By Bhavin Parikh, November 21, 2013
At Magoosh, our culture and values define how we approach our work, interact with students and each other, and much more. Contrary to popular belief, culture isn’t about whether or not you drink Blue Bottle coffee, are good at foosball, or like certain movies. A good set of values is a decision-making framework—values should help team members make decisions between two good options.
In true nerd fashion, we’ve turned our values into inequalities—we are test prep experts after all! The left side representing the Magoosh way, and the right side representing another good way, just not our way. Knowing what you aren’t is as important as knowing what you are.
Done > Perfect
- We have a bias toward action. We don’t delay for perfect tomorrow what can be done well today.
- We believe in the Pareto principle. We try to achieve 80% of the impact with 20% of the effort.
Data > Intuition
- We run experiments to test ideas and gather data. We’re scientists!
- We collect feedback often since we don’t read minds…well.
- We confirm (or disprove!) our intuitions with data.
Passion > Balance
- We love what we do–helping students is too much fun to be considered work.
- We enjoy thinking about Magoosh and our students whether at work or home.
- We help our teammates and students in times of need, even if we have to leave a dinner party to do it.
Diversity > Uniformity
- We encourage ideas from everyone—the best ideas can come from anywhere!
- We create an environment that supports our diverse interests and work styles.
Challenge > Comfort
- We tackle tasks that we’ve never done before.
- We understand the best progress often comes from uncomfortable situations.
- We challenge ourselves to learn new skills—we are always students.
Communication > Efficiency
- We set clear expectations and don’t oversell to students, partners, and teammates.
- We let people know when we’ve completed a task, closing the “communication loop.”
- We follow up and send reminders–we don’t pass the buck.
- We value direct, person-to-person feedback and communication.
Friendly > Formal
- We respond to and talk about colleagues, customers, and partners in a friendly and positive tone.
- We take responsibility for our mistakes and don’t harp on the mistakes of others.
- We trust each other and don’t engage in politicking.
Change > Status Quo
- We will always be a work in progress.
- We adapt to difficult and unplanned situations with a positive attitude.
- We constantly re-evaluate our priorities.
Accessible > Exclusive
- We are available for our customers and teammates.
- We are open to ideas from everyone, inside and outside of Magoosh.
- We look for help and look to help.
Wow > Profit
- We WOW customers and each other with service even at the expense of short-term profit.
- We go above and beyond in our work and never say, “It’s not my job.”
- We readily share and give credit.
By no means is this our last and final list. It’s done but not perfect, and we know there’s room for change. However, these values help us collectively make hundreds of decisions of every day. We not only trust each other to follow them, but we also hold each other accountable when we don’t. I’ve even been able to adopt some of our values in my personal life—I now make faster decisions (though still slower than many on the Magoosh team…still working on that), and I’ve learned to embrace change and unplanned situations.
Bhavin Parikh, a Haas-Berkeley graduate with a Masters of Business Administration degree, is the co-founder and CEO of Magoosh. Parikh frequently attends Cal Founders meetings. This blog post originally appeared on the Magoosh, Inc. website on November 21, 2013. This post was republished on this blog with the advance written permission of Parikh.Read More