Welcome to the third edition of Cyces Culture Notes. In the previous two editions we talked about how we communicate and got candid about how we manage tasks here.
This time, we’re writing about a journey. It’s slightly different from the previous editions because I’m documenting an on-going challenge. It’s not exactly a note which says here this is what we’re doing, and why we’re doing this.
“The reason writing a 4-page memo is harder than “writing” a 20 page powerpoint is because the narrative structure of a good memo forces better thought and better understanding of what’s more important than what, and how things are related.”
This is from a 2004 Jeff Bezos email.
The memo culture in Amazon is widely documented, in fact, the above quote from Bezos’ email is quoted in hundreds of articles.
Take a more recent example, Stripe. The company is also well known for its writing culture. The founders, Collison brothers, write with such flair that people who leave the company say that they miss reading their emails the most.
In a podcast with First Round, author and ex-Stripe Brie Wolfson spoke about the company’s writing culture in detail.
“I think the shocking part about Stripe’s writing culture is just how much internal documentation, and I don't mean like, here's how to use this thing. I mean like, here are my thoughts on how this thing goes. Like just how much of that exists.”
“I think you would be surprised at the frequency of these kinds of documents. So when I said like, you can click in to see if there's a new retrospective, there was always any retrospective, somebody was always writing up their learnings about something they had shipped. These were very high frequency mechanisms”
So, two things stand out. (Almost) Everybody, including the founders, wrote well. And they wrote frequently.
Now to the actual challenge: How do we bring this culture to Cyces? Not everybody likes to write.
Here are some experiments which have worked for us. It’s a long way to get there, but we’re on the route.
- Brainstorm article ideas together: When we asked people to send their ideas across, we did not get a great response. So, we slotted out sessions meant to help people flesh out ideas and outlines. It has been a great hit. Six of our teammates have written their own articles, just in the last 6 weeks.
- Help them with writing: In the initial stages, it is okay to help people with their outlines. It gives them confidence and helps them overcome obstacles.
- Showcase articles written by the team: Once a team member successfully writes an article, make sure to share it with the company (and the world). People are more likely to read an article if it came from their teammate. And they are more likely to write the next article too.
Follow along as we continue to chase the goal of writing more as a company.
Here are our previous editions
By Poorani, Marketing at Cyces