Goals, lifestyle, and workplace innovation
The following values and ideas are the foundation of what we do and what we want to achieve.
Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person is fully immersed in an activity and has a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of that activity. We believe that creative people working together in flow can and will make the web and the world a better place.
We like being around people. This isn’t exactly a business principle but it is how we want to live; we want to be around people, learn from them, laugh with them, and, hopefully, make a difference in their lives. For Zendy Labs, this means having physical locations where employees can work together as well as maintaining an environment conducive to flow. A life lived alone isn’t worth living. We want employees to work with colleagues — not just next to them — and we want them to have the time and freedom to enjoy their family and friends.
Zendy sells happiness — to both staff and clients. For employees, this is achieved through environment, interaction, and flow. For clients, this is done by removing technology hurdles and giving them peace of mind.
Do your work and then let go. That’s what Lao Tzu wrote in Tao Te Ching, his book on the art of living, over 2,500 years ago. It seems that work-related stress has been around for a while! We want Zendy to be a business that allows employees to do their work, then let go. The keys to this are schedule, teamwork, and definition.
“Jolu debugged and I watched over his shoulder. This used to be called ‘extreme programming,’ which was a little embarrassing. Now we just call it ‘programming.’ Two people are much better at spotting bugs than one.”
This is what Cory Doctorow wrote in Little Brother (great read, btw!) and we agree. Not only are problems easier to solve with two people, but it removes the burden of sole responsibility off everyone; it makes it easier to let go of work.
Working 9 to 5, five days a week, makes no sense to me. Zendy teams will be at the office only 4 days per week, but for 10 hours per day. The company will provide lunch and snacks. Every employee will be given the tools and opportunity get in flow, to do their work, then let go and enjoy their 3 days off.
All tasks will be clear and defined, without room for scope creep. Every team member will start knowing what is expected of them and when.
The pillars of true motivation are autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
Once per month, employees can take a whole day (10 hours) to work on whatever they want, including brand new projects or experimental ones should they choose to. The only restriction is that they have to make a presentation of their work to the other employees first thing in the morning on the next business day.
Once per month, employees can take a whole day (10 hours) to learn something new. It can be a new technology, a new technique, a new skill. They can learn on their own (well, as a team of two, of course), go to a class, or to a seminar.
We believe that the company’s purpose should be to help employees feel good, feel motivated about what they do. If they want to do more, Zendy will make its offices and equipement available to employees for volunteer work on off days. Employees could run a programming club or offer free computer art classes, for example.
Technical standards and common tools will be important for the business. Since all employees will work in teams, they need to share some basic technical knowledge about their craft and the tools of the trade. More importantly, technical standards will enable a company culture to reinforces the idea that work is only worthwhile if it enables the employees’ ideal lifestyles.
What is the ideal lifestyle? It’s different for everyone, but we see a company that enables employees to meet fascinating people, in person, at home and all over the world. Ultimately, we see Zendy pushing the dynamic of people, life, work, and how they interact to new heights. Standards combined with constant teamwork faciliate interchangeability. This means that employees can be replaced almost seemlessly, which is great for the business, but the real takeaway is for the employees. When Zendy will have offices all around the world, employees will be able — heck, encouraged — to travel to other cities and countries and work in a different office. It could be for just a few weeks or for months at a time — whatever fits the employee’s lifestyle. At that point, the business will have transcended its goal of bringing people together and promoting meaningful life experiments. It will provide its employees with a platform to travel the world, meet new and fascinating people face-to-face, and work on rewarding projects. All of that within a structure that allows employees to do their work, then let go and enjoy life to its fullest.
We believe in fair yearly compensation, not hourly wage. The goal of any project is completion, not logging hours.
How we got started
The workplace is the main reason I started Zendy Labs. I have always felt that we, as a society, have unrealistic expectations about worker productivity. I believe that high expectations of productivity are important, but I also believe that most workers — especially cerebral, creative types like us in the IT industry — are hamstrung by their work environment. I think we can do better (and a lot of companies are already changing the workplace paradigm). This my vision for a more productive, more humane way to work and live and it is the driving force behind Zendy Labs.
– Yacine Merzouk, founder and CEO