At Loam our mission is to provide people with the tools they need to bring their ideas to life.
Notice that it’s people who come first. Loam is a young company, we’ve only been doing this full-time for a couple years. Conversations about who we want to be are a regular part of our day. We know that choosing who we will be is one of the most important parts of being in business.
We have decided to put people at the top of our list of values. What does this mean exactly, you might ask? Doing human-centered design, or being focused on customer service or customer experience is very much in vogue right now. How is what you’re about to tell me any different than what everyone else is selling? Read on and decide for yourself.
We’ve decided to make loving people our top priority. It’s our guiding light. Love doesn’t have a place in business, you might say. Business is just business. There’s no need for love here. Keep that at home for your kids.
We think love does belong in business. After all, businesses are entities with the purpose of helping people exchange value. It’s the people who exchange the value. People. A human being like you and I with feelings, dreams, hopes, struggles, hurts, goals, and motivations. When people interact with a business or with each other they, for better or worse, bring their whole self - as it is in that moment.
As people participate in a design review, pair programming session, or customer service case they still carry all those squishy, gushy, aspects of their humanity. The reason why love has a place in business is because at the core of every person is the need to feel loved. Every person wants to know they’ve been heard, that their concerns are valid, and that it’s going to be alright. What they don’t need is to be belittled, called names, or dismissed. This even goes for the person who is wrong and is making the most ridiculous request.
What making love a top priority does is it allows you to interact with those around you with gentleness, kindness, and patience. The suggestion from a client which will ruin the front page’s design or the line of code that introduced a serious regression is still wrong. What changes is how you deal with it. If loving your clients and co-workers is one of your top priorities (another is probably excellence or quality or else you wouldn’t care what they did), you try to find the most effective way to communicate with them.
You start with ensuring that you understand what they are saying, or why they did what they did. Most people don’t try to be wrong. There is probably a reason behind what they did, even if it’s illogical, or misguided. You acknowledge and affirm what they were trying to do. Only after you’ve established that you’re on their side, can you address the suggestion or mistaken line of code. By establishing that you’ve heard them, you are saying that you care for them more than what they do, which results in them giving you permission to discuss what they did. Then you can solve the problem together. The line of code is rewritten to take into account the special situation the programmer was originally trying to address. The copy of the front page is rewritten to make the pitch more compelling and motivate more people to sign up for the service.
With love, we empower people to express themselves, to create, and create the ideal conditions to solve hardest of the world’s problems.