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People Geekly #74

Issue No. 74, brought to you by Culture Amp
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 Tweet of the week (2.5 sec)

"Company culture isn't about ping pong tables or slides in the cafeteria. It's about creating a place people are proud to work."

Matt charney (@MattCharney)
The People Geekly is sponsored by Culture Amp, a platform for companies that put culture first. Sound like you? Take a tour of the new insight reporting.

Dan Portillo, Talent Partner at Greylock, shares the slides from his talk on the recruiting. This talk highlights the common mistakes he sees being made by companies in their recruitment process. He writes up some of the "bugs" he sees in the sourcing, evaluation and conversion stages. Also included is his offer checklist and recommended hiring process.

Evie Nagy of Slack spotlights three companies that have managed to make their culture scale as they grow. Pixar, Stripe and Planet Labs all shared their practices at a Slack event earlier this year. Cara Brennan Allamano, Director of People Planet Labs believes culture needs to be defined. “In our People team, we talk about replacing the word ‘culture’ with ‘community.’ It’s inclusive as well as empowering,” says Allamano. Jay Carina, Pixar’s Lead Technical Director suggests building your culture on ideas and practices that are supportable. For Pixar, their culture and business requires input from everyone. “You just can’t make these kinds of films in a back room with only a handful of people communicating,” says Carina. “It requires so much collaboration with so much input.”  Companies also need to acknowledge that culture plays an important role in even the tiniest of decisions. Stripe cofounder John Collison says, “Even something like the homepage — what is the process of getting that changed? Is it someone’s gut feeling? How does it align with company goals? That’s culture and values.”

The Superstar Coder Myth (6 min)

In this article, author Tony You has collected several quotes from several famous coders in the programming world, describing what it’s really like to be a coding “genius.” Most hate the idea that it takes someone special to do what they do, and it really just takes dedication and desire to do the job. The idea that there are superstars out there does nothing more than push away people who could be just as good if they put their time into it. Jacob Kaplan-Moss, creator of Django, describes the term “programming genius” as something that “sets the entry threshold excessively high, scaring a lot of would-be-programmers away. On the other hand, it also haunts those that are already programmers, because it means that if you don’t 'rock' at programming, then basically, you suck.” You suggests that frustrated coders shouldn’t give up, but try a different approach to learning the language. 

Part of what makes Etsy’s culture unique is how they involve and deal with food. Eatsy is more than just a cafeteria or kitchen at the crafty company - it’s a food program that “has been around in one form or another since the company was founded,” says global food program manager Will Robb. The company puts serious thought into their twice-weekly catered meals. Eatsy itself has its own set of values which includes supporting local growers and small-scale caterers. This is part of the reason they only have in-house lunch twice a week - to encourage employees to go walk around and support their neighbors. 

While many companies exist for the pure collection of personal data, more and more are now considering all that data to be a liability. Since the recent battle between Apple and the U.S. government, companies like Envoy have decided to dump as much sensitive data as they can. “We have to keep as little [information] as possible so that even if the government or some other entity wanted access to it, we’d be able to say that we don’t have it,” said Larry Gadea, founder and CEO of Envoy. High end encryption is no longer enough as government officials push for tech companies have means to decrypt information. FBI Director James B. Comey says that without means to access information when warranted, there will be “profound consequences for public safety.” And so, many companies would rather just not have it all, even if it means slowing down their product and growth in the process.



June 16th - Melbourne Australia Breakfast @ Henry and the Fox
June 23rd - London, England @ Airbnb
June 28th - New York, NY @ LMHQ

Other Events:

June 2nd - Our friends at Udemy in New York are hosting an event called "Reinventing the People Experience" in New York City. 

If you’d like to host a People Geekup in your city, send us a note! We'll be in touch.

For more Culture Amp news, check out our Insights Blog.

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