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Together We Hit Harder - HackerOne Company Values

  • January 3rd , 2017

HackerOne’s mission is to empower the world to build a safer internet.

All of us HackerOnies are driven by a passion for our mission, and a strong urge to work together to make the world a better place. We recently held our inaugural all-company meeting where we built on top of this mission, documenting the values we embrace.

This blog shows how we did it and the conclusion of our efforts. After various brainstorming sessions, thousands of post-it notes, and lots of laughs, we have our values!

We begin our journey on the first day of the HackerOne all-hands in San Francisco in October of 2016.

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We had an exercise where all employees wrote down their own ideas of what HackerOne’s values should be on sticky paper, and plastered them across a giant wall.

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Every HackerOnie was given ten green stickers and five red stickers that served as “upvotes” and “downvotes”. They could choose to distribute these as they pleased. (Funny side note: Some intentionally wrote values they disagreed with to see if people would downvote them!)

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A group of volunteers helped tabulate this data to identify the most popular values, as well as the most contentious values (those with lots of up and down votes).

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The volunteer group met on a regular basis and formed individual drafts of the HackerOne company values based on this data. Then, larger groups were formed; each group had a wide representation of individuals from across the company to ensure a variety of perspectives. The volunteers shared their drafts of the values with each group, and led discussions to solicit feedback on the content. There was a lot of great discussion and lively debate on what did vs. did not constitute a value, the format of the values, and what exact wording would best illustrate the meaning of each value.

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The whole process was done in Google Docs and shared with the entire company to keep things transparent (see value #2). Once all feedback settled in, the volunteers compiled everything into a final set of values, wordsmithed it like crazy, and landed on the final version which was shared with the company during the weekly AMA (ask me anything) meeting.

The result is what you see below. We are proud to introduce The HackerOne Values!

Our Values

1. Start with Integrity

Integrity is how we act when no one is watching.<br>
Consistently represent our values.<br>
Our mission is bigger than us.

2. Default to Disclosure

Ask “Why should this be private?” instead of “Why should this be public?”<br>
Data informs better decisions.<br>
Transparency builds trust.<br>
Accept and provide feedback with candor.

3. Act Like an Owner

Greater alignment for greater autonomy.<br>
Finish what you start.<br>
Care enough to collide.<br>
Their problem is my problem.

4. Win as a Team

Compete to achieve excellence.<br>
Enable each other to do our best.<br>
Share hardships, celebrate achievements.

5. Empower Our Community

Our community is composed of hackers, customers, the security industry, and ourselves.<br>
Diversity strengthens us.<br>
Empower everyone to learn from each other and grow.<br>
Together we hit harder.

These values are at the core of how HackerOne operates. We use these values in all aspects of our business, including hiring, internal meetings, resolving conflicts, making decisions, and overall communication. “Default to disclosure” is exemplified via celebrating public disclosures in Hacktivity. The willingness to be transparent on these reports helps empower our community to learn from each other and grow. We also leverage data to inform better decisions through features like bounty statistics.

Your Turn

Have a story on how your organization identified and documented your values? We’d love to hear it! And don’t be shy about your opinions about our values - tweet to us, write to us, or send digital smoke signals to feedback@hackerone.com. And hey, if these values hit home with you, perhaps you should come and join HackerOne?

Written with love by Adam Bacchus including contributions from the entire values committee: Dirk Zittersteyn, Evan Brynne, Fred Chung, and Mårten Mickos.

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