Company

Values

Overview

Fiction seeks excellence in its products, services and as a company.

To acheive this, Fiction has a performance based culture. And we believe this creates the best environment for success and professional satisfaction for everyone working with the company.

Here are some important aspects of Fiction’s culture:

  • What We Value
  • High Performance
  • Freedom Through Accountability
  • Less Is More
  • Destinations Not Directions
  • Innovation, Measurement and Objectivity

What Fiction Values

Values of a company are shown by who gets rewarded, promoted or let go. They are the core things that truly lead to the success (or failure) of each individual, and hence the company.

Values are the behaviors and skills that are valued in fellow employees. At Fiction, we particularly value the following attributes:

Execution Despite Ambiguity

  • Despite ambiguity you complete projects successfully
  • You have a “default to action” and don’t get stressed out without clear direction
  • You under-promise and over-deliver
  • You aren’t scared of “work” and you are persistent in reaching your goals

Working Smartly

  • You read constantly, looking for the best approaches or mental models for complicated problems
  • You measure yourself and use numbers to improve your results
  • You know how to find good ideas in a sea full of bad ones

Communication Ability

  • You are concise and articulate
  • You listen well and understand others quickly
  • You don’t over communicate and waste others time
  • You create diagrams and flowcharts if it suits your communication needs

Design & Minimalism

  • You employ smart ways of leveraging your time and ability
  • You don’t waste resources on unnecessary projects, people, or things
  • You can create elegant solutions without “bloat”
  • You have a strong sense of taste, and cannot stand poorly thought out solutions
  • You can improve or modify existing solutions to create better results

Innovation

  • You can isolate real and untapped customer needs, and conceptualize viable potential solutions
  • You can challenge prevailing assumptions and rethink dogmatic approaches
  • You know how to recognize group thinking and errors in other’s judgement
  • You don’t have ego around ideas and approaches that aren’t value, you’re willing to listen to feedback

Passion

  • You enjoy your work and you don’t need compliments or excessive encouragement
  • You care intensely about the success of your team and company
  • You are tenatious and don’t give up

Humility & Selflessness

  • You are willing to do whatever it takes
  • You have no ego when it comes to finding the best ideas
  • You are kind, yet direct
  • You make time to help others
  • You are a team player

Measurement & Objectivity

  • You measure everything you possibly can
  • You come up with systems and feedback mechanisms to improve results
  • You use data to come up with better ideas and improvements

High Performance Culture

Fiction’s goal is to build a high performance culture that can quickly and overwhelmingly respond to market forces. And we care very much about being one of the best in our industry.

Fiction is a team, not a family. We build Fiction’s team much more like a professional sports team than a recreation league. Meaning we seek the best for every position, not just whoever is available at a given time.

Fiction hires, trains and cuts smartly to consistently improve our people and high performance culture.

Adequate Performance

Since we believe in only having high performance employees, we also believe that adequate performance deserves a generous severence package.

Some people might balk at the stress associated with always having above average performance and we understand that. However, these people might not be the best people for Fiction.

Keeper’s Test

Which people, if they told us they were leaving, would we fight hard to keep working at Fiction?

If someone doesn’t pass this test, they should get a generous severance package now so we might find a star for their position going forward.

Honest Feedback

One way of ensuring that expectations are known is that we believe in always giving 100% honest feedback. This way people are always clued in to where they are performing or maybe falling short.

Why?

In procedural work, like driving a taxi, the best workers may be at best 2x that of the average. However, in creative/knowledge work, the best people are 10x or in some cases 100x better than the average.

We believe a great workplace is having great people to work with.

Freedom Through Accountability

Fiction believes that we all only have one life to live. Therefore, while we want to make a huge impact we don’t want to give up our freedom in the process.

That’s why we have a culture that enables freedom through accountability.

  • We don’t believe “hard work” is relevant to our culture, we believe “great work” is. This means we focus on what you get done, how your measure your performance, and how good that performance is.
  • B-Level Performance, despite A-level effort, is given a generous severance package.
  • A-Level performance, in spite of minimal work, is given great pay and additional responsibilily.

Less Is More

One key belief we have is that less is more, or in other words, the more we minimize complexity and avoid the unnecessary the more effort we will be able to apply to those few things that actually matter.

Therefore, one highly respected skill and value inside Fiction is the ability to be minimalist in your work. We also believe that simplifying something is often the most elegant form of innovation.

Avoiding Consensus Thinking

Often people and companies do thigns just because they see others doing them. Often times new products and services seek to create this consensus mentality to convince you to use their product.

One aspect of minimalism is asking: “do we really need to do X? Will it really help our results?” rather than just doing it.

For example:

  • Do we really need a strong community Slack channel? Will this really help our goals or just give us another thing to attend to?
  • Do we really need a company Twitter account? Or will customers just have a new way to complain and distract us.
  • Do we really need to use “____” new app? Does it really provide a strong benefit over old technology?

Old Technology

As part of “doing less” we also believe in defaulting to using old (and proven) technology before we consider using the new bells and whistles.

This is because there are often unforeseen inconsistencies, bugs and other problems involved with new technology that is all too easily covered up with shiny marketing materials and hype.

Before adopting some new SAAS application, ask yourself if you can do things using old technology just as easily.

Destinations Not Directions

As part of a freedom based culture, Fiction realizes that it can’t possibly tell people exactly “how” to reach the individual goals we set for each other. Therefore, we believe is more important to be massively clear about what our objectives are and how they will be measured, rather than tell people the way to get to them.

We believe in embracing:

  • Strategy
  • Metrics
  • Assumptions
  • Objectives and Goals
  • Clearly Defined Responsibility
  • Decision Making
  • Results

While avoiding:

  • Committee based decision making
  • Task Delegation
  • Over valuing planning, process

Law of Responsibility

We believe that one individual should always be responsible for a given objective. This is known as the “law of responsibility.”

Giving Context

when you are tempted to “dictate” to someone, ask yourself what type of context you can give them instead. In other words, what can you tell them about your goals to help them find the right answers on their own.