Zen Values

Below are our real values, the specific behaviors, and skills we care about most. The more these sound like you and describe people you want to work with, the more likely you will thrive at ZenShanti & BotBakery.

KINDNESS

We value caring for others. Helping others is a priority, even when it is not immediately related to the goals that you are trying to achieve. Similarly, you can rely on others for help and advice – in fact, you’re expected to do so.

AGGRESSIVE LEARNING

Our only strength and advantage over others at the moment, is knowledge+skill, not money, not brand, not power, nothing else at all.

NO HIERARCHY

We are trying to create an atmosphere where anybody’s opinion can be challenged. Any past decisions and guidelines are open to questioning as long as you act in accordance with them until they are changed. However, while a policy or decision is still in place, we all agree to commit to it.

TRANSPARENCY

Be open about as many things as possible. Directness​ is about being transparent with each other. We try to channel our inner Ben Horowitz by being both straightforward and kind, an uncommon cocktail of no-bullshit and no-asshole. FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS ABOUT YOUR WORK AND NOT ABOUT YOU AS A PERSON.

TEAMWORK

We are like a sports team. In Football – everyone runs hard(tackles opponents, falls, etc.) to eventually pass the ball to the striker to score the goal. In Cricket, the entire team is fielding and supporting with full energy while the bowler is in action. This is the same dynamic we bring to work.

DIVERSITY

​The team consists of people from different backgrounds and opinions. We work to make everyone feel welcome and to increase the participation of each team member.

INTEGRITY

We operate with integrity and a sense of fairness both to clients and to each other. With clients, we try to do our very best to produce world-class results. Our clients come to us because they trust us, and we repay that trust with exemplary performance. We’re not vendors, we’re experts. This is one of the most important values we have. Integrity breaches, be it towards clients or towards each other, are something we cannot allow to happen, and there’s a zero tolerance policy on this. Integrity breaches will lead to the termination of our relationship.

HOW WE WORK

COMMUNICATION

SAY THANKS

Recognize the people that helped you publicly. Demonstrating we care for people, provides an effective framework for challenging directly and delivering feedback. Give as much positive feedback as you can and do it in a public way and give negative feedback in the smallest setting possible. Feedback should be early, straight, objective and candid.

SAY PLEASE

One can’t say please enough. Think about people, how you would think aloud in their presence. Always be friendly and professional, never casual and formal.

SAY SORRY

​If you’ve made a mistake, apologize. Saying sorry is not a sign of weakness, but one of strength.

GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER

We use a lot of text-based communication and if you know the person behind the text, it will be easier to prevent conflicts. So we encourage people to get to know each other on a personal level through our tea breaks.

NO EGO

Don’t defend a point to win an argument or double-down on a mistake. You are not your work, you don’t have to defend your point. We have to search for the right answer together.

DONT USE AUTHORITY TO GET THINGS DONE

​Do not use “authority” or the name of another team member to get a colleague to help you or a client to listen to you. Establish the context and ask for whatever is needed because the work demands it, irrespective of hierarchy.

ACRONYMS SERIOUSLY SUCK

Before creating or adopting an acronym, please take a moment to consider if it helps or impedes communication. Most acronyms are pointless and only serve to create a class of people who bandy them about, to prove they are “in the know”, thus alienating others who do not, and who feel too embarrassed to ask, as Elon Musk says here.

ATTITUDE

MEASURE RESULTS NOT HOURS

We care about what you achieve; the code you shipped, the user you made happy, and the team member you helped. Do not compete by proclaiming how many hours you worked yesterday because we don’t want someone who took the afternoon off to feel like they did something wrong.
Instead, celebrate the achievements of yourself and your teammates. You don’t have to defend how you spend your day. We trust team members to do the right thing instead of having rigid rules.

SEE OTHERS SUCCEED

We are here to help each other achieve their true potential,
which is, incidentally, much more than any of us think is possible.

OWNERSHIP

We expect team members to complete tasks that they are assigned. Having a task means you are responsible for anticipating and solving problems. As an owner, you are responsible for overcoming challenges, not suppliers, or other team members. Take initiative and proactively inform stakeholders when there is something you might not be able to solve. Done means we can responsibly communicate done to all stakeholders with no stories. Either it’s done and there are notes OR it’s not done and there are stories. Essentially, no time for excuses. And finally, you shouldn’t need someone to give you a list of things to do every morning. If that’s happening, nobody is doing their jobs, and things need to be fixed.

SENSE OF URGENCY

At an exponentially scaling startup, time gained or lost has compounding effects. Try to get the results as fast as possible so the compounding of results can begin and we can focus on the next improvement.

EXISTENTIAL ISSUES

​Everyone hired here is relatively smart and will easily get a job elsewhere. Nobody’s parents are endorsing this decision to work here. In fact, elders in my family wanted me to continue working at Google. But, there is a child-like joy and thrill, in accomplishing and growing this business, with our own efforts and building the business to a multi-crore level by the end of this year. This business is what we are building! 12 months from now, the collective impact of our contributions is going to be something our elders will be proud of. However, some of us will transition as alumni and go on to do other things, which is great. RESPECT & UTILIZE the current moments with peers to build memories and learn/teach/influence forever.

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