A quick guide to the On Deck Operating Principles.
Much of your fulfillment and success at On Deck will be determined by the extent to which the values of the people and the organization align with your own.
What follows is our best attempt to share an honest description of our culture today: things that we cannot imagine changing at On Deck for the next two-three years.
We hope you find this useful in deciding whether On Deck is the kind of place you’d like to spend your time.
As you read through, ask yourself: is the following true for each principle?
“I believe that striving to do this will make our work better, and ultimately help us succeed”
“I want you to act this way with me when you are working with me"
“When I lose sight of these values, please remind me. I will do the same for you”
On Deck Operating Principles
On Deck got its start by bringing people together over dinner. The spaces were cozy and the conversation was enriching. People came to talk to and learn from each other. Strangers quickly became friends. Everyone spoke colloquially and with an immediate and deep respect for one another.
We want to maintain this spirit in all of our work at On Deck. We want to help our community members to experience it too. This feeling is good for us and it’s good for business. People are unreasonably loyal to the things and people that give them meaning, purpose, and connection in their lives.
We see people at a vulnerable time in their lives. Our members rely on us to usher them through major career changes, help them prioritize personal growth, and nurture new skills. When they give us their time, their money, their data, their attention, their feedback, their anything, we cannot forget how precious that is. Without the trust of our users, there is no On Deck. Do whatever it takes to earn and guard member trust.
We’re all here to advance the mission of On Deck. We aspire to build infrastructure that accelerates human progress. That’s a tall order. If we execute well, the people at On Deck the company will be an ever-shrinking proportion of our overall community. Beyond that, the surface area of our work is enormous; whether it’s a blog post we write, a tweet a member shares, or a 1:1 conversation between potential cofounders that met at OD, a best practice a Head of Talent brings back to her team, OD’s fingerprints will be on a lot of material (much of which we won’t be able to control). We are simultaneously humbled and motivated by this reality.
A flywheel is a powerful thing because value compounds (for our members and for us). On Deck’s past, present, and future success will be determined by how well we can identify and execute on opportunities to create the flywheels that compound value for our members. We’ll always prioritize work that springs naturally from our core and can eventually reinforce it. What gets us *really excited* looking into the future is that the more success we have with programs and cohorts, the stronger and broader our core is, and the more directions we can branch out in.
We prioritize speed (though *never* at the expense of our members' trust). We have the wind at our backs big time right now and we’re keeping our foot on the gas (see: win through flywheels). When we’re sprinting, we know where we’re going and why; motion is not the same as progress. We are relentlessly focused on our mission, driving towards outcomes, and shipping stuff people genuinely love.
Help others sprint, too. Unblock others as fast as you can. Be responsive. Be generous with useful information. Share resources, tools, and tips that are likely to accelerate someone else’s progress.
We bring incredibly talented, ambitious, thoughtful people to our team. We trust each other to execute well and do what’s best for On Deck. We preserve this belief by being excellent partners in our work with each other. When someone asks you to do something, do a great job. When you ask someone to do something, be crisp with your request. It’ll make the work move forward more efficiently and it will create stronger bonds between teammates.
We’re a company of entrepreneurially-minded, bright, results-oriented people. Make sure you know what work you are responsible for and take it to completion. Your work is your highest priority. Your teammates, and the On Deck community, are depending on you to own your outcomes and ship amazing things.
Be a force for your teammates taking ownership over their work by giving them the context and encouragement they need to make decisions and take action on their work.
On Deck is on a mission to create change. We are a home for people that want to bring newness into their lives (skills, people, ideas, etc.) and bring newness into the lives of others (products, services, business models, etc.). On Deck aspires to change traditional models of learning, building, and connecting. If we want to create that change and help others create change, we need to embrace it ourselves in the work we do together.
Our team genuinely wants everyone around them to have a good day. We aspire for On Deck to be a place where respect, appreciation, and recognition flow freely. Outside of being kind and ridiculously helpful, OD team members go out of their way to do special things for each other, the community, and the company. Gratitude gets shared through a megaphone around here. When someone does something great, we love to celebrate it (internally, and externally).
We’re going to disagree with each other on many things. Our community members are going to disagree on stuff (with us and with each other). Disagreement is a healthy part of having a culture of open discourse. When you disagree, do it with warmth. Protect these precious spaces (our company, our community) by treating everyone with respect, empathy, and care. Disagreements don’t have to create divisions. When they’re handled with warmth, they can bring us together.