Mission Driven

The flip side of a beef: A mission

The ever-wise Ron Williams posted recently about the importance of having beef with a rival. As he put it:

A sworn enemy provides a foil. A true south to your true north. A dragon to wake up and slay every single day for your users, customers and for the world.

I think there's a ton of wisdom there and and the unspoken assumption behind the whole thing is that your organization has a mission that people genuinely believe in.

They're looking for missionaries

One of the things that I look for when interviewing candidates for Squarespace is their understanding of our mission and their interest in being a part of it. I don't expect everyone to be as invested in making the web a more beautiful place as me and my colleagues but I've got to believe that they can throw themselves into a mission, that they're willing to drink the kool-aid, and that they want to become a part of something bigger than themselves.

It's not a coincidence that lots of people at Squarespace, including me, were subscribers before joining the company. We've experienced first-hand the importance of the work that Squarespace does and the capacity it has to, frankly, change lives. When you understand in your gut the importance of your company's work it doesn't take much to become a true believer.

Look for life-changers

So if you're looking for a new opportunity (and even if you're not), my suggestion is to download every app and take advantage of every free trial that sounds passably interesting. When you find something that feels important to you and your life get to know that company's mission and cross-check against your personal goals and professional beefs. If you come across a match, think deeply about that organization, its product, and its growth and where and how you can help them improve. If you can find a company with a product and mission that you believe in and if you can identify ways that you can help and if you can be tenacious and persistent you'll eventually find yourself slaying a dragon.