Carta’s operating principles and identity traits

Carta’s operating principles and identity traits

Author: Suzy Walther
Read time:  4 minutes
Published date:  October 6, 2021
At Carta, we believe that company culture can help build and sustain a durable organization, one that sets its people, products, and customers up for success.

At Carta, we believe that company culture can help build and sustain a durable organization, one that sets its people, products, and customers up for success. Our own culture is defined by what we call our operating principles and identity traits (OPITs). 

Our operating principles are the idiosyncratic behaviors that we teach, embody, and expect from everyone at Carta so that we can all do our best work. 

Our identity traits are character qualities we look for and nurture in each Cartan. They help us identify who we hire and promote.

We created our OPITs because it was important to us to define our culture, present it, and memorialize it so that we could properly and consistently practice it. Today, they are truly a shared language. They ground the way we onboard new employees, evaluate the performance of our people, communicate with customers, and facilitate cross-team work.

They’re something we believe can grow and evolve. The operating principles that Carta needs today—with a distributed workforce of over 1,000 employees—are different than those we needed when we were 20 people in a small Bay Area office. We regularly examine them and evolve them as we need to.

We debuted our latest OPITs to employees in one of our weekly Town Hall meetings with our CEO, Henry. We also memorialized them on our Slack and housed them in our internal wiki. We include them in every interview process, performance review assessment, and employee pulse survey. Our OPITs define Carta, and so we make sure to integrate them across our company materials and into our practices.

Operating principles

We act as owners. We are all owners of Carta. We make decisions to help Carta, the global entity, realize its vision over our team or ourselves. Politics has no place at Carta. We have one north star and it is to build the vision of Carta.  

We are masters of our craft. Tactics inform strategy. While most people get bored with repetition, we, like professional athletes, embrace repetition as opportunities to practice. We find beauty in detail and satisfaction in mastery. We develop expertise by understanding the details of everything we do. There is no level of detail that is beneath us.

We solve problems. The atomic unit of Carta is the problem. Solving problems creates a step function change in the world. Every problem we solve today opens the door for more problems to solve tomorrow. We are heat seeking missiles looking for problems to solve to help our customers and each other. 

We play in the open. Transparency is the checksum on integrity. We work and communicate out in the open for all to see. We don’t trade on rumors and don’t believe in secrets. Transparency makes everyone at Carta a better decision maker. Information is power, so we share it. 

We have a bias to action. We move fast. We are fearless when trying something new. We are comfortable taking on risk in pursuit of a new idea, because the biggest risk in our business is missing a good idea. We ask what could go right, and relentlessly find the fastest path to value. 

We seek to simplify. We use our intellectual firepower to create simple and elegant solutions to complex problems. In everything we do, we strive to make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

We embrace constraints. We are gritty. We would rather operate with constraints than abundance because constraints breed ingenuity, resourcefulness, and creativity. When we start a project, we ask how much we can accomplish in a certain timeframe or budget, not how much time or budget we need to accomplish the project.

We optimize first derivatives. In math, the first derivative of a function represents the rate of change of one variable compared to another. It is the slope of a tangent line, indicative of the instantaneous rate of change. We obsess over that trajectory. The single biggest determinant of our success is how fast we get better. While others focus on absolute value goals, we focus on getting better faster, every day.

We are accountable. Accuracy, reliability, and security are core to recreating the world’s financial infrastructure and creating capital markets that work for everyone. We earn our customers’ trust through every decision that we make. Velocity and care can move together, it is just harder to do. We rise to that challenge every day. 

We live our mission. We strive to create a fairer and more equitable world, and that starts with us. We celebrate each other’s unique strengths and actively seek out new and diverse perspectives to help us grow. We assume the best of each other and bring the best of ourselves. We build the company we want to work for, together.

We do the right thing. Most people make decisions using an Expected Value calculation. We don’t. We make decisions by asking, “what’s the right thing to do?” Doing the right thing is how we balance competing perspectives and near-term and long-term goals. 

Identity traits

Helpful. The greatest gift we can offer is helping one another be successful. Helping others inspires them to be helpful too, igniting a virtuous cycle of teamwork. Being helpful accelerates results. It is our competitive advantage. 

Relentless. We don’t give up. Tenacity, grit, and perseverance are in short supply in the world. We have them in spades. Doing valuable things is hard and requires sustained effort. We relentlessly pursue our vision.

Unconventional. Unconventional companies are built unconventionally. We are first principles thinkers fearlessly questioning tradition. We imagine the world how it should be rather than accepting how it is.

Kind. Many people are nice. Few are kind. Kindness is meeting people where they are, not where you want them to be. It is seeing the best in others and treating them with the best in you. It is to be so big as to take no offense and so noble as to never give it.

Author: Suzy Walther
In her role as Chief People Officer, Suzy Walther works with the executive team to drive bottom-line growth by aligning talent strategies with overall business strategy. Suzy and her team use a combination of data-driven and human-centric approaches to create an inclusive, engaging, and innovative company culture.
DISCLOSURE: This communication is on behalf of eShares Inc., d/b/a Carta Inc. (“Carta”).  This communication is for informational purposes only, and contains general information only.  Carta is not, by means of this communication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services.  This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business or interests.  Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or interests, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.  This communication is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Carta does not assume any liability for reliance on the information provided herein. ©2021 eShares Inc., d/b/a Carta Inc. (“Carta”). All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.