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Is Culture Everything? Beware of the Survivor Bias

Survivor bias is defined (by wikipedia) as “the logical error of concentrating on the people or things that survived some process and inadvertently overlooking those that didn’t because of their lack of visibility“. This subject came to my mind after a long talk with a friend that works in one of the “cool” companies around here (at least for those not in those companies). A company that has Culture. But he is somewhat tired of working there, even if the company has Culture. Like me, he is subscribed to many tweet feeds and RSS feeds, and we both noticed that there is lately a lot of talk about Culture and how this makes or breaks a company. But I think that we have here a very good case of survivor bias playing on us. How many start-ups are there that have great culture but still fall and burn? Probably most of them. And there are very big companies that “don’t have a great culture” but are still making a lot of money, paying a lot of money to developers, and growing every day.

So beware of investing too much on your culture, and not enough on your product. Culture may help you keep great developers, and makes people happy, and that is VERY important. But don’t think that if you have a great culture, you will succeed.

I’m repeating myself, so I guess I will stop here. Have a great culture 🙂


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Published inProgrammingThoughts

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