Console Culture: Developer first

Console Culture: Developer first

Developer first means aiming to create a high-quality experience for developers as the Prime Directive for everything we do. It's one of our four cultural values.

Console’s mission is to help developers find the best tools.

Developers are an important group that make big decisions, yet they face an onslaught of marketing and sales combined with an unrelenting velocity of releases to keep up with. Our aim is to become the place developers go to find the best tools. The independent voice that developers trust to help them discover the best and most interesting tools.

The age of the developer is just getting started, but so is Console. One of the mistakes I made at my previous company was not being deliberate about the company culture. We had a lot of tactical "features", such as starting meetings dead on time, and running engineering 100% remotely, but the strategy was sometimes missing to inform how those cultural features developed.

The most famous company cultures are associated with documentation about them. Whether this is Netflix's well known culture deck or Amazon's Leadership Principles, the best companies have their core values codified in some form.

It doesn't have to be an elaborate essay, but investing time thinking about how you run your company pays off. This meant that as we got going with Console, we wanted to set out how we were going to run the company, initially just for ourselves, but also as a guide for when we started to hire a few more people.

Cultural values at Console

The worst cultures are the ones where the values are vaguely aspirational, rather than describing what actually happens. As Ben Horowitz has written, what you do is who you are - just because you write it down doesn't mean you will actually do it.

So when we considered the Console cultural values, we wanted them to reflect what we were actually already doing, rather than what we wanted to do. We also wanted to split the values from how we run the company. How you run a meeting is not a value. But the former should inform the latter.

We came up with four values:

  • Developer first.
  • Transparency.
  • Simplicity.
  • Considered discussion.

Developer first

Developer first means aiming to create a high-quality experience for developers as the Prime Directive for everything we do.

It feeds into decisions such as having RSS feeds for our website sections and how our newsletter selection criteria includes things like whether there is a self-service signup and how good the documentation is.

This also flows into all our other values: transparency (like the open-source hacker ethic), simplicity (like the Unix philosophy), and considered discussion (like RFCs), which we'll cover in the next three blog posts.

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