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Key Values – Find Engineering Teams That Share Your Values (keyvalues.com)
146 points by peter_d_sherman 24 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 61 comments

TBH I'm more willing to see a negative filter on these claimed team-values. "Risk over stability" may sound attractive for me (as well as many new grads to polish their resumes) several years ago, until you realize it's just an analog to "move fast and break things" and we all witnessed its side-efferts.

I had a similar (although cynical reading):

Flat hierarchies: Chaotic leadership / implicit and unwritten hierarchies with CEO's favorites.

Values diversity: Politicised office focusing on SJW issues and quotas, not diversity.

Fosters psychological safety: Empowers toxic characters to bring their drama into work.

Empirically, from the limited placements I have seen, the more a workplace outwardly focuses on one of these aspects, the more they are ridden by toxic tribalism/outrage culture.

I came here to say the same thing. There are some attributes that would be red flags to me, and it would be helpful to filter out companies that select them.

Exactly, such as "uses agile methodologies".

Also, I would like to select for less subjective factors like "private offices", not "thoughtful office layout".

More granular filtering would be helpful. I bet from some companies point of view thoughtful layout equals open space.

That was my immediate reaction too. If a team promotes some of these values, I'd want nothing to do with them.

Is there an explicit filter for negation? "Want / Don't want / Don't care", as opposed to just "Want / Don't care".

I'd love to be able to filter for more explicit versions of work/life balance. For example, if I could find a job with a 4-day work week and 6 weeks of PTO, I'd sign up in a heartbeat.

Instead the companies on this site that value work/life balance say things like "there is a lot of interest in fitness, nutrition, biohacking, and meditation" which is kind of meaningless to me.

Sounds like that company’s definition doesn’t resonate with you. Perfect. Now you know not to even bother applying.

You might find more of what you’re looking for here:


Not sure if this is helpful, but IMO this might be due to a US/Europe disconnect (?).

4-day work week, 6 weeks off is within negotiable distance in Switzerland (from personal experience - have worked 4day/5weeks before).

The extra 1-2 weeks PTO (on top of the legally mandated 4) are typical for larger enterprises such as governmental work or the postal system.

I believe having the company explain the value is the idea, since values could mean something different to everyone.

Yeah for sure. I just wish I could filter by fine-grained ideas instead of having to read 30 paragraphs to find what I'm looking for.

Great idea. When I started making selections[-] I expected filter-like behavior. I was surprised to see the results increasing with each selection.

I'd rather configure my filters and provide contact info to be notified when an org satisfies my criteria.

[-] Filters: Flat Organization; Supports Physical Wellness; Light Meetings; Open Source Contributor; Has Internship Program; Engineering Driven; Remote Ok.

Sounds like Mozilla.

The more values I select, the more matches I get. This should be the other way around.

It should be an AND filter on the values.

Trust me, once I have enough teams to make using AND logic a good user experience, I will!

If you don't have enough teams for AND to be a good user experience, NOT might be a better user experience.

Count matches, sort, and then put separators between different levels of matching.

So the top of the list would be companies with 8 matches, then there is a separator, then there are companies with 7 matches, then there is a separator, and so on... all the way down to zero matches. The list is always everything, but the sort order changes.

I figured that was why it was an OR right now too.

It’s nice to see unique approaches and improvements to the traditional job board. And from a bootstrapped solo founder as well! Kudos!

Something I would like is a filter for industry or business model. A company’s values are largely driven by the company’s mission. For example, companies selling software to power weapons versus medical diagnostics speak to our values just as much as things like work-life balance, or nonviolent communication.

One of the most difficult things for me when searching for new opportunities is having to figure out what each company actually does before I begin to evaluate whether there’s a culture fit.

This is a cool idea but the utility really hinges on the quality and quantity of the data. How many companies are represented here, and how do they get on the list? Who decides whether they meet each of the criteria?

Also, it would be nice to be able to select a geographic region first.

Or "Remote" as a region.


It seems to be self-reported by the startup and curated by the Key:Values staff.

Key Values' staff is just me, Lynne. (Hi there!) Companies self-select the 8 values that best describe their engineering culture, and then I work closely w/ them to qualify them. All of the content is curated, and it takes a lot of time, care, and thought to put together.

To answer the original question (Who decides whether they meet each of the criteria?), the answer is you, the reader. "Work/life balance" can mean any number of things, and people often forget that there are countless ways to define a given term. The goal is for teams to describe what it means to them and let interested applicants decide whether it resonates w/ them.

Besides not having everything ALL IN UPPERCASE SHOUTING UNREADABLE I'd like to see:

dogs at work



asperger's tolerant

stability > risk-taking

no inclusion/diversity shaming

not taking work home

short work hours

no wellness shaming

open floor plan

offices with doors

life-critical (autopilot, pacemaker, etc.)

uses waterfall methodologies

uses proven technologies

slow-paced environment

long-term stable company size

does timecards

works for military

hires felons

> no wellness shaming

What does this mean?

Some people really like donuts and beer. Some people smoke. Some people are fat.

Many companies pester people about health habits.

That's really the insurance company providing the health coverage pestering people.

Out of curiosity, how do you deal with (the many) companies that say their values are A, B, C when they're actually X, Y, Z? (I don't want to name shame prior companies I've worked with but this mismatch struck me as a fairly common occurrence.)

my guess is not at all. it depends on how he charges for the service. since it's not applicants or job seekers paying, the agenda is set by their clients. no matter what the marketing says the values and how it is optimized gets defined by those who pay.

I think it makes sense to ask companies to explicitly list cultural values they prioritize the most as well as what they value the least. Evaluating/creating a company culture is in a way really about understanding what the tradeoffs and sacrifices are.

Are any of these criteria specific to engineering? I was expecting things like "writing tests" or "code reviews mandatory". All of these things apply to anyone and everyone; you can have literally any specialty in an environment that's "good for parents" or has "open communication".

Some of the values are specific to software engineering (i.e. pair programming, agile methodologies), but it’s more that the profiles are of the engineering team(s) within a given company.

As you can imagine, there are subcultures within an organization and just because all of the parents on the marketing team take advantage of paid family leave doesn’t mean the parents on the engineering team do. If I were say a 30yo woman planning to have my first child in the near future, I’d like to know if there were any parents on the eng team I was about to join.

Similarly, open communication on sales probably looks pretty different than it does for devs.

The values are from the perspective of an engineer evaluating different employment opportunities. What would you or I want for our day-to-day and from our future teammates?

Yah none of those really do it for me. I mean sure they sound good, but I know it is just another form of "inclusivity" which is really there to exclude.

I don't like imposing my values on people, least of all at work, nor having them imposed on me. But that isn't an option, so sort of a forced poll.

Oh, and the number expands the more you click, so not very useful...

edit, where is the checkbox that says "doesn't make bloated 3mb (compressed) cheezy websites"?

I want to see the employees' perceptions of these values so that I know if these are actually the values.

Some kind of (anonymised) user rating of how each value is applied in the company would make a lot of sense.

This would allow to assess the truthfulness of such claims

Name is brilliant. Well done.

Any way to exclude companies that participate in user tracking networks? Or are they excluded by default?

Given so much discussion on this topic, the first thing I looked for was whether there was a reference to whether a company does timed code pair interviews and white boarding, or uses some other method (paid trial period, take home test, etc). Would that be worth adding?

Doesn’t work on my phone iPhone. Hard to read labels. Overall nice effort but as others mentioned this needs to be AND filtered. Perhaps add some anonymous review capability so employees can actually reflect on whether those values are real or bs.

It's certainly an interesting idea, but from my experience, most companies I worked for had values that were primarily all talk and weren't really substantial. Especially when things like 'Open Communication' and 'Fast-paced environment' mean completely different things to different people. Every company describes themselves as having 'impressive team members'. I'm not sure how this would help me actually find a company with the desired values when companies are able to say whatever they want about themselves.

>'Open Communication'

One of previous companies had this as a value. It was a startup, 5 engineers and the VP. You were expected to give honest critical feedback as well as positive, and were expected to receive both critical and positive feedback. It actually worked really well. There wasn't any politics, just people trying to become better engineers and deliver a quality product.

Over a couple years we grew to 15-20 engineers, and devolved in to people writing multi-page emails to the VP, criticizing their colleagues (minor, or hard-to-measure things like "they don't refactor enough", or "they're happy writing poor quality code". Colleagues found out, and weren't happy a pier went behind they're back to criticize them to their manager. The VP didn't do anything, "Open Communication" was a core value, how can communicating problems be bad?

Moral of the story is, even when a company has a good value, it still doesn't really tell you anything about them. All it takes one person to abuse it for their own gain, and a manager who can tell the difference, and it all falls apart.

>The VP didn't do anything

More important than values, is the leadership that writes, promotes, and enforces those values. I'd personally like to see a website, more trustworthy and hard-hitting than glassdoor, which critiques leadership.

Hmm... a non-commercial glassdoor-alike is an interesting proposition.


Replied to a comment below that touches on this, but the whole point is for teams to explain what things like “Open Communication” and “Fast-Paced Environment” mean to them. You can read how each team qualifies each of their value selections.

Companies are limited to choosing 8 values and they’re also asked to rank them in order of importance. You’ll notice that many teams don’t select “Impressive Team Members.”

Most of my skepticism is not tied to the ambiguity of certain values but the discrepancy of what people claim to be the values, versus what actually happens day-to-day.

I don't mean to come off critical of your product. Your goals are admirable and you've made a lot of progress. I just don't think I could trust total strangers that their company truly is all about _____ or ____.

I love the name though! It's clever

Is the Key:Values team (nice choice of name by the way!) familiar with Bryan Cantrill's talk on 'Principles of Technology Leadership'?


It seems to resonate pretty closely with what you're building, so if it helps align or educate anyone (candidates, recruiters, or the team) that'd be neat.

Edit: FWIW, the talk uses the term 'principle' to indicate what your site calls a 'value'; in practice I've seen tech companies talk about their 'core values' and so I think yours is very valid.

Ah, I read that the team is you at the moment :) Either way, hope it might help!

It might be interesting to let actual verified employees by having a company email, anonymously give feedback on whether or not the company lives up to its values

I tend to work with many (and for small startups, all) of the current engineers on the team to write their profile. I also encourage companies to incorporate honest statements from their team members and provide links to their Github / LinkedIn / Twitter so that people can contact them if they want to reach out.

I never found Glassdoor super helpful during my searches, so I didn’t go that route.

I would love to be able to link to the selection I just made.

Something simple like https://www.keyvalues.com/#123-456-522 would be really great to share this with friends and colleagues.

Very interesting idea! It reminds me of this talk from Bryan Cantril


Even though there are international companies on there, anything similar like this for UK specific companies?

Wouldn't it also be useful to include companies that have conservative leanings?

Missing the most important filter of all: No Leet-code style white-board interviewing.

How about stuff like caring for user's privacy and no ads in the products?

Love the name.

Why there is no option for diverse team but no option for very homogenous team? I find that homogenous teams perform much better and responsible for most of the products and innovations you see today, how come there is no option to choose something that proved itself so well in the past?

Even if any company wanted to advertise that, it probably would be incredibly unwise to do so for many reasons, but particularly because it's going to look really, really bad in court if they ever get sued for employment discrimination.

homogenous in what way? i’m curious.

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