We are often asked, “Why is Sidewalk so different from other vendors?” CEO Alan Martin didn’t start out with the intent of creating an unusual culture at an enterprise focused on higher ed course materials. He began with the problem, “Why?” — as in “Why are college textbooks so expensive and how could I help bring that cost down?” That was in 2007 and now, nine years later, Sidewalk is intentionally answering those questions with a corporate culture best served to accomplish the solution in innovative and effective ways. Here’s a little window into the Culture Statement that drives and inspires Sidewalk to approach things differently every day.
Complete transcript below:
WE HAVE OPERATING PRINCIPLES TAKEN FROM THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD
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1. Question Authority. No idea is true just because someone says so.
2. Think For Yourself. Question yourself. Don’t believe anything just because you want to. Believing something doesn’t make it so.
3. Test Ideas By The Evidence Gained Through Observation And Experiment. If a favorite idea fails a well designed test, it’s wrong. Get over it.
4. Follow The Evidence Wherever It Leads. If you have no evidence, reserve judgment.
5. Remember, You Could Be Wrong.
Every interaction we have is fueled by the desire for truth. This requires every person to think for themselves and speak for themselves. Anything other than thinking for yourself would be bending to authority. We of course disagree on ideas themselves, maybe furiously, but not in our honest desire for truth. Our mission is very hard. We are surrounded by bureaucracy, decades old traditions and technology, and extremely well-funded competitors. Anything short of the best ideas winning isn’t acceptable when laid against the backdrop of the challenge ahead of us.