Quip’s Bret Taylor: Building a Different Type of Startup

Posted by on May 29, 2015

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Key Lesson:  It’s never too early to envision the culture you want — and to start working toward that goal.

As a veteran of both Facebook (where he served as CTO for three years) and Google (where he worked under Marissa Mayer), Bret Taylor knows about the demands of working in a startup environment, and about the cost of those demands on employees’ personal lives — not to mention their engagement and productivity at work.

So when he co-founded Quip, which offers collaborative and mobile-friendly word processing and spreadsheet tools, Taylor wanted to build a different type of culture. He told Business Insider:  “We’re really trying to create a company that, if we have the good fortune of being successful, which is not a foregone conclusion, people won’t be burned out — which I think is a very common problem in startups.” That strategy appears to be paying off in the marketplace:  Quip’s suite of products is growing, the user base has expanded into the hundreds of thousands (including 10,000 business customers) and they are building a solid customer base in Europe.

Not surprisingly, Taylor acknowledges that he’s “thinking about work 100 hours a week.” Still, he adds, “We’re trying to make our culture more compatible with having a work-life balance. So we make a point of leaving the office at 5:30pm everyday. There’s no social pressure to stay later, and we’re still very productive here.”

Bret Taylor is our Grounded Leader of the Week for his deep appreciation of work-life balance — and for building that sensibility into the cultural DNA of Quip.