The guiding principles for our business and how we work.
Every company has principles by which they operate, though many do so only implicitly. We’ve decided to make our operating principles conscious, explicit, and real. They guide our daily and long-term decisions including who we work with, how we work, and how we grow the company.
Our guiding principles are below.
If you have feedback, feel free to leave a comment on this version. We’re always looking to improve.
Action over perfection.
We’re perfectionists and, if left to our own devices, we would spend far too long staring at a blank page or tweaking the final 5% of a project. Instead, we opt to ship, ship, ship. Don’t overthink it. Most things often don’t need to be a masterpiece. Most things just need to get done (and we can always go back and improve it later, right?). We win by acting often and acting quickly. Analysis paralysis and perfection are the killers of progress and action. We act.
Every piece of content we create should be the best thing in the world created on that topic.
This may sound like a direct contradiction to the first one, though it’s not. Action is a necessary prerequisite to creation, and the quality and care we put into each piece is something that follows action.
A guiding heuristic: What topic are we writing about? Whatever it is, ask yourself, “if someone read this, would they need to read anything else on this topic?” If the answer is yes, we’ve got more work to do.
We’ll win on over-the-top quality and by genuinely giving a shit about the work we put out into the world.
The marketing world is filled with noise and mediocre content. We don’t need to add to that.
We’re intellectually honest and genuine, always.
Although the space is saturated, we’re not another agency, startup, or content team. We bring genuine, unedited knowledge and strategy to every project we work on and clients we work with — our character, creativity, motivation, and unique opinions are a substantial part of our UVP as marketers. We refuse to present regurgitated work.
Additionally, when we don’t know the answer, we say “I don’t know.” We’re curious, in pursuit of the truth, not to defend our ego. We want to get the right answer, not to appear as if we are ourselves right.
At the end of the day, we have presented the most authentic version of ourselves with no veil or forced posturing. This includes being transparent to ourselves, each other, and our clients. Good heuristic: If you have to ask “Should I tell that person this?” Most of the time the right answer is probably yes.
We build systems and processes, but they never supersede good judgment.
Repeatable systems and processes allow for scale and quality assurance. If something works, it works. That’s a core component of our business, and we’ll work feverishly to create the best possible systems internally and for our clients.
However, the sentence “that’s just the way we do things,” should never be uttered.
There’s always room at the margins for creative breakthroughs. In fact, creative breakthroughs almost always occur at the margins.
Anyone, from the founders to our contractors to our clients, should be able to question the way things are done and make suggestions for different or better ways to do things. Autonomy and critical thinking über alles.
Always be learning.
We’re learning and educating ourselves as much (if not more) as we write, strategize, and educate others. This allows us to maintain our unique value proposition (#1) and produce work that’s not only well-written and researched but also unique and compelling.
Important corollary: always be teaching. Teaching is the best way to learn (yourself). Additionally, we rely on knowledge sharing, archiving results, and documentation to further build upon existing processes and knowledge. Teach not only others within the company, but clients and the public as well (through blogging, speaking, social media, etc.).
This should be fun.
Whether you’re writing an article or creating a new course or product, none of this should suck. Sure, some task items might be arduous, but we shouldn’t hate what we do.
Conversations should be fun (if they aren’t, we should question why). Content creation should be fun.
Our motivation is our greatest fuel and asset, and anything that diminishes that is a direct cost to the business.
We play long term games with long-term people.
We play the long game and choose partners, contractors, employees, and clients accordingly. We’re not interested in short term wins at the expense of long term objectives (in game theory, we’re playing ‘iterated games’).
We invest in long-term, compounding assets, including relationships and partnerships, but also in our strategies and company objectives.
Think like a CEO of your domain.
Think of yourself as the CEO. Do things to get off the ground, then figure out how to make it scale. What are the repetitive tasks that you don’t need to do anymore? Do you expect what you’re doing to have to be done again repeatedly? Automate it or create playbooks and outsource it.
The word of the day here is “leverage.” How can you maximize your own results by leveraging media, code (automation), labor (hiring, virtual assistants), or capital to free yourself to do the things that only you can do and that you’re the best at?
Let’s work together
We’ve help other software and ecommerce clients grow their business with content. Let’s find out how we can do the same for you.