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From the founders' desk

Lindsay Liu & Vika Kovalchuk Zamparelli
November 16, 2021
From the founders' desk

A founding letter from Lindsay & Vika, co-founders at Super.

This really happened. On day 1 of our first product offsite, we opened a fortune cookie that said:

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.”

Cheesy (and possibly plagiarized)? Yes. Accurate? Also yes.

Coming out of dozens of stakeholder interviews, detailed landscape audits, and firsthand experience, we are even more confident that there is a big need for a product like Super. Creating the operating system for buildings can transform how buildings are maintained, improved, lived in, bought, sold, and rented.

But nailing our product idea is not all we need to succeed. Between the two of us, we have direct experience working at startups, agencies, and Fortune 500 companies to know that a good idea—or being first to market or even being the biggest incumbent—is not always enough to guarantee sustained success. Inspiration struck, but it’s how we persevere that will define us.

Not to overanalyze a fortune cookie/overused business quote… but that 99% perspiration isn’t just about the product itself. To sustainably grow and scale a business, we are distinctly aware that we have to be intentional about the company we are building: setting norms early for how we work, how we hire, and how we collaborate. Regardless of the stage of the company, when a company’s organizational values amount to hustle culture or are pushed off for later, there’s a palpable cost to the business across overhead, recruiting and retention, and product velocity.

So even before we held our first dedicated product working session, one of our earliest workshops as founders was a discussion about the type of organization we are building. That’s how much it matters to us, personally, but also how much we believe this clarity will positively benefit the company.

Why? Because…

  • A diverse, inclusive team will lead to a better product. We believe in culture adds, not culture fits. We are making DEI a priority from day one. We will always embrace the diversity within our team and encourage candidates from underrepresented backgrounds to apply.
  • It takes structure to achieve a truly flexible work environment. For all the talk about remote work out there, we know that being able to go run an errand, snag that 3pm dentist appointment, or whatever it is you need doesn’t happen without norms to support it. For us, that structure includes a four-day work week (with an on-call rotation to manage any fires) and a purposeful meeting blueprint (meetings must start with a goal and wrap with a decision point or crisp next steps). Valuing one another’s time is one of the best ways we can be focused and effective.
  • A company that recognizes work is not your life is better able to retain talent and keep people focused. While we want you to be productive and focused when you are at work, the “at any cost” mentality is not what we ever want to see at Super—we think it means that leadership has failed to prioritize or provide the necessary resources. While there will be times we’ll all have to pull a little harder as a team, these moments should bethe exception, not the rule. Ensuring this does not become a pattern is our responsibility as founders. Similarly, we don’t applaud when people don’t take vacation. Instead we require vacation be taken throughout the year. Having a sustainable work/life balance is at our core.
  • Output, not hours, is the metric that matters. Vanity metrics are a distraction, waste time, and are quite frankly, disingenuous. We are striving to create real value for the business and our users, and in order to take accurate stock of how we are performing, we need transparency and accountability—which should be familiar because those are also core principles of our product. We practice “show, don’t tell” and are rigorous around how we measure results.
  • Clear operational values lead to better communication and collaboration. When we're moving quickly together, there should be no doubt about expectations on how we operate and behave. We encourage debate and open, transparent communication. But we have a zero tolerance policy for team members who are not able to treat others with respect, dignity, and empathy— including when times get tough. We do not tolerate discrimination or the dismissal of divergent perspectives.

These are a few of the considerations that went into defining our company’s values, which we have outlined in our four core company values: (1) put people first, (2) value one another’s time, (3) practice transparency, (4) embrace diversity.

We’re excited to build and grow a new type of organization. While our company is new, we’re not starting from scratch. Our past learnings and insights (the good and the bad) are part of informing and shaping a company we—and our future colleagues and customers—can be proud of. We acknowledge we won’t get everything right every time, so along the way we promise to continue to reevaluate, accept feedback and revise.

If this is the type of company you'd like to be part of building, take a look at our open roles. We are hiring and growing our team.

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