Shaping Everest - Our Culture and Mission

April 4, 2022
10 min read

As Everest approaches its first birthday, I find myself reflecting on our culture and mission.

Since day one, our mission has been to create an authentic, collaborative culture that uses design and technology to solve meaningful problems. As an agency, we’re selling the ability to bind brilliant, diverse, and creative people together to build meaningful technology. We believe that a diversity of ideas, cultures, and backgrounds is the only way we can achieve our mission.

Over the years we’ve seen far too many companies neglect to adopt this mindset. They often create cultures that are too homogenous to escape their own groupthink. Teams are forced to adhere to “the right way to do things” and lose their ability to experiment.

Traditional businesses were built on an operating model that’s quickly finding itself obsolete in the face of digital and societal change. As our society races towards a rightfully more open-minded and digital culture, these traditional models have to adapt.

We don’t see the world through binary a lens. Instead, we embrace ambiguity and experimentation.

We ask our team members to bring their whole selves to work and to think independently. By encouraging everyone to be Radically Truthful (not filtering one’s thoughts and one’s questions) and Radically Transparent (giving everyone the ability to see everything across the agency) we give ourselves the ability to introduce contrarian ideas and embrace thoughtful disagreement.

This helps us find value where others might not think to look. Enabling this mindset allows for a team chemistry built on the authentic representation of each individual and their desire to achieve audacious goals. This sense of truth reverberates across all of the work that we produce.

There’s a deep sense of satisfaction in seeing a collective group of individuals challenge one another’s thinking in a positive and constructive manner. It creates a dynamic in which experimentation and iteration is the default. This is crucial when producing complex, creative work across a variety of industries and applications.

In his book, Principles, Ray Dalio writes a lot about these ideas and the success that they’ve earned his firm, Bridgewater. Radical Truth and Radical Transparency can be difficult to embrace. We’re okay with that. It’s better to grow carefully with the right people than to shove a square peg into a round hole.

In 2018 we put these ideas to the test and rolled out a new format for our Weekly Critiques, in which we invited everyone to give their honest, unfiltered feedback on all of our active projects. To do this, we had to ensure that everyone had access to every project and its progress, at all times. This required concise, narrative-based documentation on the problems we were tackling with each project, and our goal solutions.

The output of this process was remarkable. We were able to tackle incredibly heavy subjects, like campus sexual assault, with empathetic thought leadership from our entire team. This helped us rebrand End Rape on Campus and design a new technology platform that will help survivors hold their campuses accountable.

We challenged our assumptions about brand loyalty and helped Signal create a community of snowboarders that subscribed to a lifestyle instead of a one-time purchase. We helped Clareo challenge how corporate innovation happens, facilitating new ways for utilities and Fortune 100’s to create new services and products.

For our first year as an agency, as a collective of independent thinkers and creators, it was a damn fine year.