Engages with Community
Community is at the center of two of our 5 core beliefs as a company:
- We are a company in service of a community in service of a movement.
- We build building blocks for builders.
Our open source community is our most important asset, above even our protocol and products. As a central part of the dweb movement, we believe in open, collaborative, and composale development. We’ve seen firsthand how rapidly a strong and engaged community can innovate, far outpacing what a single team can do itself.
Everyone on the team spends time with the community, we regularly sponsor projects or hire from the community, and everything we build is designed with the community in mind. We regularly host community calls, work in the open in Discord, and routinely host hackathons and other events.
Committed to Personal Growth
Constant learning is baked into our culture and calendar.
We help each other grow personally and professionally every week, anchored by Feedback Fridays. We each have 2-3 core personal goals at any given time, and every Friday we share open and honest feedback on what we’ve seen from our teammates – we aim for 1 ‘Plus’ (good work) and 1 Delta (way to improve) per person each week.
There is no hierarchy, no judgement, and no evaluation. This session is purely about helping each other constantly improve and maintaining a team culture focused on growth rather than ego.
Everyone on the team has budget each year for learning and education, as well as for travel to conferences, engaging with the community, and building leadership in a domain.
Own the impact from day 1.
Our first core team principle, we expect every team member to “own the impact” and give them the respect and freedom to do so. Ownership at 3Box Labs is not just about executing against a task or project; it’s about responsibility for making sure that work realizes its full potential impact. Engineers drive much of our product thinking and prioritization, and no part of a project lifecycle – from ideation to testing to marketing – is off-limits. We don’t have toes to step on.
We each are responsible for changing priorities, rethinking scope, involving others on the team or community, soliciting help, or whatever else is needed to realize the impact of our work. This relies on strong trust across the team, which is built on constant attention to quality and intentional communication.
Be the first to apply brand new techniques and research.
We work with the best researchers, labs, and development teams in the world, and are often the first to apply new breakthroughs to a developer-ready product. We are built on cutting edge distributed technologies: IPFS, IPLD, LibP2P, DIDs, and blockchains. One critical role we play is to take cutting-edge technology and make it useful and usable for other developers.
We’ve built breakthrough innovations on top of this. Ceramic’s stream-processing design is the first to offer scalability through local-first consensus, flexibility through StreamType validation, and cross-network support through DID-based authentication.
We don’t require any particular experience of our engineers. Very few have worked with the tech we have, and it’s our pleasure to help new teammates get up to speed, learn, and become experts in their own right over time.
Open Source Contributor
We are creating an open web, built on open source.
Our team and open-source products are supporting a world-class developer experience and the Web3 movement. We also collaborate closely with the top teams in the space, and contribute regularly to other open-source projects.
Long-term, we’ll move governance of Ceramic Network entirely to our community. We are building the foundations for that now, with a CIP (Ceramic Improvement Proposal) process and a commitment to work with our ecosystem contributors and emerging community leaders.
Open source is at the heart of everything we do. Our groundbreaking decentralized stream processing network, our open identity framework, and our developer SDKs are all permissive and open.
Fosters Psychological Safety
Mistakes and disagreements are celebrated – literally, every 2 weeks.
In each retro a team member claims the “Kintsugi Cup,” an award that lets teammates share a time they made a meaningful mistake and grew from it. It’s a time to share our growth with the team, and to reinforce across the team that we all make mistakes and we are stronger for it. As often as not, a founder claims the cup with their own misstep. Alongside Feedback Fridays, this helps constantly reinforce that we all have flaws and are working to improve all the time, and prevents doubts or negative feelings from festering.
“There's a real sense that everyone's opinion matters and that anyone can share their ideas without judgement or fear,” says Spencer Brody, one of our engineers who has spent time at Google and MongoDB. The team balances a sense of individual ownership with a knowledge that the entire team is standing by to help collectively improve everything we do. Team members of all levels regularly share incomplete ideas with the rest of the team because the culture is one that assumes good intent.
In our “Wednesday Wonderings” we have bi-weekly discussions on inherently difficult and disagreeable topics – for example, "what is our responsibility for moderating dangerous content on our decentralized network?" These conversations allow us to share our values, beliefs, and ideas – and personal backgrounds – in an understanding setting. There's no expectation or even possibility that we will all reach agreement or consensus. Rather, it helps us strengthen our commitment to a shared understanding of our differing perspectives and experiences.
Team is Diverse
Nothing will impact our success more deeply than building a diverse team.
The challenges we face are incredibly complex and it will take people with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to solve them. Our technology impacts how information and identities are controlled online and only by having different viewpoints can we avoid blind spots and build the strongest products possible.
Currently, we span the U.S. and Europe, though we’ve lived in dozens of different countries (and even on a sailboat). Team members have founded tech startups, written books, authored patents, created Ethereum standards, advised F100 CEOs, and more. Hobbies and passions also include everything from music (one of us is in an indie band) to ju-jitsu and meditation (our CTO, Joel, has meditated daily for 8 years).
Still, we recognize there’s room for improvement and our current team isn’t yet representative of the global population we aim to build for. That’s why we’ve openly shared our commitment and the steps we’re taking to build a more diverse and inclusive team, pipeline, and community. We welcome your input!
Strive for constant input from our community, our teammates, and ourselves.
Something that separates great teams from others is an ability to honestly confront reality, rather than see the world as we – with our own biases and hopes – want it to look. One of our core principles is “Be honest, especially when it’s hard, especially with ourselves.” This is especially important in emerging tech, as we have to ensure a careful balance between serving our customers today and building for the technology of tomorrow.
Continuous feedback is apparent on so many dimensions on our team. Engineers get constant peer feedback through spec and code reviews, and bi-weekly sessions to dive into deeper long-term topics in a collaborative, workshopping setting. Feedback Fridays give us each a chance to get feedback from our teammates to keep improving ourselves. Bi-weekly community calls are focused on feedback from the community, and one of the most common questions we ask even our very happiest developers is “what could have been better?” We are constantly seeking their feedback and input.