Preferred Networks is a young, yet rapidly growing company. As more new employees joined, it became apparent that we should define a common set of principles for our daily decision-making; in other words,
We should explain not only what PFN should do and should not do,
but also who we are and what we consider important.
In late April 2018, we had a week-long activity called “PFN Values Week” (Apr.23 – Apr.27) to discuss our values. The discussions were designed so that every one of our ~140 employees could actively participate and contribute to the outcome. The discussions were in three formats: 1) small group face-to-face discussions, 2) online discussions via dedicated Slack channels, and 3) brown-bag lunch discussions. The face-to-face discussions were mandatory and every employee was asked to attend one of these hour-long meetings. The other two were optional.
After a week of discussions (and some modifications on wording afterwards), we came up with the following four statements as our new code of conduct, or “PFN Values”.
Obviously, these are not the only things we value – there are other fundamental norms that we must follow as a good citizen of the society, such as following our conscience and common senses (e.g., no telling lies), fulfilling the company’s basic roles (e.g. helping our customers’ success), etc. We are all aware of them. But these four PFN values are what make us different. And we are proud of them.
PFN’s organizational culture is motivation-driven. Being motivated means we are serious about the output of our work. It also means teamwork, because everybody in PFN wants to contribute in one way or another. This culture is the key to enable an extremely flat, flexible, and high-performance organization.
Everybody at PFN strives to learn. We are in a very high-velocity industry – learning is the only way to continuously adapt and remain cutting edge. We do not stick to one idea, one technology, or one domain. Software engineers at PFN are willing to take challenges on hardware, hardware researchers are happy to switch their fields to HCI design, and so on. This results in a truly learning organization with a diverse background.
At the core, PFN is a technology company. We keep challenging ourselves, and to do so we attract the best people. At the same time, we understand that we cannot do everything by ourselves. We know there are things that we do not know (“known unknowns”), and respect diverse ideas from diverse people.
With our technology, PFN will change the world – by providing new software and hardware, by creating new services and transforming businesses, and by making new markets – for the better future. Our role in the society here is that PFN does do things that only PFN can do. It is the raison d’être of PFN.