Our Manifesto

Our Vision

Our products and services will be:

  • a staple of data practitioners for creating knowledge from data;
  • renowned for helping users have aha-moments and innovate, in particular, by enabling freedom of exploration and experimentation with data, orchestrating cognitive exaptation, and facilitating unexpected collaborations; and
  • a vibrant ecosystem for data practitioners to market their code, data, and expertise in such a way that working on passion projects need not be separate from earning a living.

Ben Waber of the MIT Media Lab said that “[t]he biggest driver of performance in complex industries in serendipitous interaction.” We will make that observation obsolete.

Achieving and maintaining the vision will constantly involve new challenges. There will always be a next step. We organize our business, and will reorganize it from time to time, around the evolving process of achieving the vision.

Exaptive’s vision is ambitious. But by seeking to have a big impact we will have one, in the end and along the way.

The Plan

We begin by facilitating innovation in interdisciplinary communities trying to solve complex problems with the Cognitive City.

As a pillar of facilitating innovation, those communities will need to nimbly analyze data, for which we will provide a rapid data application development platform, the Studio.

We will ultimately have a community of researchers and technologists who nevertheless contribute intelligence and creativity to each other’s work, in part by paying for reusable data application parts in the Xap Store.

Our Culture

Equally important to pursuing our vision, we strive to relate to each other in a way that makes Exaptive a positive influence in our lives. We have a special opportunity to create a society with our coworkers, one that represents the best of ourselves. By being our best selves we build the best products.

Exaptive is a company that relishes depth and breadth of personality. Exaptive will be a place where we can come to work as a whole person, where our full life experience is recognized and appreciated. Just as innovation is facilitated by diverse ideas, we are at our best when we can be as multi-faceted as our spirit compels us.

We aspire for everyone to understand their role and why it matters. We enjoy being challenged. We like kindness.

We relish spirited, respectful disagreement. We recognize each other’s hard work, talent, and sacrifices. Our successes and failures are collective.

We err on the side of transparency and communication. When we don’t share something, it’s because we are respecting the law or others’ privacy. Sometimes we only share something passively to protect each other’s need to focus.

The purpose of process is to minimize ambiguity, maximize the flow of expertise, and to clear a path for getting things done. If process limits productivity and creativity, the process is failing. No process is sacred.

Our Jobs, Our Careers

A job at Exaptive will provide professional development and personal satisfaction, as well as compensation. People do better when they are working on something they want to work on.

Each of us will be growing professionally and personally frequently, if not always. Learning new things, being challenged, and being outside our comfort zone is a part of working at Exaptive. Those who value security more than growth probably won’t be satisfied working here.

There will be times we do things we don’t enjoy on behalf of the team. We strive to make that worth it, because of our belief in the larger endeavor.

Our Expectations of Each Other

We will strive to maintain the highest possible standards for ourselves and each other, including new hires.

We expect each other to be effective, to have a sense of ownership, and to be looking for ways to get things done.

We expect each other to have good judgment. Most decisions will involve trade-offs. We take smart risks and question the norm periodically.

We expect each other to be adaptable and curious. We are life-long learners.

We expect each other to be remarkable. We hire people who are smarter in some respect than we already are.

We expect each other to be good teammates. We expect to have each other’s backs and to disagree plainly, in the spirit of mutual respect. We celebrate our collective wins. We are mindful of ego.

We expect each other to communicate early and often, and we expect each other to be available and to listen. We strive to have our views known and dealt with.

We expect each other to be all of these things in some proportion. We believe in the power of networks of people and ideas. We do not value brilliant jerks.

Our Humanity

Creating something new is hard. We will fall short of our ideals. The company will strive to stick with team members through a bad patch, and we offer the same to the company, that we stick with it through a bad patch.

This Document

We write this down so that in difficult moments we can make decisions in light of our principles and aspirations. Our principals will change. Our culture will evolve. This is a living document.

As is the case with the innovation we seek to facilitate, this document is not the product of a lone thinker. It is the result of collaboration by Exaptive team members and inspiration from the work of other companies.

We invite all team members to contribute. If you have thoughts please share them.