What You Say and What You Do
by Mike Mangino on November 20, 2018

As we build and grow HubTran, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the culture we’re trying to build. I’ve written about the HubTran values before. Obviously these values are part of our culture, but they aren’t the whole story. It’s one thing to talk about what kind of culture you want, it’s another thing to make it real.

I want to share an example from my past. Before HubTran, I ran a consulting company called Elevated Code. Elevated Code was a small company that focused on helping our customers build initial versions of their product. We took pride not only in our technical ability, but also our integrity. In the early 2010s, we were approached by a large retail company about helping them with a product. In many ways, it was a dream job. They were going to pay well and were well connected to help us find other business afterwards. This seemed like our lucky day. Until they described the product. This company wanted us to use build a facebook app that would quietly read the users browser history to see what websites they visited.

Although there was nothing illegal about this request, it didn’t feel right to me. One of my rules when taking work at Elevated Code was to only take work I would be associated with. This didn’t pass that test and we decided to turn down the work. While I had second thoughts about the payday we missed out on, I was proud of the decision to stand by our values. I was proud that we showed that we meant what we said when talking about integrity. It’s easy to say the words, it’s much harder to back them up when hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line. In the end, I was doubly glad we turned this retailer down. The project they pitched to us ended up making the news in the worst possible way.

As we think about culture and goals in HubTran, we are going through a similar process. It’s one thing to say we want a culture of ownership, but it’s another to put that into practice. If we want our developers to take ownership in their work, that needs to mean more than that they own the mistakes they make. We also need to empower them to decide what features are important and should be built. We need to listen when they say that feature development needs to be paused to deal with some support issues. It’s easy to talk about your values in the abstract, it’s much harder to live them every day.

Of course, we don’t always get it right. We all make wrong decisions and don’t act in the way we wished we had. When that happens, we practice one of our other values, continuous improvement. We admit we were wrong and work to do better in the future. It’s hard work, but so is everything worth doing.

Do you want to see us live our values at HubTran? We are hiring! When we make a job offer, we’ll give you full access to our team via Slack. You can see how we work with no filter. You can talk to the team and join us for any meeting you want. We want to show you that we’re doing our best to live our values, not just talking about them.