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“How my team at Lightcone sometimes gets stuff done” by jacobjacob

LessWrong (Curated)

Audio version of the posts shared in the LessWrong Curated newsletter.




Disclaimer: I originally wrote this as a private doc for the Lightcone team. I then showed it to John and he said he would pay me to post it here. That sounded awfully compelling. However, I wanted to note that I’m an early founder who hasn't built anything truly great yet. I’m writing this doc because as Lightcone is growing, I have to take a stance on these questions. I need to design our org to handle more people. Still, I haven’t seen the results long-term, and who knows if this is good advice. Don’t overinterpret this. 

Suppose you went up on stage in front of a company you founded, that now had grown to 100, or 1000, 10 000+ people. You were going to give a talk about your company values. You can say things like “We care about moving fast, taking responsibility, and being creative” -- but I expect these words would mostly fall flat. At the end of the day, the path the water takes down the hill is determined by the shape of the territory, not the sound the water makes as it swooshes by. To manage that many people, it seems to me you need clear, concrete instructions. What are those? What are things you could write down on a piece of paper and pass along your chain of command, such that if at the end people go ahead and just implement them, without asking what you meant, they would still preserve some chunk of what makes your org work?