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📣 The Future of Work is Async. Build it at Hoop.

What goes into defining how a new startup (at least ours!) actually operates.

Hoop is hiring Founding Engineers!

🎄 Happy (almost) Holidays! Hoop's private alpha is in full swing. Start making better decisions with your team, and join the Hoop alpha waitlist today.

📣 Some big news first: We’re excited to share that we’re hiring Founding Engineers. These first few engineers will make core architectural decisions, have an outsized impact cross functionally, and help develop our company culture. It’s an exciting opportunity for engineers who are passionate about helping teams be successful working asynchronously.

So, what goes into defining how a new startup (at least ours!) actually operates? Today, we thought it'd be fun for you to get a behind the scenes peek into how we’re bringing Hoop to life.

🌳 Defining Hoop’s Values…A Walk In The Woods

Last spring during our inaugural offsite, we set out for a hike. It was a rainy but beautiful day in Minnewaska State Park. Reveling in the nature around us, we discussed what was core to the business we were going to build. Without knowing exactly what the product would be or how it would all come together, we started by defining the values of the company.

Most startups don’t begin with a conversation around values, but maybe we could skip a lot of the drama in the headlines if people paid more attention to defining and living by their values at the outset. As we considered our set of company values, these were the core ideas that resonated with us:

  • A Virtuous Cycle - Could we build a culture that celebrated the individual in a way that they could feel fulfilled at work and outside of work? Could that fulfillment better the company as a whole?
  • Flexibility - Could we design processes and a culture that gave individuals the flexibility to work where, when and how they worked best?
  • Creativity - Could we design a culture that celebrated creativity and ingenuity in addition to excellence?
It's hard not to be inspired by views like these! (Minnewaska State Park)

Over time, these ideas evolved into a set of values. Here’s a brief version of our working values. We know these may change a bit over time, but the ideas are core to our company’s culture.  

  • Time is precious - A foundational respect for time in and out of work enables a virtuous cycle.
  • Excellence in craft - No mediocrity here. Be proud of doing the best work of your life.
  • Grounded in empathy - At its core, the best interactions are built on psychological safety which starts with empathy.
  • Intentionality drives outcomes - By being intentional about practices and interactions, we can drive the success of the company.

🚶🏽 Putting It Into Practice…Or Walking The Walk

Practices are ways to live the company values. They exist to make sure the company doesn't just talk the talk without walking the walk. In order to truly live up to our values, we’ve adopted these working practices:

  • Four day workweek - Plenty of research supports the benefits to both companies and employees that adopt a shorter workweek.
  • Flexibility - Choose your best hours. Work five shorter days, or four typical days.
  • Mostly asynchronous work - We adopt a model where approximately 80% of our work is done asynchronously, and 20% is done synchronously. Sync time is highly valued because it’s scarce. Monday through Thursday we have a couple of hours of collaboration time for meetings, feedback in chat, and burstiness.
  • Intentionality and autonomy - Extremely communicative and transparent. Built on psychological safety and assuming positive intent. Documentation and clarity so people aren’t stuck waiting on someone to move forward in their work.
Living the dream at an offsite in Chicago! (The Aviary)

💡 Living the Dream

We’ve been experimenting as a team of three with the practices and values above. We want to create a culture where there is no guilt associated with taking your kids to the dentist on a Tuesday morning. Where if your most creative hours are at night, you aren’t hampered by a prescriptive 9-5 schedule. Where you don’t feel the need to check Slack and email endlessly and can sign off to delve into the most creative flow you’ve felt in years.

It’s hard to shake old practices! But we also know that we have to live and breathe these ideas as founders, and set the example from the very beginning of how we work. Here’s how we’re doing it:

  • Stella reignited her love of tennis by taking a weekly class on Thursday mornings. She usually leaves the class with at least one critical insight for her work. For the first time in her life as a working mother, she has the room to cultivate a hobby.
  • Justin has discovered that the two hour tennis class he drives his son to on Sundays has become a creative outlet. Instead of driving back and forth, he finds a quiet spot nearby, puts on music to get in the flow, and gets more done during this time than many other times during the traditional workweek.
  • Brian feels way less stressed overall knowing he has the flexibility to work when he works best. He can spend mornings on writing projects when he feels most creative, and leave afternoons for meetings and less creative tasks.  And he has time in the afternoons when his ten year old son gets home to lose at chess and then take his daughters to gymnastics.

🛠 Building A Better Future

When you really think about it, the old way of working is not designed to produce the best outcomes. What is it designed for? Driving an hour to a building with a bunch of other humans who are distracting you all day, then driving an hour back home to feel stressed because you don’t have time to do anything else and then rinsing and repeating for every other day of your working life. No wonder everyone is burnt out! Taking these practices “remote” by recreating an office in Zoom is not the solution.

The solution is to be purpose driven and follow the research into best outcomes for teams. People with access to flexible, reduced workweeks with clear criteria for success perform at their best. Some in society might glamorize the hustle, but the reality is that the most successful and talented people want something completely different. In fact, recent surveys suggest that top employees are seeking out places that prioritize flexibility, health and well being.

Forging alliances in Philly, Hoop-Style

🤝 Join The Dream (Team!)

We’re excited to live this mostly async, remotely distributed reality as we hire new teammates and report back. Our guess is that, much like we discovered a huge creative unlock from this new way of working, we will all benefit from a huge creative unlock by rediscovering our lives.

The first step is hiring Founding Engineers, so here's the Job Description again...please share! And join Hoop's private alpha for better decisions faster for your team.

Let's fix the way we work.

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