Cultural Ramblings: 10 Observations on Company Culture

The other day I was having a chat with a fellow entrepreneur here in town, and one of the many topics we bantered about was "culture."  Specifically, culture in early-stage companies.  Those that know me personally can attest to the extreme importance I place on culture, and subsequently the level of passion at which I invest in it. After a while, he made the suggestion that I write all of my ramblings into some semblance of a coherent document.

Of course, being of unsound mind and several beers, and given that he was interrupting my verbal stream of arcane yet profound mutterings about some business model or another, I dismissed the idea and kept on yapping.  This cycle repeated itself several times, and I capitulated only after I was exhausted, out of breath, and clinging to the edge of the table to keep myself from spinning into a frenzy.  Something like that.  So, here goes nothing.

Now, technically speaking, everyone is inherently qualified to write about their observations (and even their views) on “culture.”  These are simply mine.  Right, wrong, or indifferent by anyone else’s standards, the views I present here were shaped over the years, from having worked in companies of all sizes (from Fortune 500 to startups to turnarounds to the military), and across at least a dozen different industries.

My aim here is to share my observations on companies and founders that can honestly say that “culture” is a strategic advantage, and those where it works against the company’s goals.  This is not a magic list of the things you need to have in your culture.  No such thing exists.

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