People & Teamwork

Gains and Tradeoffs of Appunite Culture

Our culture wasn't fully created by design. It's a result of random events as well as conscious choices. Each choice comes with tradeoffs. Some are already addressed but others may still need to be tackled. These choices make our organization a place where not everyone can fit in, but if you do, you are able to achieve amazing things. Let me share some of the choices we've made and the tradeoffs they bring.

We don't tell people what to do, so they need to find their own fit.

Gain: If you find your own passion that aligns with our goals, you'll get plenty of autonomy. You can act as a partner, not just an employee. You define your impact.

Tradeoff: It's not easy to discover your passion, nor is it easy to define how it will help our mission. This can be frustrating for less experienced people who still need guidance.

We treat code as a tool.

Gain: We move fast when we need to. We make it scalable when needed. We reuse if that's the most optimal way. We see creating software solutions as an investment that has to be adequate for the return.

Tradeoff: We expect the teams to understand what we are building and what impact it will have on the business. We expect the teams to focus on the wider context. We expect to choose right tools for the problems instead of building fancy solutions.

You are responsible for your own growth.

Gain: You can steer where you want to be and how fast you want to grow.

Tradeoff: You have to be transparent about it and ask for feedback. If you don't, you might find yourself going in a different direction.

You shape your career by making a bigger impact, not by changing titles and earning badges.

Gain: You don't need a title to act. If you make an impact, you'll be invited into bigger topics easily.

Tradeoff: If you perceive your progress by gaining different titles and seeking authority, you'll be frustrated.

We prioritize mission-driven teams over setting clear boundaries between roles.

Gain: We want to be pragmatic in solving problems, so we bring the best people for the job.

Tradeoff: The same role in different places might look different than here, which can put you outside your comfort zone.

We share context as widely as possible.

Gain: We don't create unnecessary proxies. Teams talk directly with clients. Stakeholders provide context often. You can easily access the information you need.

Tradeoff: Sometimes there's too much information, so you have to selectively choose what can help you achieve better results and what to ignore.

We communicate on public channels.

Gain: We avoid communication silos. By default, information is public unless it needs to be private.

Tradeoff: You have to carefully choose communication channels. We avoid communicating on DMs and private channels, which might feel awkward at first.

We prefer sensible defaults over processes and procedures.

Gain: We don't want to limit ourselves by having processes and procedures created by design. You can break each process and procedure if it makes sense. If you don't have an idea, you might follow sensible defaults or create them if they don't exist.

Tradeoff: Sometimes you might feel lost and take ownership of choosing a different path.

We expect high ownership.

Gain: You have the autonomy to solve challenges.

Tradeoff: You're responsible for choosing the path you follow. We expect you to lead topics you own.

We expect you to admit when you don't know.

Gain: Pretending you know is wasting others' time, and we don't want that. We embrace saying, "I don't know."

Tradeoff: It takes time to get comfortable with saying "I don't know," and it can be frustrating when others say it and you think they should know.

We don't accept saying, "It's not my job."

Gain: We have each other's backs. We don't ignore problems just because they happen somewhere else.

Tradeoff: You might find yourself leading topics until you find another owner.

We're eager to accomplish our mission.

Gain: You might get inspired only if you want to.

Tradeoff: Even though it's unclear sometimes how to do it, we talk about it boldly. Not having a clear path might be frustrating sometimes.

We don't accept complaining.

Gain: You might get inspired by others' approaches to tackling issues.

Tradeoff: Instead of complaining, we expect you to do something about it.

We embrace failure.

Gain: We learn much quicker if we bring failures to the surface. You might learn from others' mistakes.

Tradeoff: Sometimes you might contribute to the failure, and we want to be transparent about it so others can learn.

We want decisions to be made as close as possible to the problem.

Gain: You're expected to make decisions.

Tradeoff: You can't expect top-down decisions. Instead, you receive context instead of decisions.

We don't compare ourselves to our competition.

Gain: We prefer to get inspired by the best. You'll hear a lot about Netflix, Google, and Apple. Even though our reality is different, we believe our approach is similar.

Tradeoff: We might be doing some things worse than our competition.

We expect everyone to contribute to the mission.

Gain: You're invited to be part of the journey. We listen to everyone, no matter how long you've been here.

Tradeoff: If you're looking for a place to just write code or sell software, AppUnite isn't it. You'll be constantly stretched to work around the mission.

Skills matter, but attitude is a game-changer.

Gain: By being curious and not accepting things, you might bring a lot of value, no matter what skills you have.

Tradeoff: Skills are useless if you can't create value with them. We don't tolerate ignorance, even if you're the best specialist on the market.