Summary

All parts of your company impact the design of your product. Consider how your internal culture, practices, and ethos, lead to the decisions and environments which affect what you make. Consider aspect such as leadership, recruitment, corporate culture, and investor relationships. Given their impact on how you operate, it is important to also include these values and principles across other parts of your organisation.

Example of this Principle in Action

Basis of this Principle

These principles can and should be practiced across all areas of the company; from leadership, design and diversity, all the way to investment. Primarily, it is important to be self-aware of the company and its background. Often the mismatch between those who use a product and those who create a product is significant — Anil Dash pins this on internet.org’s failure. Many start-ups emerge from a situation of privilege, where founders have access to early ‘friend and family’ rounds of funding, or are privileged with connections established through family and education. Therefore, it is imperative to prioritise diversity within organisations in order to make more engaged and representative decisions. Beyond this, Irene Au suggests focussing on leadership, as clear and mindful leadership has an effect across the company. Giving up attachment and ego-based afflictions allow difficult decisions to be made, regardless on their outcome on the individual. For example, Steve Jobs cut the product line of Apple from 350 products to 10 after returning to Apple, which at the time was viewed as an extremely unpopular choice. In a similar vein, a visible progression can be seen with Evan Williams and Blogger, Twitter and Medium as a result of his maturing mindfulness practice.

On the level of design, ego can play a similar role. Designers may be tempted to embed unnecessary features because they can, rather than there being a need for them. If the design team is able to move beyond personal ego and develop empathy, they will be able to develop products that cater to a user’s real needs. It is also important to recognise the impact that different ‘types of money’ can have on your goal and to look for the ‘right kind of money’. Being backed by a group of investors who are solely concerned about the bottom line will result in the company being structured to such values. Likewise, a group of investors that care about your core mission will allow a company to make empowered decisions.