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SafeGraph Vision and Values

December 19, 2017
Auren Hoffman

SafeGraph Vision and Strategy

We need open information to power innovation.

Information should not be hoarded so that only a few can innovate. We need as many organizations as possible working to solve the challenges facing humanity. SafeGraph’s mission is to make the world’s data open for innovation while protecting individuals privacy.

Be the world’s archivists.

To provide truth sets to the world’s innovators, we need to meticulously record and archive the world’s facts and events. Our job is to find out what happened, when it happened, and where it happened. We leave the application of the knowledge (why it happened and what will happen in the future) to our customers. We’re a 21st century news organization (without the op-ed department) whose product is data.

Seek the truth about the world.

Data that isn’t true has little use. SafeGraph needs to independently verify the veracity of every data element. Of course, data can never be 100% true … but we should strive to make it 100% true.

Be the data utility to all.

SafeGraph will service all applications, not just a select few, which means that we cannot become an application because we’d compete with our customers. We enter markets carefully and methodically — only if we can have the very best data and become the market leader.

Security, safety, compliance, and privacy are paramount.

Our partners entrust us with their core data assets, which means we have a duty to protect them. To be good stewards of any sensitive data, we should only enable uses that are a net-good to society. And we should always pass the “mom test.”

SafeGraph Values to Achieve Our Vision

Do fewer things but be great at them.

It is 100x better to be the best than it is to be “just” really good. But it’s very difficult to be the best at many things. Every team member strives to do as few things as possible, and the company strives to do as few things as possible — so that we can be the best at what we do. This is also why we strive to only do one new thing at a time — series beats parallel.

Judgement is the x-factor.

It is essential that every team member at SafeGraph makes key decisions autonomously, so that we move fast and limit bureaucracy. But as Voltaire (sometimes attributed to Spider-Man’s Uncle) said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” To make great and effective decisions at all levels of the company, we need to (1) clearly communicate the company’s strategy to all team members; (2) hire super smart teammates that work hard; (3) only hire people who have demonstrated sound judgment and are deserving of our trust.

We are the enablers, not the solvers.

As a company, it is important we have the humility to accept that our clients will ultimately be the ones to make the world a better place and solve humanity’s greatest challenges … we are just an enabler. This humility should always color everything we do.

Respect our own time — get leverage.

Because we hire only the most talented people, SafeGraph team members must constantly seek leverage. We put an extremely high value on our own time. A team member rarely does a repetitive or mundane task more than a few times before she automates it (through engineering, outsourcing, selecting a vendor, etc.). SafeGraphers should spend over 75% of their time doing things that are really hard and that only they can do. We know that the more we can leverage ourselves, our teams, and our organization, the bigger SafeGraph can scale.

Respect others’ time — don’t be a bottleneck.

Humility means respecting the time of our coworkers, partners, clients, recruits, etc. We never want to be a bottleneck as a company or as an individual. Bottlenecks cause frustration and cost us customers and revenue. They lower morale and create uncomfortable conversations like “did you get that email I sent Tuesday?” We return all emails and calls within 12 hours, even if it’s just to say “I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” We strive to never be bottlenecks.

Focus on growth.

Great team members continue to improve and grow. The only way to do that is to actively solicit feedback on how to get better and find ways to work on one’s strengths. Great team members also focus on making those around them better, and they give feedback often. Giving constructive feedback (suggestions of how to improve flaws) is helpful but giving specific, positive feedback can lead to even faster growth and higher leverage of people’s strengths. We have extremely high expectations of ourselves and of our team members.

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