Many companies have corporate values that they have written on a plaque or on a sheet in the CEOs filing cabinet. Meeting Islam at Twitter I got the rare feeling that the company’s bold and idealistic values were and ever present part the work environment. Twitter, was founded in 2006 in San Francisco with the goal:
“To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers”.
Twitter has 320 Million users from which 80% are active on the mobile app. They have 4,300 employees around the world and 79% of the accounts are outside the US. Many of them are not just users anymore, they are now citizen reporters. People in different countries who can use a public space to spread information in 140 characters per tweet.
Twitter has 10 core values. After my talk with Islam, I think that two stood out for me.
Defend and respect the user’s voice
Twitter has been used around the world to give megaphones to those that previously did not have a voice, in a large part helping to level the playing field for the marginalized. Twitter was a main tool used to communicate how the Arab Spring was evolving in real time during 2011; When the Airways plane crashed in the Hudson river in New York 2011, someone tweeted the news before traditional media. I like thinking about Twitter as a social tool where people are free to express their opinions and share it with everyone. Giving the right to people to express their thoughts but also giving the right to other users to contribute to spread the information they think it is more relevant for themselves. I got the feeling that the employees at twitter strongly believe in this goal and there is a sense of purpose among colleagues. It was inspiring.
Another maybe less obvious value of Twitter is to simplify. This can easily been seen in how they require thoughts to be shared in so few words but it also seems to be a part of every aspect of their company. Business and engineering lenses are seam through a lens of simplification which I think help leads to a more focused and less distracted workplace. I also got the sense from Islam that this value extended beyond work. Islam shared how he had become more motivated to simplify his personal life, deciding to live with less things and be focused on what really mattered to him rather than trying to acquire a large amount of accessories. I feel that in this world, sometimes oversaturated with social pressures, a little simplification is very refreshing.
When I left the Twitter HQ building and walked along downtown San Francisco streets I was left feeling impressed and inspired. I think I would enjoy a Twitter style work culture. I think company values to improve the greater world make work more meaningful. I think the focus that comes from simplification would add to my job satisfaction. What do you think? Would you like to work at a company with a mission or does that not matter to you? Do you think simplification is an important value or would you prefer a workplace with more complexity? Please share your thoughts below, I am super curious to hear your side of these topics. And do not forget to answer the poll bellow for future posts!