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Principles

We are crafters, not overseers

Many companies in publishing and content production are filled with overseers - account managers, project managers, team leads, analysts, 'growth hackers' etc. There are often more people overseeing than doing. We are a team of doers: people who create and take pride in what we have created. We work mainly asynchronously, following companies like Basecamp. We don't 'jump on quick calls' or waste time on Scrum 'ceremonies'. We prefer to tread on a few toes than to hesitate and delay for sign-offs.

We have a strong bias for action

We do what needs to be done and make decisions wherever possible instead of waiting for approval, sign-off, or full consensus.

We do things within days or weeks, not months or years.

We prefer to do a project and then talk about whether it was a good fit than to spend 80% of the time defining a services agreement and then 20% of time executing on it.

This is linked to Python's "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" and "lazy consensus" from Apache.

Our quality bar gets higher over time

As we gain trust from various customers, we make ever increasing effort to not abuse this trust. When a customer is not reading every single word (or even every article) that we produce, we need to do more quality control ourselves, not less.

Everything we produce is free to the world

We don't take on projects to create e.g. internal syllabus content, internal corporate training, paid courses, or non-free books. Everything we do should be available for free, ideally under a permissive license and in several formats (e.g. HTML, Markdown, ePub, PDF).

We create value, we don't extract it

It's pretty easy to land large contracts, pass these on to cheaper freelancers and pocket the difference. This is extracting value and we don't do this.

Instead, we work with team members regularly in a sustainable and mutually beneficial way. We provide a team, and opioninated way of working, and substantive learning experiences to writers, while also resulting in quality and quantity that could not be produced by any individual. The customer, the writer and production team, and the reader should all mutually benefit from every article we work on.

We actively remember that people are human

We believe that autonomy and freedom are basic human rights and needs. Many employer-employee relationships are far too close to slavery. We don't do restraint of trades, we don't force people to work at specific times, or in specific locations. We don't tell people what to wear. We don't do performance reviews. We don't try to extract value from our employees or contractors.

We don't treat people like robots, slaves, or young children.

Obviously there are some tradeoffs, and we have agreements in place to ensure that Ritza survives such as notice periods and leave agreements, but these are done from a place of mutual respect, and not from a position of power to someone who needs to comply.

We value potential over fungibility

At many larger corporations, it is preferable for employees to constantly 'perform' at a predictable 20% of their potential rather than allowinng some people to (unpredictably) reach 80-100% some of the time. It is a priority that if any individual leaves that they can easily be replaced (they are fungible). While we make hard commitments with our customers
and keep to these, this predictability and stability is not achieved at the cost of limiting upside potential through excessive process or safety rails.