Public By Default


Communication is public-by-default at Tremendous. This doc explains what this means, why we do it, and how to uphold this principle.

Why public-by-default?

Public-by-default means that we’d like our intra-team communications to be public and visible to anyone on the team by default. This doesn’t mean that all comms are public— there are obviously exceptions. 

It means, though, that when you’re opening up a channel of communication or a new document, assume it should be public, and find specific reasons for why it should be private, rather than the other way around.

We do this because public-by-default:

Upholds our values Public-by-default is an expression of our company values around transparency and autonomy. It ensures that the team has access to as much information as possible. Access to information is the lifeblood of a high-autonomy work environment.

Makes our team more effective Public-by-default communications help us build a more effective team by doing a few things:

  • Making it easy access to project state
    • Anyone working on a project adjacency or curious about goings-on within a specific project area can look at a slack channel or a set of documents, and get a birds-eye understanding of what’s going on.
  • Enabling serendipitous interactions
    • Someone may have context or relevant expertise to some project or idea. Public communications make it easier for that person to jump in and provide suggestions, whereas if the comms were private they wouldn’t have known about the project’s existence.
  • Helping assimilate new employees
    • This gives new employees the ability to browse channels and docs, and to absorb practices for how people do things at Tremendous.
  • Developing our team
    • Reviewing public communications helps the team understand how different parts of the business work.

There are obvious exceptions:

  • Anything personnel related
  • Recruiting conversations
  • Friendly / non-work communications
  • Other sensitive discussions that affect other employees (compensation, etc)

This isn’t a hard and fast rule— we hired you in part for your judgment, so use it. If in doubt, ask Kapil or Nick.

Upholding public-by-default

Recording and transcribing meetings

  • Record internal meetings except for 1:1s. You can do this by adding assistant@gong.ai to those meetings. This helps preserve our anti-meeting culture by enabling people who did not participate in those meetings to gain context.
    • If a meeting has more than 2 people in it, it should likely be recorded.
  • Most external meetings are documented as well, unless highly sensitive.

While communicating

  • Keep team communications in a public place, rather than a private channel or DM
    • When starting a new project, create a new project channel with the prefix #project- (e.g. #project-nsf)
  • Default team slack conversations to a public channel.
  • Post updates in public slack channels
  • When creating a new public channel, announce its creation in another, more broadly subscribed public channel (e.g. announcing #proj-core-models-refactor in #talent-engineers)
  • Keep Notion docs public and searchable

As an onlooker

  • You are the manager of your own attention. Leave or mute channels that are providing information you don’t need.
  • Participate thoughtfully. Don’t derail discussions where you are an observer.
  • Don’t disincentivize the practice. Recognize your status as a “welcome guest” and be kind with your thoughts / participation. Don’t seagull — swoop into a doc, shit on it, and leave.