In the beginning...
“I started the company four years ago. With the small success we’ve experienced, I get a lot of questions about whether I wanted to make it big before I even started or if I wanted to change the world and become known for that since the start. But this is actually my third start-up. If it weren’t for A-May, my wife, I was prepared to open a small design studio and just work on cases because starting a business is tough. I failed the first two times and lost all my savings with it. I still had outstanding debt at the time and I couldn’t even fathom starting a third company. I’d written myself off already.
Looking back now, I’m very fortunate that A-May persisted. AmazingTalker and the story that ensues would never have happened without her. We nearly went out of business twice already and we’ve archived it on our office walls to remind ourselves that we must prepare for every step of the way. We realized that we can’t just archive our successes, we must remind ourselves of past failures, reflect, and initiate changes.”
AmazingTalker – The humble beginnings of a great vision
During the past four years, I’ve continued to set humble goals and tested out solutions time and time again, inching slowly forward. AmazingTalker and I are essentially one and together we’ve continued to explore our potential, limits, and goals.
I realized that we would eventually reach our end goals at our current pace and I started realizing that I wanted Abner and AmazingTalker to become more than a money-making machine because it doesn’t make me excited anymore. Making a few thousand or earning billions in revenue no longer brings me particular joy or excitement. Rather, when I consider my time with AmazingTalker, the like-minded partners I’ve gathered along the way, and our growing number of available resources, I’ve become motivated by the fact that we can give back to society.
Greatness isn’t the end goal for AmazingTalker or me but I am willing to put everything into a great contribution to human society even if our efforts go unnamed. This means we have a long to-do list because there are more projects outside of AmazingTalker that are waiting to be uncovered and shown to the world. We desperately want to try and realize these goals, no matter how challenging or how great the potential for failure is. We hold onto our beliefs and we strive for more.
Abner Co. LTD – Company values that begin from within
We believe that we need more than simply will or abilities; we also need a healthy company in order to strive towards our targets efficiently. I started the company Abner Co., LTD to be a representation of myself. I mapped out the 10-year vision and then looked back at our company to determine important ethos for company values that would help us reach that vision. Why Abner Co., LTD instead of AmazingTalker? At its core, the AmazingTalker product is about “breaking the ceiling for freelancers”. In starting Abner Co., LTD, we are considering different core objectives for products in the future. The core objectives from a single product may not necessarily encompass the whole company’s values.
I hope the core values established in Abner Co., LTD will not face changes from different products, departments, or subsidiaries in the future. Instead, I wanted to compile a series of abstract, general ethos that is applicable across all dimensions, from top to bottom, corporate to the individual, and large projects to the smallest observations.
I’m putting myself at the core in considering where I want to end up and the ethos that I’ve followed to lead me here. I’ve continued to practice the same ethos and have never organized or dissected it but I’m doing it now. Throughout this process, I’m reviewing and confirming the vision for the next ten years and setting expectations for the contributions our products are expected to make to then compile an ethos for company values. I’ve compiled a total of seven items and have listed them in order:
Smart Actions > Goal-oriented > Goodwill > Speed > Balance > Iterative Process
7 corporate culture guidelines
I’ve always encouraged my partners to try this: it should live beyond our words; it should be etched into our DNA. AmazingTalker immediately removes employees that lack the courage to take bold action so you can see how serious I am about it. This is our core culture and who we are at the core. I refer to this as “intelligence” and I’ve outlined a process for it: Set “hypotheses” through “observations”, obtain “results” through “testing”, continue to “reflect” upon the “core” of the issue, and eventually resolve it.
At Abner Co., LTD, intelligence is a formula or algorithm: “intelligence = observation > thinking > hypotheses > testing > conclusions > reflections”. This formula lies at the heart of Abner Co., LTD. Employees should always remain objective and use their “intelligence” and existing information to determine the best decision given available time, resources, opportunities, etc. They should conduct all possible risk evaluations before taking bold action. It’s okay to fail as long as you reflect on past mistakes and work towards future success.
Why is it important?
I believe that we need to continue exploring the core of the problem if we want to sustain prolonged, rapid success. It’s never about learning organized systems of information or taking organized courses. We need to find the core of the problem and experiment fast in small units to go through the plenty possibilities of various iterations. With small failures and successes, we can quickly develop new knowledge that perhaps has yet to be uncovered and build future iterations on this foundation. Our approach ensures that we can resolve diverse, complex, and abstract problems in the shortest time possible.
We would only be able to make superficial corrections or iterations if our culture only focuses on resolving superficial problems. Only when we tackle problems from the source are we given the opportunity to rethink the optimal solution and develop the best iterations for existing landscapes. Yet how do we tackle problems from the source? We have to first be able to uncover the source by peeling away all the superficial problems. The time difference between resolving essential and superficial problems is akin to speed. When the target is 3,000 km/h, you don’t question why cars fail. You rethink the problem in terms of your target speed: cars are not the solution for reaching 3,000 km/h. You have to consider the task and its viability given existing technologies. If the target is to simply travel 50 km within an hour, trying to develop a car that can travel at 3,000 km/h is no longer important. We have to peel away the superficial layers and put our intelligence to use to identify the most valuable approach to resolving our problems. This is why Smart Action is so important.
After developing a knowledge system, we then share it with our exclusive sharing mechanism to those that crave new information. The mechanism allows all of us to provide or take the fruits of other’s wisdom for future applications.
Why is it important?
We believe that in order to facilitate a faster evolution of knowledge, we must be willing to selflessly share valuable knowledge and insight with our partners. When everyone with the same information and knowledge can create high-value knowledge with their own wisdom, the speed at which knowledge and information develops increases exponentially. The more we devote, the more we learn. Everyone will then be able to build their own systems upon others’. As the process is accelerated, contributions toward the individual and company create higher value, which is the ultimate value of information sharing.
Whether individual goals are consistent across the company determines how fast we reach our goals while details determine how accurately we do so. Abner Co., LTD uses OKR to connect the company’s high-level vision with the smallest tasks so that everyone understands the why and value of their actions. By using an open, transparent OKR model to integrate everyone, we are able to solve every problem of substance more efficiently.
Why is it important?
Two people with drastically different goals will produce completely different results even if they’re striving for the same thing. Whether the end goal is good or bad, we all get a chance to ultimately achieve our intended results. Imagine a scenario where two employees are trying to resolve a technical issue. Employee A wants to develop a high-quality code in the shortest time possible while Employee B is looking to simply resolve the problem as soon as possible. The time it takes and the quality they produce will be drastically different. Given the same abilities and background, both employees are likely to accomplish their set targets. If the company’s target is to develop a high-quality code in the shortest time possible, it’s highly likely that Employee B will not be able to reach the company’s expectations. In conclusion, having consistent targets is important because it becomes a set of standards that help us define whether something is good or bad. Without this standard, it’s impossible to distinguish between a good or bad approach which then makes it difficult for people to collaborate effectively. When the targets are different, partners can’t support each other and will likely become obstacles in each other’s paths. OKR is critical because it keeps in mind our high-level vision and then considers how that should be applied to small tasks, it clearly defines our goals and indicators so we know which approach is better and how to evaluate it. In addition to efficient communication and teamwork, OKR can also help with introspection and allow for faster personal growth, making it a critical part of our ethos.
Any decision made on a company level is complex, difficult, and filled with tough trade-offs. Abner Co., LTD commits to making positive, kind decisions when it comes to company vision and personal choices; we will never make any decision that damages anyone physically or emotionally, nor will we develop new functions of business models in this vein. All of our decisions should be made in goodwill and this shall remain a critical standard for everyone at Abner Co., LTD.
Why is it important?
We have a lot of choices when it comes to developing new functions or businesses. We can choose firearms, drugs, gambling, or simply making money but it’s important for us to consider why we do what we do and the values we’re trying to create. The vision of Abner Co., LTD is, rather than making money, to create more possibilities and accelerate the growth of human society. Choosing fast but questionable businesses such as drugs, gambling, and firearms in order to gain more resources and assets in the short term may be more efficient but it doesn’t align with our goodwill commitment. This is our bottom line and it eliminates all the potentially hurtful choices from our shortlist. Though it limits our options, goodwill is important to Abner Co., LTD and it’s the choice we’ve made. I hope that each step we take is valuable and positive rather than unethical. This is why having standards is important because we could lose our way without it and become an unethical corporation that contains a lot of wisdom, has fast iterations, and always achieves its goals. The feedback we get from making decisions based on love and kindness is, to me, what makes it truly meaningful.
In Chinese, there’s a saying that speed is impenetrable. Yet speed is relative and we can only be faster or slower in comparison. If the goal is to be faster against anyone, we have to accelerate infinitely in order to stay ahead. From a knowledge creation perspective, this is the only way we are able to uncover new and undiscovered knowledge. From a company perspective, this is the only way we can continue innovating.
Why is it important?
Acceleration is an instinctual drive that is made important from constant competition between companies and nations. It’s the truth whether you recognize it or not. Winners and losers are created through competition and it affects how resources, choices, and opportunities are allocated. We have to continue accelerating and growing in order to maintain that strong competitive edge but only when you transcend to become your own competitor will you continue accelerating and challenging yourself. When the pursuit is to become stronger and remain in the lead, you have transcended and entered a cycle where opportunities are endless. With more choices and opportunities, there are also more resources that allow you to maximize the value you create and ultimately drive progress in human society.
We need to accelerate and expand but ensure that we maintain a stable foundation throughout our growth. Every weak link has to be fortified in the shortest time possible so that the company remains impermeable under rapid expansion.
Why is it important?
Speed is relative, as is a balanced offense and defense. When we focus on constant expansion but are unable to maintain a stronghold in new business areas, we are embarking on a journey of inevitable futility. We have to strengthen our weaknesses while taking advantage of our fortes to make the company and ourselves well-rounded. The importance of this balance is that we become nearly impenetrable when we can face all our challenges with high-quality solutions. Success is not sustainable without maintaining this balance and our contributions to the world would prove to be fleeting in the grand scheme of human history.
Everyone at AmazingTalker should commit to our ethos, continue to consider how they can strengthen various aspects, and reiterate those changes within so that the ethos becomes etched into their DNAs.
Why is it important?
Having professional knowledge in programming, design, boxing, or law is less critical than having the ability to intuitively apply values from Abner Co., LTD in any scenario. The importance of the iterative process lies in making sure that each value has been etched within your DNA. At every turn, you are able to take advantage of the company and your own assets, guided by our values, to create value for both.
In order to accelerate the process of turning various possibilities into reality, the world, given its existing landscape, requires a slew of talents to devote themselves to exploration. One of our targets, for both AmazingTalker and me, is to serve as a bridge that connects all the unexplored extremes of our world and facilitates a snowball effect amongst all human efforts.
I am excited to share our 10-year targets with anyone that’s interested. We’re not simply a money-making machine, we hope to create value in human society and we need you to help us make that happen. You want to be part of a company that genuinely contributes to the advancement of society. Perhaps you learned about our blueprints during an interview but if you’re reading this now and you’re just as excited about these ideas, you’re probably the one we’re looking for.
“Given the current state of humanity, the world needs a lot of talented people to explore in order to push the possibilities forward more quickly. One of my goals with AmazingTalker is to be a bridge for these things to happen, to connect the dots where all humans can explore the unknown.
I can’t wait to share with everyone who’s interested in what we’ve projected into our list of goals 10 years from now. We are not a company that just makes money, we want to create more value for human civilization and we need you to join us to create that value together. You will be joining a company that really wants to contribute to the advancement of human civilization. Maybe you’ll hear about our blueprint and share it during the interview process, but if you’re reading this and feel equally enthusiastic about these ideas and thoughts, then I think you’re the kind of person we’re looking for.”
-AmazingTalker Founder and CEO Abner