How We’re Building Our Team: Cultural Norms


Liz Gray

Head of Community

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

November 5, 2021

Big things have happened since the last post about our work building company culture. We’ve introduced some new birds into the Pagos ecosystem, announced a seed funding round, established PCI compliance for the first time as a company, and held our first (virtual) team gathering with US-based teammates. We’ll share what we’ve learned and discussed as well as the direction we’re heading over another few posts.

Here is our set of initial cultural norms:

  • Being relentlessly dedicated to our customers – they are why we are doing this

  • Celebrating diverse identities and perspectives

  • Valuing our people and operating pragmatically, not dogmatically

  • Operating with high energy, a positive outlook, and a passion to make things better at every opportunity

  • Working from anywhere

  • Making space to play and explore; if we can’t have fun, why bother?

To illustrate the challenges associated with these commitments, let’s look deeper into a few of them.

Being relentlessly dedicated to our customers – they are why we are doing this

We’ve all had an experience with a brand—good or bad—that sticks with us, and we probably tell people about it over and over. The Peak-end Rule sums up what’s happening here as a shortcut: our judgement of an experience is determined by how we felt at its peak and its end—two data points—rather than as an average across the entire event.

So how do we ensure we’re building and delivering exceptional experiences our customers want,  need, and love? One obvious way is to listen and be responsive to them. Our core team has had a lot of time to do that, and Pagos was built to address those learnings by people who know the industry. Another way (and a personal favorite) is what I think of as an inside-out approach: how you build and support your team manifests itself in your products and/or services, so you have to put time and effort into building and maintaining a diverse, connected, and growth-oriented team.

Celebrating diverse identities and perspectives

We’re currently a small team of predominantly white people. We went to our networks to get things started in part because payments is a specialized area that takes time to ramp up in, and we have a lot of ground to cover. That is not a justification. It is an acknowledgement. We know where we are at, and we have to do the work to hire a broader array of voices and experiences. If all you do is focus on hiring more diverse teammates, that is not enough. So we also have the work of ensuring our onboarding process, training, and professional development opportunities are clear and help folks get where they want to go from where they are currently at.

Working from anywhere

We’ve seen a lot on the subject of remote work coming from a number of different positions. Pagos is remote-first and sees it as a team advantage, though it isn’t without its challenges. For example, our CTO is based in Singapore which is 13 hours ahead of me, so either he or I are going to be working outside of a standard 9-5 if we want to connect live. Same goes for someone who decides to travel and work from a different location. We have to adapt our working styles and approaches as part of taking advantage of working from anywhere.

Community building and payments make for challenging work, and it’s work worth doing. We’ll keep this conversation going to share more thoughts and learnings on building a healthy working culture and would love to hear from you! Reach out with feedback, topic suggestions, and/or questions.

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