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SmartCat Values: No Bullshit Company

Back 08/03/17
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Disclaimer: This blog post contains a tasty dose of profanities. Some may call use of curse words unprofessional, and 90% of the time they would be right, however, this blog post and this company value of SmartCat is about being real, being true to yourself and others and curse words are exactly that - they come out when you’re frustrated, excited or want to stress an importance of something - when you’re being real. This is why SmartCat is...

A No Bullshit Company
No Secrets, No lies, No excuses. 
Transparent, Accountable, Driven by facts, Respectful to all

This is our fourth company value. It is also the hardest one to live by. It’s hard to be completely honest with yourself, and it’s hard to be honest with others since you know they may not be honest with you, or even worse (and very common) they are not honest with themselves to begin with. It takes two things to live honestly: it takes “having a stomach” and “having balls”.  It is not easy dealing with truth as it often hurts. It takes courage to be honest with yourself and others since you know that you will be judged, and you are risking losing support, respect or earned trust of the person you’re talking to - in other words there’s a lot to lose. But really, we are all only human and no one is perfect.

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The environment we live in has become dangerously dishonest. On TV and popular music they serve us an image of success that is very shallow - big house, fast car, a yacht, a slim wife with enlarged breasts… this is all bullshit. Money cannot buy you happiness. And happiness is what we all want, what we all strive for. No wonder people are generally less happy - we are all chasing a fabricated image of success which is becoming harder to achieve as the world is becoming overpopulated and the gap between rich and poor is widening. We are bombarded with images of physical beauty that is unnatural -  human body is not meant to look like the images of bodybuilders or anorexic models we see advertised - that is all bullshit that attacks our confidence and self-esteem.

With the rise of marketing and “Mad Men” people have tapped into the human psychology and realized how to “push our buttons” - shortcuts, tricks and manipulations of the mind to get us to buy the product behind the message they are communicating (with these two often having nothing in common). Once the manipulative value of marketing has been realized, everyone started shifting towards the message they want to communicate to the customer to get them to buy, buy, buy. Having felt the sweet taste of profit everyone got hooked on it. But wait, why would we have people buy one product for their whole lifetime? Why build things to last? We can make a product of lower quality, have it break down after a few years and they will come back to us to get a new version of the same thing - HA!
That’s awesome! ...read my lips: B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T.  

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Being a Project Manager in software industry for 11 years I’ve seen bullshit in all shapes and forms in the corporate environment. I’ve seen developers try to sell me excuses for not making the deadline - being a Computer Science graduate myself, it wasn’t easy to fool me. I’ve seen clients promise me big projects to follow the pilot one, never to actualize -  a big juicy carrot of bullshit. I’ve seen other managers trying to “motivate” their team or avoid taking the responsibility for their mistakes by selling bullshit lies. This may get you through the day or a year, and yes you will reap the short-term benefits but it will not build a lasting relationship of trust, respect and support. Sooner or later you will hit a ceiling or a wall - depending on which direction you’re trying to go :)

When Nenad, Matija and I met and decided to start our own company the first thing we did was write down our four company values and although this one is the last one in the list, it is the first one we all agreed we need to instill in the DNA of our company. All of us have been outraged when some fool calling themselves a manager was trying to sell us bullshit - it insults your intelligence and kills motivation. That is something we do not want anyone in our company to feel. We understand that people are the most important factor of any business - people in our company but also our customers. Our goal is to make people that work with us happy and fulfilled. Happy with our service and happy with the experience of working with us.

I’m sure you’ve had an experience of salary negotiation. Why does it need to be negotiated? Because the employer will always try to pay you less than you’re worth and, on the flip side, you need to get the most out of it. At SmartCat we have a clearly defined career path for our team members where responsibilities and necessary skills are identified for each level but also what you get paid. This creates a clear value / cost ratio for the management but it also provides clarity for our team members - clarity on what is expected from them and what they shall get in return - where are they headed. And the real kicker is - everyone knows on what level everyone else is too! So you know who to look up to or ask for advice. This paired with mentorship responsibilities of our seniors creates an empowering and motivating environment for professional growth.

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We are here to fight the bullshit, to question things and instigate change. We are the alternative. We want to break “the box” not just think outside of it. Once you become driven by facts, by data and not by perceptions, manipulated images or hidden agendas, you will find a whole new level of freedom and inner peace. Once you find yourself surrounded with people that are on the same page you will find a whole new level of energy and motivation to “get up, stand up, stand up for your right”.



Bojan Kovac

Co-Founder & CEO

A computer science graduate with over 10 years of experience managing software projects and product development while leading organizational changes towards operational maturity and efficiency.