Yesterday Tobi posted a tweetstorm that generated a lot of attention in the tech press. It addressed the “how hard should we work” debate, which is just another example of smart people collectively debating nonsense. Everyone is different and every situation is different. It makes no sense to attempt even a singular approach. I love hearing stories of people who hustled hard and achieved something they thought wasn’t possible. I also love stories that highlight the power of consistent, balanced effort over time.

But the Shopify story was the more interesting part of the thread. I took a few things away from it:

The skill of the company is the sum of the individuals skills and context. “Company” is purely a collective term.

This rings very true. The job of leaders is to draw the line between an individual and the impact they are trying to see in this world. We often call that line a ‘company’ but that word itself is an abstraction.

It’s my belief that companies can only become better by the individuals in the company getting better.

The best companies behave as environments of continual growth and evolution. I like the analogy of a company as a learning community that generates knowledge and profits. I’ve been lucky enough to work in places that have given me an environment to grow. It’s this commitment to individual growth that seperates the good from the great.

Its all about people. Treating everyone with dignity and not falling into the fallacies and trappings of some orthodoxy. Don’t do things the way people with agenda tell you to.

This is especially true these days. Mental models, frameworks and ideologies are useful simplifications but there’s no way around the hard work of listening, understanding your unique needs, and building towards those. It also supports the company system model that I’ve been using the last few years.