How we use empathy, craftsmanship, and curiosity everyday at Standard Co

I just received a really nice email from a client saying how much they appreciated the work from our head of product, Emily. Emily had been engaging, helpful, and insightful as they worked together to add a dashboard to our supply chain tool. If you know Emily or anyone on our team, you won’t be surprised by this. We’re a nice bunch! And while it’s always nice to hear good things about your team, it’s equally gratifying that this particular client ended the email by quoting back to me our core values!

Core values are the sort of thing that are usually created to help give founders a North Star on how to build a team. Our idea when we created them was twofold: to help build a team and to help build a client roster.

Craftsmanship


When we started Standard Co, we knew we wanted to build our own digital products. We also knew that raising money for an idea is something we didn't want to entertain until we were certain we had something of value. So we funded the R&D on these projects by doing services work. That work taught us a lot about focusing on the quality of what we do.

Over the last 4 years, we've experimented with a few dozen ideas, built 10+ MVPs, made revenue on a 3 or 4 different projects, and formally launched a real product in 2016 called Secure Data Kit, a healthcare data platform primarily used by global health organizations. We've been very purposeful with how we've built SDK; we started by validating what people wanted with a simple data collection tool. Then as we scaled we focused on the engineering -- making sure it could process 100,000+ surveys a week. After that we focused on making the tool as analytically useful as possible. All the while we dedicated ourselves to the craft of software development. Sure the "move fast and break stuff" mantra sounds fun. We chose the "move slow and build value" approach (can I put that on a t-shirt?)

This core value is really about treating what we do as a craft and aiming to excel at all aspects of building a product whether it's project management, development, or QA.

Empathy


Software developers are the great beneficiaries of a staggering supply / demand problem. That is, there ain't enough developers to fill all the jobs out there. So jobs are plentiful, pay is good, etc. This leads to a lot of inflated egos. And inflated egos tend to think they know the answer. Our belief is we don't have all the answers. We talk to our clients and users and customers and colleagues and partners to understand what the needs are and we construct the answers based on their needs. This means we try and go into every meeting with an open mind. We apply this philosophy to clients and team members -- we assume nothing about the people we bring onto the team.

We want to stay friendly, nice, approachable people.

Curiosity


It's kind of a given that you have to stay curious in the software world. Technology changes as fast as industry -- if you want to stay relevant, you have to stay curious. How do we activate that curiosity though? We have a few different approaches:

  1. Work when you want where you want: This has a surprising effect curiosity. When people aren’t burdened by a set schedule (9-5!) and an office environment, people feel free to roam and explore and see new things. We’ve had team members work from the beach to the jungle to the family van to everything in between

  2. Get out of the build: Visiting clients is critical to our success. But it’s not just about friendly relationships with the folks we work with. It’s about seeing the work you’re doing in real life and having that spur creative solutions to tricky problems.


We use these core values every day when we talk to our team, to our clients, and to our partners. Hopefully you see it when you meet us!

TJ
Jun. 26 2019