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Twitch chief executive Emmett Shear has issued a set of values about being inclusive at the livestreaming company.
The timing of the document, which is not being shared publicly in a release, comes at a time after Twitch faced a lot of bad publicity around racist slurs hurled at a star player of Blizzard’s Hearthstone game during a livestreamed event.
The values, however, are not just about being an inclusive company. Rather, they focus on what makes Twitch unique and how it encourages its people to move fast, make their own decisions, and do what’s right for the company.
In the document, Shear said, “These values exist to document and communicate how we work at Twitch, and more importantly how we want to work at Twitch. They represent what we think is different, or even unique, to Twitch.”
Shear encourages people to seek out different perspectives, saying, “When you make decisions at Twitch, whether it’s about community management or product design or recruiting or anything else, seek out perspectives that feel uncomfortably different, strive to understand them, and integrate your new understanding into your decision. Then when you choose a partner to promote or hire a new team member, make sure you’re choosing the best: We never compromise our values.”
Here’s the full description of Twitch values:
These values exist to document and communicate how we work at Twitch, and more importantly how we want to work at Twitch. They represent what we think is different, or even unique, to Twitch. They explicitly and purposefully do not include critical values that we believe are universal to every organization: work hard, treat others with respect, act with integrity, deliver results, etc. Those universal values are just assumed. The values in this document should be understood as modifying and expanding upon the universal values that always apply.
● Shared vision over coordination
The enemy of speed is coordination. Waiting to coordinate with even one person or group results in a significant slowdown. Waiting to coordinate with multiple others can make even the most productive person or team grind to a halt. Be ruthless in pruning coordination. Every dependency you eliminate will improve your life indefinitely thereafter.
On the flip side, the enemy of good decision making is ignorance. Making a decision in ignorance of the knowledge of others in the company is a good way to make the same mistakes over and over and a good way to miss opportunities.
Instead of coordinating to fix that problem, establish a shared vision of the future. For your team, you establish a shared vision by communicating clearly where you’re going and how you’re getting there. For other teams, if you don’t understand where they’re going, let them know that.
● Develop talent
We believe in fostering personal growth and development. We send people to conferences to stay up in their field. We encourage experiments with new technologies for learning. We give people the candid, compassionate feedback they need to improve. We grow our broadcasters by helping to promote and educate them. When we hire for a new position, we first look to promote internally. And we look second to hire out of the greater Twitch community from those we’ve already started developing, be they Partner broadcasters or chat bot authors.
● Experiment to decide
When confronted with a difficult decision or a new idea, the proper response is “let’s try it and measure what the results are.” Trying to deduce the impact of a change by theorizing should be trumped by testing things in the real world. This applies to everything we do: new product features, broadcaster education campaigns, or snack-bar purchasing decisions.
● Commitment not compliance
Do things because you believe they’re the right thing for our broadcasters and the company, not because you’ve been told to. If you don’t understand why something is important, ask. When you need other people to help you, even if you’re their manager, telling them what to do is worse than selling them on the vision.
If there’s an opportunity you see to do something more important or valuable than what you’re currently doing, take it. But don’t forget to over communicate during the process with your team, and your manager, and anyone depending on you to deliver.
● Work backwards
Before deciding on a course of action, know what ultimate goal you have in mind. Then ask yourself, is my current idea really the very best way to accomplish that goal? Are there alternatives I haven’t considered? Often it’s easy to fixate on a particular solution and lose sight of the real end goal. Whenever possible, start from first principles and work backwards, don’t just copy common solutions you’ve seen before.
● Welcome everyone, choose the best
We embrace inclusion at Twitch because we want to have access to the most competent staff, the most successful content creators, and the largest audience. If we exclude or overlook the best people because of their background, we have committed an injustice twice: once against that person, and once against ourselves because we have lost a valuable member of the Twitch community or a new perspective for no good reason. When you make decisions at Twitch, whether it’s about community management or product design or recruiting or anything else, seek out perspectives that feel uncomfortably different, strive to understand them, and integrate your new understanding into your decision. Then when you choose a partner to promote or hire a new team member make sure you’re choosing the best: we never compromise our values.
● Creators first
Twitch succeeds by being the very best place for you to share your video with your audience & community. That means we always ask the question “Is this good for the people who create content?” for every decision we make. If you make video, if you make games, if you make interesting comments, we care about helping your creation succeed and finding the right audience.
– Emmett Shear, CEO, Founder, Twitch
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