Company Culture

In 1994, two professors from Stanford business school set out to observe and define business culture. They chose to observe over two hundred of the fledgling tech startups in the valley. Little did they know they were creating the most detailed account of early Silicon Valley tech giants.

Nevertheless they found that five predominant work cultures exist. They named these cultures, “Star”, “Engineering”, “Bureaucratic”, “Autocratic”, and “Commitment”. While reading this study, I couldn’t help but identify which culture described Punchmark the best. I’ll briefly describe these cultures and conclude with Punchmark’s designation.

Star Culture

Star cultures are created by hiring highly qualified individuals and giving them high levels of autonomy.

Engineering Culture

In engineering culture there are few standout individuals but rather teams with a problem solving mindset and usually from a similar background.

Bureaucratic Culture

This is your typical cubical, bi-weekly performance review, organizational chart, powerpoint driven, enterprise.

Autocratic Culture

Similar to Bureaucratic Culture except all rules, regulations, and actions are centered around an elite few.

Commitment Culture

This is your traditional company circa early 1900’s. Employees feel they belong to the company and plan to work for them their entire life.

Ok, so where does Punchmark belong? With only five full-time employees and founders outnumbering actual hired persons, it’s hard to judge them. However, I would place them in a happy medium between Star and Engineering Culture.

I observe each person operating with autonomy and they each have their highly specialized fields and are respective experts in those fields. I’ve also observed a strong team mentality. When crisis strikes, or big business decisions are needed, the all star individuals dissolve into a group.

These guys all come from a similar background and have relationships that go back further than the company itself. This allows them to remain focused and collectively driven to results.

Punchmark seems to have it together for now. I would be interested to see how they scale after hiring more employees and how their culture evolves.

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