I drafted a few initial rules and sent to Peter to consider and evaluate. Over several drafts and much editing, we had eight rules that best explained the Agent Pronto culture.
I owe hat tips to Seth Godin and 37signals for inspiring several of our rules. Our passion for making beautiful things was the basis for several more. And all were filtered through the casual, “be a real person” approach I’ve practiced with clients for years. Here they are:
- We will be artists.
- We will asynchronously overshare.
- We will work hard, but we won’t work long.
- We will not create emergencies because we know that most often, they are created.
- We will make things beautiful and profitable. We will even make beautiful more profitable.
- We will speak to customers, partners and co-workers like a friend, not a corporate robot.
- We will make ourselves better so we can make the world better.
- And we will have a fucking blast doing it.
With the Clubhouse Rules finalized, I asked my talented friend Sarah to paint them for my office. She not only obliged, but inserted her own personality into the project. Clubhouse Rules was now Clubhouse Rulez and an amazing work of art: