This summary is inspired by an article by Business Insider, which can be found here.
Starting a Culture
When Airtable was founded in 2012, they had a different goal than almost any other startup at the time: they wanted to create way of being before creating a product or service. Before inception, co-founders Howie Liu, Andrew Ofstad, and Emmet Nicholas got together and defined how the company would approach the marketplace, how users would use (whatever they created), and what kind of principles they would abide by from the start.
Most startups are initiated by an idea for a business opportunity or product, but the founders of Airtable instead began by defining a set of company values. These values would guide the rest of the decisions made by the company, and would shape every product they released. In fact, one of their primary goals was to “disrupt the traditional method of writing software and make it more accessible to everyday people.”
“The decision of Liu and his partners to initially focus on values came out of years of conversations with his cofounders and from their collective experiences in the tech industry.”
The bet to start a company differently than the competition is paying off, with Airtable hosting around 80,000 customers, which includes more than half of the Fortune 1000. This success has been a catalyst for its thousands of users across the globe to join in the vision of making organization more simple, allowing creativity to shine, and creating all kinds of software without coding.
In Liu’s own words: “We weren’t just replicating existing products, but creating something new and truly original. That required us to value open-ended, imaginative thinking.”