I think company culture is extremely important. It’s true in a big company and it’s true in a startup. I’m not talking about a 7 point mission statement that hangs in the office kitchen.
I’m talking about something much more natural and part of the fabric of the company.
But one size doesn’t fit all as you can see in the very best companies.
Apple’s culture and Google’s company culture couldn’t be any different. And I’m not suggesting that one is better than the other. In fact I don’t think you can. Each culture works for their company.
That culture impacts everything though. It impacts the company point of view about hiring, customers and conduct. It also impacts their attitude about product design and attitude about release.
I see some companies in our portfolio shipping product regulary and often. They want to get their software out to the masses and they want feedback so they can do it again and get better each time.
Other companies tend to be much more obsessive about what goes out the door and would rather wait a bit more to get it right.
And while I think company culture can vary from one successful company to another, I think there is one thing in common they all have: a culture of operating execution.
The best companies know how to execute. They take nothing for granted but they expect it and they work hard at it. Really hard. They get into a rhythm where decisions are made and stuff happens. They do it with respect & care. They strive to get better. And it happens everyday.
I don’t believe you should try and force your culture to be like Zappos or Apple or Google or Facebook or Craigslist. That feels too forced to me. It has to be natural and most often comes from the founders and the initial core team.
But i think everyone has a important role in the company culture. And it’s something to handle with care.