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Founding Voices: Culture Starts at the Top

Culture Starts at the Top

Founders are laser focused on how they can deliver a great product, but it’s equally important to set company values, goals and intentions, especially early on. Without these structures, your company’s culture evolves unguided, and over time becomes increasingly difficult to reshape.


“The way we always think about it is, the products are going to come and go because the market’s going to evolve, technology is going to evolve, what the customers want from us is going to evolve. What will stay is ultimately the culture.”

Co-founder and CTO, HashiCorp

As a founder, you need to think beyond product. That means identifying your north-star principles and determining the kind of company you want to build. These elements form the enduring, ideological core of your business.

Define your goals and values as early as possible. Once they’re set, they’ll influence things like who you hire, how you engage your customers and the way you respond to adversity. These are the types of decisions that shape your company culture, and culture, in turn, can provide guidance and clarity when navigating the challenges of building a startup.

Product gets all the attention, but product is only one part of the company,” said Navin Chaddha, who served on the board at HashiCorp. “If you focus on getting the company culture and values right, you position yourself to build better products, both now and in the future. Remember that company building is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Navin Chaddha

Managing Partner

Enterprise, Consumer, Semiconductors

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