Tao of Linden
Vision and Mission
To connect us all to an online world that improves the human condition.
The problems we face in creating Second Life are usually larger than one person can solve, and solving them together is one of the great strengths we have as a company. We will succeed only if we collaborate with each other extensively and well. This means helping others reach their goals, asking for help and input often, and being easy to work with. Create teams as necessary to solve specific problems, and support your teammates. Remember that being open and honest is essential, but is only the threshold requirement - great collaborative work requires intuitive compassion and support.
Your Choice is Your Responsibility
There's a dual meaning here.
Most companies tell you what to do. Then they make you accountable to the person who told you what to do, not to yourself. We don't think this gets the best long-term results with a truly ambitious project like Second Life. At Linden Lab, you are expected to choose your own work, you have to decide how you can best move the company forward. This isn't always easy, but it can be very rewarding for you and it is a huge win for the company. This doesn't mean that you can't ask someone else what to do - it means that you are responsible for choosing who to listen to! You are responsible for listening well and broadly enough to choose wisely.
And once you have chosen, you are responsible for executing well to making your choices work. You must understand that other people now rely on you for single-minded execution, and it is time to shut out the noise and work without distraction. Sometimes you will fail, and in those cases it is very important to fail fast and fail publicly - that is how we learn and iterate and ultimately win.
Be Transparent and Open
There are many ways to emphasize responsibility, accountability, communication and trust. We believe that the one key principle that best supports all of these values is transparency. As much as possible, tell everyone what you are doing, all the time. This transparency makes us responsible to our peers, makes us accountable to our own statements, and replaces the need for management with individual responsibility. Over time, it creates and reinforces trust. Be willing to share ideas before you feel they are ‘baked’. Report on your own progress frequently and to everyone.
Make Weekly Progress
We believe that every person should make specific, visible individual contributions that moves the company forward every week. Projects must be broken down into measurable tasks so that making weekly progress is possible. This is a principle that almost no one believes is true when they first hear it, yet everyone who keeps to this principle over the course of several months is stunned by the amount of progress made during that time. Set weekly goals and report progress to everyone. Regardless how big what you are working on may be, you can always break it down this way. Give it a try.
Never act to advance your own interests or someone else's interests at the expense of the interests of the company. This is the one principle, outside of violations of law, for which violation will likely result in immediate termination.
Might Makes Right
Just kidding – wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention. Lots of things could be said here: Have a sense of humor. Have a sense of humility. Have fun. Call out inconsistency in principles when you see it. Don’t let a staid form and function become routine and boilerplate. Which leads to our last principle . . .
Do It With Style
It’s not enough that we are changing the world. It’s not enough that Second Life is incredibly complex and our vision is vast and shifting. We’re not just going to succeed, we’re going to do it with style. As with life, the journey matters as much as the destination. That means a lot of different things, and a lot of what it means can’t be captured in words alone. Find out by talking to your colleagues, by living the principles above, and by exploring Second Life.