How we work at June

“What you do is who you are”.

- Ben Horowitz -

Two building principles

  1. Focus on the essentials (⬆️ org level)
  2. Deliver small & frequent value (⬇️ team level)

Focus on the essentials

  • Timelines that take months, version numbers roadmaps that predict the perfect future
  • Functional specs scalability debates
  • Endless preference options
  • Proprietary data formats
  • The “need” to hire dozens of employees
  • Ask users with hypothetical questions, instead, we ask to complete tasks
  • Less meetings, less abstractions and less promises
  • To launch on time and on budget, we avoid throwing more time or money at a problem, instead, we scale back the scope
  • It’s better to make half a product than a half-assed product
  • “Just-in-time” thinking
  • Multi-tasking team members
  • An open culture that makes it easy to admit mistakes
  • Basic documentation makes clear what we do and includes people
  • Dead simple prototyping

Deliver small & frequent value

Source: “The nature of software development” — Ron Jeffries

🌅 Daily rituals

Over-communicate

  • Standups (synchronous): classic scrum standup. We love working together and having at least one face-to-face interaction each day.
  • Wiki (asynchronous): When a topic requires to be unpacked and needs to be filed — we’re adding a note to our Notion. If it can be shared without a note, we drop it in our chat directly.
  • Chat (synchronous): like many companies, we use Slack to organize topics and projects (#Success #Content #Talents-and-Hiring #New-website).
  1. Keep it simple: Over-communicating doesn’t mean communicating everything; it means sharing the right things effectively.
  2. Sync early and often: I’m constantly repeating the company’s vision, strategy, and goals. If you are unclear of a direction or strategy, sync early and often. Ask lots of follow-up questions, challenge each other, and arrive at the best possible idea.
  3. Surprises are ok: It’s impossible to live in a world without surprises or bad news. Whether it’s good news or bad news, don’t wait until the last minute to deliver it.

Listen to customers

  • We collect as much feedback as we can: Every day we talk with our customers. We’re using as many tools as we can for that: Intercom, Slack, Twitter, Linkedin DMs, and emails. Every team member is empowered to run user interviews.
  • We make feedback visible to everyone Customer feedback is a gold mine, but the problem is that they often get lost. To fix that we turn every feedback into a Slack message.
A day looks like this
  • We organize feedback: We aggregate feedback in three ways: All feedback, Top requests, Status (when a request is shipped, we update the status and users)
we’re using Coda to organize feedback
  • Non-customers requests: We keep a record of potential customer feedback, for when we’ll expand to them ⚓️

📆 Weekly rituals

We build as a team

  • Weekly planning: During YC W21, Michael Seibel gave us this example about the consequences of him and Justin Kan not having a clear planning process. To avoid that, each week, we run an intense planning session. Running this process altogether raises the question “Why?” we should work on X or Y.
  • Weekly kickoff: This one is pretty common, but you don’t see them much at larger organizations. Every Sunday, we share a note with our investors — we never missed one. We include Strategy, Key metrics, Member story, Highlight, Lowlight, and Culture. Our format is pretty close to weekly updates at Alan:
Here are all the weekly kickoff we sent to date
  • On-demand workshop: This helps to unpack meaty topics prior to the weekly planning. Typical topics cover: roadmap discussion, kickoff a new initiative, and improve a process.

We go to market, ALL the time

Startups often spend most of their resources developing their products.

By the time they realize they need to get more customers and try to ramp up their sales+marketing efforts, they’ve run out of money

- G.Weinberg, Traction -

🌖 Monthly rituals

  • 6 weeks check-in: every six weeks (a cycle), we sit down for 1.5 hours and reflect on our previous goals. We check the initiatives we pushed to reach these goals and discuss transparently whether they were successful or not. We take action based on this.
  • Monthly investor update: Similar to the weekly updates, we share transparently about the ups & downs of the past month. The monthly updates synthesize the topics covered in the weekly and include our runway. When we keep our runway visible, it reminds us that startups are by defaut dead.

Remember death every time, just like a samurai — it’s helpful for business.

  • Gaming nights: once a month, we meet and play online games. Currently our game podium is:
    1. Skribbl
    2. Gartic
    3. Krunker (hate this one, team keeps kicking my ass at it 😂)

🎆 Quarterly & yearly rituals

  • Roadmap: Our roadmap used to be fine-grained, but it rarely survived the pace at which we collected feedback and iterated. So we’ve changed our approach to Story Mapping.
  • Story Mapping. We plan by quarters, break down quarters into releases, and releases into topics. Story mapping helps us ensure we push coherent releases that we can market.
Some story mapping 🗺
  • Masterplan: As June grows, making sure that we are aligned has become increasingly challenging. Our master plan is composed of milestones at 90, 180 360, and 520 days. For each of these milestones, we list our initiatives on the product, go-to-market and sales, Team, and Revenue target.
  • OKR: Until recently, I assumed OKRs were for later-stage companies. I recently read a brilliant private paper from cargo.one on how to use OKR at Seed stage. We just got started with them!
  • Retreat: straightforward, on my to-do! :) Some of us have never met in person, this is crazy!! 😅

Conclusion

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

— Peter Drucker

If you are interested in crafting a unique working culture, you can check out our open positions here 💜

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Co-founder & CEO @ June (http://june.so) — Let’s bring back some magic to analytics 💫

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Enzo Avigo

Enzo Avigo

Co-founder & CEO @ June (http://june.so) — Let’s bring back some magic to analytics 💫