GIPHY Values and Philosophies
We’re excited to share GIPHY’s Values and Philosophies with the world!
These values and philosophies guide us as a company and a community in all things: how we treat each other, how we build products, and how we work with people outside the company. We at GIPHY are proud of our values and have been living them for years. The goal of this post is to celebrate our values and to inspire other companies to set their own values.
Creating the GIPHY Values
GIPHY began in 2013 with just a few people and a vision to animate the world. When you’re a small startup of 6, 15, or 30 people, it’s easier to maintain a shared vision and company values because you can talk to every person every day to stay connected. However, in 2016, as we grew beyond 30 people, we realized that we needed strategies to scale our company culture. We were hiring more people and we wanted to embrace change and new ideas, but we also wanted to maintain our core identity and beliefs. We decided to document our company values to help guide and ground us as the company evolved and to attract new talent whose values are aligned with ours.
Our values were created both bottom up and top down. We started by asking everyone in the company to contribute their ideas: Who is GIPHY? What defines us as a platform? How do we work together? What do we want to maintain as we grow?
Next, our leadership team and brand team reviewed all the ideas and refined them into a list of Values and Philosophies that align with the needs of the business, the brand, and the community. We presented the final Values and Philosophies to the company and added them to our employee handbook that is signed by every employee. We continue to revisit them in our annual company Orientation, and we reference them constantly as we make business, product, and people decisions.
If you’re creating a set of company values, we recommend a similar process. Start with gathering ideas from the employees: you’ll learn how people feel about the company and what’s important to them, and you’ll get diverse points of view. Then a smaller team, that includes leadership, can work to narrow your values down and make sure they’re compatible with your business needs.
One of our philosophies is Community Before Corporation, and it’s critical to us that our community believes in our values so that they will take responsibility for helping us to accomplish them every day. In order for values to work, they can’t be dictated by leadership without buy-in from the team, and leadership has to truly believe in them and commit to upholding them in perpetuity.
Values Can Evolve
Our values are living, and they can adapt as the needs of the company evolve, as long as we implement changes thoughtfully and with buy-in from leadership and the team. We’ve updated GIPHY’s values several times over the years in response to our business needs or employee feedback.
For example, in 2017 we had aggressive company goals and an intense roadmap to deliver, so we introduced a new philosophy: It’s Not What We Can’t Do, It’s What We Can Do. This helped us all think more positively about what we could accomplish, rather than worrying about failure or stressing about things outside our control.
We also re-evaluated our values in 2020, in response to feedback from the team, to make our commitments to Diversity and Inclusion more explicit and impactful. We therefore added two new values and the philosophy GIPHY for Good to emphasize our responsibility to make a positive impact on the world.
This evolution reflects two of our values, Animated and Infinite. GIPHY never stops: everything we build is alive, and we will always rebuild and iterate to make things better, including our values.
People Before Product
If there is one thing we want you to take away from GIPHY’s Values and Philosophies, it is our #1 philosophy and the most defining aspect of GIPHY culture: People Before Product. It is the most-referenced guiding principle in everything we do, and it differentiates us from many companies that put the product, or business, first and the people second.
GIPHY is definitely a product-driven organization. We build and ship a lot of products at a very fast pace. However, above all, we are a people company. People make our products and people use our products. We choose to invest most of our time and energy into our people’s fulfillment and growth. Our secret to success is that our people then invest their time and energy into making the best products that feel personal and human. Furthermore, when we make those products we prioritize the needs of our users first and foremost, which we hope shows in everything we make!
Several times this philosophy has been put to the test, but we consistently strive to uphold it and make GIPHY the best possible place for people to work, hang out, and create.
We’re Not Perfect
We are not claiming that we live these values perfectly 100% of the time. We are human, and we make mistakes. However, by setting these standards and consistently reiterating who we are and what we believe in, we can strive to be the best versions of ourselves as a company, as a team, and as individuals. Three of our values are friends, ❤️, and help: we are friends, as well as colleagues, and we support and help each other on our journey to live these values.
Our Challenge to You
If your company has not set Values, we encourage you to speak up and ask your leadership team to do a similar exercise. It not only helps build and maintain culture, but it can make decision-making and consensus easier when you have a shared set of values to reference.
GIPHY Values & Philosophies
This is what we believe.
PEOPLE BEFORE PRODUCT
The most important product we can ever develop is you (no really). People make products, people use products, we are a people company.
COMMUNITY BEFORE CORPORATION
We win and lose together. We all make it together or we don’t make it at all. Clear eyes, full hearts…
RELATIONSHIPS BEFORE PROCESS
Relationships are the root of all processes. Our relationships will determine if our processes live or die…or kill -9 if you’re a nerd.
IT’S NOT WHAT WE CAN’T DO, IT’S WHAT WE CAN DO
Problems are easy. Solutions are hard. We choose to be like our hard G’s and go to the moon. We choose to be GIPHYcans not GIPHYcant’s.
We all came to GIPHY from someplace and for some reason, and at some point in the future we will all leave GIPHY, ideally for retirement.
Our promise to you as your friends and partners in this journey is to make sure you leave GIPHY professionally better than when you came to GIPHY and that you are left with a lifetime of positive memories.
If GIPHY was successful you will have an entire group of the most talented creative people in the world as future co-workers, co-founders, friends that you can count on as family for the rest of your life.
This is a special time for startups as well as a special time in history. We have unlimited opportunity, creativity, and passion. Let’s make sure we make these years the most rewarding of our careers and lives.
GIPHY FOR GOOD
GIPHY reaches hundreds of millions of people across the world every day. We have the opportunity to meaningfully change user behavior by exposing our users to new ideas, encouraging positivity, and actively fighting hate and injustice on the internet. We have a notable impact on the world, and we take this responsibility seriously!
This is what we care about.
GIPHY is alive. We bring things to life. We only work with and build things that move.
There are no rules (ok only a few). GIPHY strives to do and make things that have never been, that should be.
GIPHY feels. We are sensitive. We laugh. We cry. We are creators that use expression as our medium and everything we build is an expression of who we are and what we believe.
GIPHY is more than casual friends. We hug. Our products hug. We make the world a friendlier place.
We love the people we work with. We only build things that we love. We work and build with passion.
GIPHY helps. We always offer friendly help to anyone who needs it.
GIPHY is a diverse community (internally and externally) that is composed of people from different backgrounds, race, religion, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation, politics, education, class, abilities, and interests. We believe in investing in diversity of thought and experiences within our team to help us build products and make decisions that best serve GIPHY users around the world.
We aim to build inclusive communities, products, and environments where everyone is seen, heard, and valued. GIPHY should be a safe, open space where everyone is welcome to share perspectives, voice concerns, make suggestions, and ultimately succeed.
GIPHY is weird. But in that good weird kind of way. We make weird things that people love. The weirder the better.
GIPHY has a sense of humor. We’re fun and playful but with a post intellectual laugh.
GIPHY never stops. Never stops building, rebuilding, rebuilding, laughing, looping, being who we are.
GIPHY is fair. We believe the world, the internet, the company, everything should be balanced. We strive to be a diverse group of weirdos who create things for everyone.
GIPHY is transparent. We embrace the why and the freedom of information act.