For this second instalment, I explain why I believe in open cultures. It turns out that rather than simply being insane, I actually have a rationale for this belief. Three reasons, in fact.

Sorry about the volume – it’s a bit loud! Will try and put the mic slightly further next time.


  • Why is this worth asking? Because you should always understand where your beliefs come from? Where did you get the data? Are the people who gave you that data biased?
  • I can see three main angles/reasons:
  • First one is internal, inside of me: I believe that we should treat each other in this way, with respect, as adults, allowing each other to have responsibility. I fundamentally believe that transparency is a better way of operating than secrecy. I believe this goal is valid in and of itself, regardless of the practical considerations.
  • Secondly: evidence from other businesses. Some people react to open culture concepts with enthusiasm, some with skepticism. Some feel that it just won’t scale, we’ll have to stop at some point. There is, however, a fair amount of evidence of companies that are much larger than GrantTree, operating with open principles: AES, Semco, Valve, Github, Zappos, MorningStar, Buurtzorg, Medium…
  • These businesses are in all sorts of different fields, all sorts of different sizes, implementing open organisations at scale. So feedback that “it just won’t work” can’t be taken at face value.
  • Thirdly: GrantTree itself! I can see what this open culture thing does to people around me. I can see that the continued focus on transparency has had a massive, positive, transformative effect on GrantTree’s culture. It’s kept things moving, progressing all the time, never too static. That’s enabled people to be happier. I can see that for myself, first-hand.
  • With these three angles, you can see where my belief in open cultures comes from: internal belief, external, indirect evidence, and external, direct evidence.