Congratulations and welcome to our family! As you know, we create digital tools and spaces that empower global youth to own their online presence, so they can create better futures for themselves.

We think that is very dope, but it is also, very ambitious.

This handbook is a living document that will guide us in developing a mutual understanding as to how we will work together as a team to meet that end.

Our mandate as a company is to ship products at scale that will serve global youth across disciplines, generations and continents.

We target those already working within the creative industries, however, it is also our responsibility, to help every young person discover the creativity that resides within.

More succinctly, our mission, is to empower creativity.

Welcome to Dopesite Co.

I have always loved a good origin story.

In Spiderman, we are given the Peter Parker principle, “With great power there must also come great responsibility.” Peter is presented with a choice. Will he use his newfound power for his personal gain, revenge, and the like, or will he use it for the greater good?

It is a moral injunction.

If taken differently, we can think of it as a warning. I like to think of it in this way, had Peter chosen to serve his personal interests, he would never be Spiderman, and therefore, would never be.

My origin story goes something like this. I had a difficult upbringing. My family was financially destitute at one point, my parents divorced when I was young, I had to raise my younger brother, and I lived in over twenty different homes by the time I was twenty-five.

Everybody has hardships like these. How you choose to perceive those hardships, and what you choose to do about them, will make all the difference, between living in obscurity, and living in relevance. Notice, I said, “choose.”

Peter Parker made a choice. In doing so, he became Spiderman.

Let me tell you how I actually perceived my life.

I had a unique upbringing.

My family was financially destitute at one point, which let me see the value in minimalism, frugality and imagination.

My parents divorced when I was young, which taught me the gravity of lies, loyalty and time.

I had to raise my younger brother, which helped me become a man, responsible and a best friend.

I lived in over twenty different homes by the time I was twenty-five, which meant I was able to experience twenty different cultures, places and lives.

Of course, I am by no means a superhero, but I have had a relevant life, because I chose opportunity, instead of, hardship.

In keeping with origins, I began my career in the creative industries as a writer for Janet Jackson where I learned many invaluable lessons. The following seemed relevant to what we are embarking on together.

First, linear stories, the kind with a clear beginning, middle and end, are the least interesting stories to tell, because they are easily told, and therefore, common.

Second, the best teams are comprised of diverse backgrounds, talents, and perspectives. Not all that surprisingly, they are comprised of lives that have been non-linear.

Third, no matter what you are doing, or who you are doing it with, there are no guaranteed outcomes. Governments change, economies shrink, people give up, tastes change, sometimes you simply got it wrong.

Fourth, it is ok to get it wrong. Failure, is inevitable. It is an opportunity to learn. The best way to ensure failure, however, is by doing something you do not believe in, which is less a failure, and more a travesty.

Lastly, understand the cost. There is a mountain between mediocrity and greatness. You will be forced to leave behind many things to climb the summit, but make sure you are strategic about what you let go of, and what you hold onto, because the descent is often harder than the ascent.

We are not climbing mountains though, we are moving them, for others.

It is easy to express desire for change, improvement, revolution, but I can tell you firsthand, getting the wheel to turn, is really fucking hard. Revolution requires pulling humanity along for the ride, and you will find, humanity is a stubborn, immovable, kind of thing.

What we are doing will not be easy, but I have a feeling, if it were, you would not be reading this right now. Today, you are a part of our origin story. You were chosen, because I believe, when faced with your own moral injunction, you will choose the greater good, every single time.

Dopesite Co. is the culmination of a million steps and missteps that I have taken throughout my life. It is a company birthed through hardships. Not just those that I experienced, but also, those I witnessed in my peers. Ultimately, it is a company about overcoming hardships, and empowering others to do the same.

Our founding principles are that we are principled.

Founding Principles

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Buckminster Fuller

Guiding Principles

Knowledge is power.

There will be a steep learning curve over the next few months and there will always be a tremendous amount of work that needs to be done. Further, we are all working separately right now, have different working styles, and different schedules, which adds layers of complexity.

If you have questions, and or, problems, seek to understand the solutions on your own. If you are still struggling with the problem, ensure you have worked through at least one possible solution, and be ready to present it to your direct report, along with your problem.

Much of the work we will be doing is troubleshooting for our customers. We need to learn to troubleshoot for ourselves first. There is always a solution. Being incapable of finding the right solution on your own is quite different from simply being lazy.

I always tell people who work for me, “Don’t come to me with problems. Come to me with solutions.”

You cannot empower others, unless, you first empower yourself.

We do not chase trends, we make them. We do not chase money, we make it. We do not chase customers, we make believers.

Too many companies are running around right now without any idea as to what they do, or how they do it, let alone, why they do it.

We empower global youth to create better futures. This requires consistency, freedom, loyalty, and above all else, time.

Good things take time.

Dealing with customers in any industry can be exhausting. At times, they will be short tempered, unreasonable, unrealistic, entitled, impatient, so forth, and so on.

Fucking up someones burger, however, is a lot different than fucking up their hopes and dreams, which is the industry we are in.

Develop a deep knowledge of your customers. Learn to understand their needs well before they do. Show excitement in what they are hoping to achieve. Guide them gently away from unnecessary tangents.

Be empathetic.

Handle with care.

We are a small team with big ambitions.

Discover your strengths, understand your weaknesses, and embrace your role. No role is any more important, or any less important, than the rest. Where you are strong, another is weak. Where you are weak, another is strong.

We believe the world needs the best version of our story. The best version of our story needs the best version of ourselves.

Every character belongs to the story.

Roughly every six weeks we start a new cycle of product work. Each six week work cycle contains two type of projects:

Big Batch: Big Batch project are big features or stuff that is probably going to take up the full six weeks to get done. We typically take on one or two Big Batch projects in a six week cycle.

Small Batch: Small batch projects are smaller things, tweaks, minor adjustments, and easy adds that should take anywhere from a day to two weeks to complete. We typically take on between 4 and 8 Small Batch projects in a six week cycle.

Once a six week cycle is over, we take one or two weeks off of scheduled projects so everyone can roam independently, fix stuff up, pick up some pet projects we have wanted to do, and generally wind down prior to starting the next six week cycle. Ample time for context switching. We also use this time to firm up ideas that we will be tackling next cycle.

How We Work

Each Big Batch project is assigned a team. So if we take on two Big Batch projects during a cycle, we would have one team working on one of the projects and another team working on the other project. Small Batch projects are all done by one team. Teams stay together for the full cycle.

A team is two or three people, depending on the type of work. That is it. No teams of four, five, six. Everything we take on has to be done by a team of three, max.

We think three is the ideal size for most things — complexity begins to increase exponentially beyond that.

Teams are assembled ad-hoc. Before a cycle begins, we ask each person what kind of work they would like to do over the next six weeks. Teams either coalesce around areas of interest, or we assign people to a team based on their preferences. Teams often change up after the cycle so everyone gets a chance to work with different people, but sometimes they stick together for a few cycles. There are no hard and fast rules about this.

Who Does the Work

The next cycle: Family 6ix Tings (Nov 1 - Dec 15)