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Progression at Meeshkan
Don't let the fact that we develop the world's best AI-powered software testing product fool you - Meeshkan is a pretty boring company. Our day-to-day work consists of reading and writing code, designing, authoring documentation, listening to clients and working with our suppliers.
At the same time, Meeshkan is exceptional. The shareholders of Meeshkan are comfortable with the value of their shares being defined by a variety of indices, of which only one is the share's fair market value. We foster a culture where managers and employees regularly make decisions that are enacted irrespective of, and sometimes to the detriment of, the company's profitability or growth. This creates a different form of value for our shareholders - one that exists outside the bounds of money and that reenforces a set of core principles to which we adhere.
Employment and progression are two areas where this philosophy is borne out. In the company, we want to see a diversity of perspectives, gender identities, ethnicities, nationalities, skill sets, and ideologies. We make it a point to hire people who subscribe to, or are at least comfortable with, these values. While decisions resulting from this hiring policy have traditionally had a positive impact on Meeshkan's share price, there have also been times when the fair market value of our shares has declined as a result of these policies. At these junctures, our deontological posture regularly wins out over forseeable capital gain. We do this because we, as individuals, believe that the world is not quite right in its current form, and that by using our position of privilege to build an inclusive workforce and contributing our resources to deserving causes, we can help improve the world.
Fair compensation is an important part of helping individuals grow during their time with our company, and determining how much money someone is going to make is often more art than science. We want this to be a collaborative process and not an adversarial one.
We do a lot of research regarding market compensation. We routinely ask candidates questions about their pay and competitive offers, discuss this with heads of engineering in other companies, use market data from large recruiting firms and pay attention to industry-wide polls. We understand regional differences and have a good idea of the ranges that a company similar to Meeshkan pays individuals and constantly update our knowledge. If you run a team and would like to compare your numbers to ours, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A significant portion of one's compensation comes in Meeshkan stock options. However, we do not assign dollar value to those or consider them to do compensation math, other than for the case when we offer you a range of possible salaries and a range of possible stock compensation. We often let you choose high equity and low cash, or low equity and high cash, which shifts down or up your target market value by the difference in dollars between your choice and fair market compensation. We determine the amount of stock options at the time of your joining and you may also receive subsequent grants with the goal of always providing you a fair amount of stock appropriate to your ladder at the moment of the grant.
Performance evaluation at Meeshkan is linked to two factors:
- the level(s) at which one works; and
- the degree to which one supports and fosters the company's values.
A "level", in Meeshkan-speak, is a description of how one functions in terms of speed, quality, autonomy and radiance of execution. While the four tend to be tightly coupled, it is always possible that someone will produce fast work of poor quality, slow work with high autonomy, etc. Levels in general are defined by the lowest index - if someone produces fast, autonomous, radiant work of low quality, it is level-1 work.
Each level is linked to a salary range, and where one falls in the range is dictated by how the person matches with the company's values. At a minimum, it is expected that every employee will abide by the company's values. On the higher side of the range are employees that make an active effort to promote our values, like seeking out a great hire from an underrepresented group or presenting a stellar conference presentation.
- Speed: Not assigned time sensitive tasks, and speed of execution is usually agreed upon with a more senior team member. There's generally a Plan B in case a task can't be completed.
- Autonomy: Needs consistent mentorship, does not take on toom uch responsibility, and needs tasks assigned in a broken-down and clear manner.
- Quality: Creates projects that have the functionality that is required, but needs help from others to audit their work.
- Radiance: Creates in a way that those familiar with a project can understand. May require cleanup afterwards for comprehensibility and clarity from a more senior member of the team.
- Speed: Alternates between long-term projects with flexible deadlines and short-term tasks where they define their own delivery schedule.
- Autonomy: Is autonomous in their work, pulls others in only for specific asks, and occasionally mentors other workers.
- Quality: High quality work that would proudly be part of a CV or portfolio if open-sourced.
- Radiance: Is able to move work to a point where it is eventually understood by relevant members of the company, and work is generally clean, although it's understood that it would take the company time to digest and understand the work if the person leaves.
- Speed: Knows how to scope tasks so that no one individual task takes more than 2-3 days. Is able to scope out tasks so that they are deployable when finished. Comfortable taking on time sensitive work, especially client-related deadlines.
- Autonomy: Owns swaths of the roadmap, makes and assigns tasks to self and orchestrates others' work as needed, is able to course-correct to achieve business goals, and routinely mentors others.
- Quality: Work is standard-setting and is regularly referenced and emulated by others both inside and outside of the company.
- Radiance: Creates as if the world is watching, constantly loops others in, documents and tests everything, and is self-effacing in their work. Once the work is finished, it is owned as much by others as it is by them.
Across all Ls, Meeshkan follows roughly a 60-20-20 split of how we split up our task-based time.
- 60% of time is spent on core, mission-critical tasks. These are usually time bounded, and we set them up to protect against failure as much as possible.
- 20% of time is spent on research projects, quasi-artistic creations and/or longstanding tasks that they believe will make the company better. These can straddle the fence between quixotic and practical, aspirational and reflexive, intuitive and fact-based. They can be based on vague premonitions. While striving for success, it is ok to fail in research or creation, as long as the knowledge is shared.
- 20% of time is spent on whatever they want. Education, open-source, or business-as-usual. The only ask is that it could potentially benefit others. If it is open-source, it should be on the company's GitHub. If it is education, the learnings should be shared with some other group inside or outside the company.
While the 60% (core) and 20% (research) should pertain to the individual's domains as agreed upon by the team, the other 20% can be anything.
Outside this split falls things like retros, standups, sprint planning, team days, interviews, customer support, 1-on-1s and anything else that exists on a round-robin or all-hands-on-deck schedule.