CSS Week 7: People and Culture, PMF, and Bello's Offsite

Adam Levy
May 1, 2023

Recap of Week 7 of Crypto Startup School (CSS)

Welcome back to our recap of CSS Week 7! This week was all about people and culture, and we learned a lot about how to build and grow a great company culture, how to find and hire the right people, and how to find and maintain product market fit.

Day 1: Jeanne Tsan from Airbnb on Culture

On Day 1, we had the pleasure of hearing from Jeanne Tsan, a people operations expert who previously worked at Airbnb. Jeanne talked about various metrics like how 30% of your hiring budget should be dedicated to employee expenses all the way to culture and values and how you should consistently articulate it to yourself. You should really take the time to establish your mission and vision and most importantly, build a company identity.

Jeanne also talked about workplace culture and how Airbnb has a really great culture specifically around the rituals that they do. They do stuff like mustache Mondays, they do a tea time Tuesdays, and all these other like fun activities that have like a play on words to kind of keep morale high and to keep the fun alive at Airbnb.

Later in the day, Daisy Linden, a leader in employee relations for Coinbase, talked about how to grow your team and manage company culture. She outlined five key lessons that she learned at Coinbase: write down your values, be flexible, communicate the values clearly, follow through, and realign when needed.

Day 2: Diving Deeper on People

Daisy Linden on what she learned so far with leading People and Culture at Coinbase.
Daisy Linden on what she learned so far with leading People and Culture at Coinbase.

On Day 2, we dove deeper into finding and hiring the right people. Daisy Linden returned to talk more about how to find and hire the right people and how to build a great company culture, while Kristen Kee, who leads culture at Uniswap, talked about how to foster a great company culture and how to keep your employees engaged.

Ellie and Adam had an intimate conversation with Daisy Linden and Kristen Kee afterward to go through what we wanted our first team offsite to look like. We received constructive feedback and actionable tips that helped us plan our trip. The highlight of the day was a talk by Jason Rosenthal, a partner at a16z who focuses on go-to-market strategy. He talked about his entrepreneurial journey and his experience with building and growing startups. Jason also talked about the importance of finding and maintaining product market fit and how to delight your customers.

Bello's First Team Retreat

Ellie and I took what we learned at CSS this week and applied it to Bello’s first team retreat. We spent four days in Newport Beach, California, getting to know each other while working through the next phase of Bello. On Thursday, we drove up to the beach town and set the tone with the team for what was to come over the course of the next four days.

On Friday, we had a more open dialogue format where the team was encouraged to ask honest questions. We also had a more relaxed day where we could bond and get to know each other better. On Saturday and Sunday, we spent all day heads down together, and on Monday, we focused on reflecting on what we had learned and what we wanted to achieve going forward.

What's Next

This week couldn’t have better aligned with our goals for bringing our team together under one roof. Going into the week, we didn’t know what to expect, but Jeanne, Daisy, and Kristen came in clutch with helping us set the tone. We learned a lot from them about people and culture, and couldn’t have been happier with how our offsite panned out.

Week 8 is kicking off tomorrow, so stay tuned for another recap!

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