Xanadu has eight values that drive our culture, habits, decision making and ways of working. They are deeply embedded in everything we do to achieve our mission: to build quantum computers that are useful and available to people everywhere.
Enjoying our work
- Waking up each day and loving what we do. It doesn’t mean every day will be like that but more often than not we wouldn’t want to do anything else.
- Have fun and don’t take ourselves too seriously. Also work on finding a balance where we can switch off our minds from work when needed.
- If money was not an issue, would we still be happy working here? Things like media attention and recognition are always fleeting and a poor measure of success. Loving what we do goes deeper and lasts much longer.
- Another important consequence of loving what we do is being more immune to failure. What we are doing is something extremely hard, the classic moon shot. Because it is so hard to do, there is a chance of failure and that means there will be ups and downs. Having a foundation not in the outcome but in working on what we love, will be key.
“The ultimate dream in life is to be able to do what you love and learn something from it.” — Jennifer Love Hewitt
Learning every day
- It’s important that we are learning every day and therefore are improving and getting better every day.
- Thinking back at the end of the day or week and asking if we have learnt something can be very meaningful.
- The motivation to want to learn everyday usually comes from an intense curiosity to understand the world around us.
- Having the mindset of being curious and wanting to learn allows people to be aligned with the mission in a cooperative manner. This can lead to a feeling of cooperation rather than trying to outcompete each other.
“Never stop learning.” — Richard Feynman
Attention to detail
- Attention to detail will be key to our success. It’s perhaps impossible to find someone who achieved something great who didn't have a near extreme attention to detail.
- Attention to detail shows that we take pride and care in our work.
- No detail, for the most part, should be too small. In building something as difficult as a quantum computer, this healthy obsession to details will bring us a long way to achieving our goals.
- There needs to be a careful balance between moving quickly and unnecessary perfectionism. It is important to be mindful of that boundary, and include it in your assessment of when a project is complete.
“To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail.” — Giorgio Armani
Commitment to excellence
- Have a commitment to excellence, as best we can. There’s a real art and joy in mastering something and being hardcore about it.
- The concept of striving for excellence is strongly correlated with the concepts of taking care and pride in our work. A complete lack of excellence will most surely lead to failure.
- Another aspect that goes hand-in-hand with excellence is the desire to strive for something truly great backed by a healthy obsession. In order to achieve such a goal, persistence and going the extra mile are two key elements.
“Excellence isn’t a one-week or one-year ideal. It’s a constant.” — Michael Jordan
Sense of urgency
- A sense of urgency and execution is what will successfully keep pushing us forward.
- We have a bias towards action.
- Execution is not necessarily related to results. It's more outcome independence, i.e., we don’t worry too much about the outcome of achieving a goal. But rather you lay the right foundation to achieve that goal and let the chips fall wherever they may.
- If we put all the hard work and execution into something and don’t achieve the desired outcome, then that’s okay because what more could we have done?
“Make haste slowly.” — Anonymous
- Emotional intelligence is key to building a long lasting company with healthy relationships, contented people and little turnover. Emotions are a fundamental human characteristic but need not dictate how we react, make decisions and communicate with people.
- By using and developing emotional intelligence, both in the individual and as a team, we're better equipped to better interpret our emotional responses and reactions to make better decisions, have stronger team connections, and healthier collaborations.
- It is important that we work towards improving ourselves and at the same time don’t be too hard on ourselves (or others) when we do fail.
- The more in tuned we become with our emotions the more we can respond better and react constructively.
“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” — Warren Buffet
- A culture of listening more than speaking. Try to reduce the times we interrupt — this is especially important when talking to customers.
- Work on not letting your ego get in the way and share credit. Phrasing things as “ours” rather than “mine” or “I”. Also it’s okay to say “I don’t know” or “I’m not sure”. Create a culture of asking people to do things rather than telling them to do things.
- Transparency and openness: if there are issues they are brought up immediately and openly. Note that there will be times when you cannot be fully transparent (e.g., salaries, employee’s health, etc.).
- Listen to rational arguments, evaluate them thoughtfully and make measured changes as a result, even when the conclusions are contrary to our existing opinion.
- Finally, it is extremely important that we have the freedom to give our opinions and to say what we think.
“You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” — Benjamin Franklin
- Impermanence means that nothing lasts forever. Depending on our perspective this may seem quite negative. But actually it is neither good nor bad — really just a fact of life.
- Impermanence allows us to not be complacent. Someone once said that a successful company should always be trying to destroy itself. Because this is what your competitors are trying to do.
- This should lead to constant innovation and the ability to take measured risks and to fail sometimes.
- Impermanence is perhaps at the heart of this because you realize that good times never last and thankfully, neither do bad times.
“It is not impermanence that makes us suffer. What makes us suffer is wanting things to be permanent when they are not.” — Nhat Hanh