This post is one of the first things that new employees read upon joining our team.

Hello! Welcome! We are very excited to have you as a member of the Fishtown Analytics team. If you’ve been extended an offer to join our team, this is roughly how your teammates feel as they’ve anticipated your arrival:

We don’t hire people we are ambivalent about!

I wanted to take this opportunity, before you get sucked up into the day-to-day routines of your new job, to share a bit about the way we think.

We’re a bit unusual in how we think about running a business. The ways in which we’re unusual are all quite intentional, and they’re all directly related to our mission. We hope that, over time, you absorb this mentality too—it makes us who we are and impacts everything that we do.

We are mission-driven

Fishtown Analytics was founded with a very specific mission: to improve the way that data analysts do their jobs. We believe that data analysis should be practiced in a workflow that closely resembles software engineering, and we founded Fishtown Analytics to bring this vision to life.

Everything that we spend a meaningful amount of time on relates directly back to this mission. Our consulting work supports our mission in two separate but equally important ways:

  1. It allows us to test how our ideas work when they come into contact with reality. We’re not interested in how analytics should work in theory, we want to change the way it’s done in practice. Deploying our workflow in dozens of teams across the world allows us to constantly iterate on our workflow and tools.
  2. It provides the cash we need to fund the entire business. This is seemingly obvious, but it’s critical: every mission-driven company needs a way to support itself or no one could afford to work on the mission!

Our work building dbt and its ecosystem of tools is mission-critical: without tools like dbt and Sinter, it’s prohibitively difficult for most analysts to truly work like software developers.

Our work writing about analytics is focused on building awareness of our ideas. When we spend our time writing, we do it to win over new adherents to our view of the world.

We make mission-driven decisions

Whenever you have a decision to make, think about our mission first. If you think about your decision with our mission front and center, you will be thinking about it with the same frame that Connor, Drew, and I have.

This focus on mission shows itself in almost every decision we make, and it is this practice of consistently focusing on the mission that defines us. Here are just a few instances.

  • Growth. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be very successful when it comes to marketing and sales. As a result, we’ve had more client demand than we could satisfy for most of our life as a business. We choose to grow slowly because our mission is not to become the biggest consulting company in the world. Revenue is a tool towards achieving our mission, not the mission itself.
  • Consulting project selection. We don’t choose our consulting clients based on who will pay us the most money, we choose them based on how much we can learn from them. We never accept projects when that project wouldn’t allow us the opportunity to deploy our workflow.
  • Owner distributions. We’re a privately owned company, with Drew, Connor, and I owning 100% of the shares. We pay ourselves enough to be comfortable and reinvest the rest in the business. We didn’t start Fishtown to make a ton of money, we started it to pursue a mission.
  • Work hours. We believe that our mission will take a long time to achieve. We think in decades, not days. When you think about your work, think about it like a marathon, not a sprint. There may be times when you stay up late finishing up a project, but we truly want you to work 40 hours a week. Don’t tire yourself out in the first mile.

These are company-defining decisions, but there are many small ways in which your day-to-day decisions will be driven by our mission as well. You should find yourself thinking about it almost every time you have to make a tradeoff. If you’re ever curious how Drew, Connor, Erin, or I would think about the mission-related tradeoffs of a decision you’re facing, please ask us! We’d love to have that conversation any time at all.

That’s just the beginning!

There’s no way I could possibly relate all of the small ways in which our mission animates the way we think about the world in a single post. My goal here, instead, is to create the mental framework for you. This is who we are, and we take it very seriously. It’s why we get out of bed in the morning. And it’s why we’re excited that you’re joining the team.

I don’t want you to show up at work every day so that I can buy a nicer car. I want you to help us innovate on the way that millions of data analysts do their jobs. We’re not saving the world, but hopefully we’re leaving a ripple in the pond.