I love talking about core values. You know, the essence of the people in an organization. At the Atlanta Tech Village, we can’t pick good ideas from bad, but we can create an environment that follows these four core values: be nice, dream big, pay it forward, and work hard/play hard. Some people don’t understand the importance of strong core values, and that’s fine. I’ll keep preaching anyway.
Yesterday I was listening to a colleague tell the story of Mindspring/Earthlink in the early days. The Mindspring founder, Charles Brewer, was fanatical about their core values, and rightly so. Back in 1994, when he started the company, the first thing he did is define the core values, before he even decided the nature of the business! At it’s peak, Mindspring had over 1,000 people, and hired in a way that kept their culture strong and customer service great.
It took me seven years to appreciate the importance of strong core values. In retrospect, core values aren’t a new concept and I just needed to experience things not working to feel the pain and search for a solution. Well, for the entrepreneurs in the audience, core values are a proven concept and they really matter. Trust me.
What else? What are some other examples of companies that have had strong core values for decades?