In 2015 we came together as a 13-person team to talk about the culture we wanted to build. We were sure we wanted a Nerf-free office. The rest took a little longer to write down. Now as a 50+ person team, we work by these words every day.
At Mode, we work for people—for our coworkers sitting next to us, and for our customers around the world. In everything we do, we strive to put the people we do it for first. Product improvements, support tickets, interviews, messages to colleagues—these aren’t faceless tasks, but actions with a person on the other end. We want to be kind to them, accept their opinions and differences, and welcome what we can learn from them.
What we build, as a product and a company, isn’t our success alone. We benefit from the hard work and sacrifice of others building technology, of those who clean our offices and deliver our packages, and of our friends and neighbors. We’re humble and grateful for the opportunity that we have.
We treat our responsibility to customers thousands of miles away the same as we do for coworkers sitting next to us.
Taking our job seriously doesn't mean we have to take ourselves too seriously. Puns, jokes, and off-the-wall conversations around the lunch table—these things make our company more welcoming, our product more human, and us more ourselves. We can also only be ourselves if we're encouraged to prioritize the parts of our lives beyond the office, and find balance between work and personal pursuits.
Nevertheless, we also recognize that what's fun for some people isn't fun for everyone. A good culture is one that's comfortable, welcoming, and evolving, not one that's required or imposed.
We live in a biased world. For many people, the game isn’t fair—their boards have a lot more chutes and a lot fewer ladders than our own. Not only should we not forget these disadvantages, but we also should be comfortable acknowledging the privileges we’ve been afforded.
But we can help make things better, even in small ways. We fight for inclusion, and refuse to forget others simply for being different. We can’t ignore how small things—pronouns, stock images, team outings, and meeting agendas—can perpetuate and enforce our biases. Because we won’t see all of our own blindspots, we want to remember to learn how we can better from others.
We, like many organizations today, believe in open and transparent communication. Nobody should ever wonder about their progress or the progress of the business—honest questions deserve honest answers.
Transparency and honesty, however, aren’t excuses to be unkind. Transparency isn’t an end to itself, but is a means to building trust and fostering communication. Cruelty can erode trust and sever connections just as quickly as closed doors.