Writing > Talking

Writing > Talking*

At Bolt, we know that the best ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. We’re creating a culture where people can do their best critical thinking and use data to solve problems.

We believe that a culture of writing promotes systematic thought and reasoned arguments; while simultaneously fostering operational efficiency (avoiding meetings for meetings sake, not waiting to meet before making decisions) and a results-oriented mindset. It removes the influence of the loudest voices in the room, and creates a culture where teammates are eager to and can easily share and collaborate.

As a result, writing helps us to break down silos, escalate and resolve conflicts quickly, and work together to achieve our goals (even when others’ goals are not directly tied to our own). Ultimately, success at Bolt is not centered around individual victories, but by promoting the best ideas, working together to overcome obstacles, and then celebrating your team as they win alongside you.

In action, this means we:

  • Write out issues and proposals in depth to drive clarity of thought in strategic and tactical discussions.
  • Rely on data, logic, and the strength of ideas to make hard decisions, not influence or feelings.
  • Recognize that the best ideas can come from anyone and anywhere.
  • Encourage critical thinking at all levels of the organization.
  • Aim to simplify and be concise in our writing; we distill complex issues and ideas into manageable concepts.
  • Prep in advance of meetings to maximize the efficiency of in-person meeting time.
  • Do not gossip or finger point. Instead, we surface issues and propose solutions and work to resolve them openly.
  • Value diverse perspectives and opinions.
  • Are always open to being proven wrong.
  • Share knowledge and our writing (playbooks, proposals, etc.) freely.
  • Coordinate and collaborate freely in order to achieve outsized results.
  • Make ourselves a resource for others at the company.
  • Take others’ success just as seriously as our own.
  • Go all-hands-on-deck to solve unexpected challenges.
  • Celebrate as a team and not as individuals.

This does not mean we:

  • Avoid in-person interactions; some topics are better to discuss in person with documenting during and after.
  • Allow the process of writing to slow us from taking action; we should not endlessly cycle on an issue in writing, if a decision is not coming quickly that is a sign to meet in person.
  • Shift the buck; we don’t shift ownership of issues without a conversation (either in person or asynchronously).
  • Hide behind data and writing; that’s just the pre-work for in-person meetings.
  • Avoid judgement calls in times where there’s no clear right answer; see “Be 20% Wrong”.
  • Shun brainstorming exercises; we love brainstorming at the right time and place.
  • Always require data to make decisions; we value vision. We also value experimentation.
  • Create long exposés; we use common sense as to how to best record the information, and often that is short-form.
  • Leverage writing as an excuse for inaction; we always look to drive writing into action.
  • Prioritize the success of others ahead of our own.
  • Assume everything should be a collaborative effort.
  • Monopolize our team members’ time.
  • Excuse leaders’ failures by expecting the team to have stepped up.
  • Forget how our actions impact others at the company.

*Credit to Matt Mochary’s Playbook and Amazon’s Culture