Building In Public: Our First Founders Offsite
Building In Public: Our First Founders Offsite

Megan Murphy Cofounder & CEO

November 2022

When Steph, Mark and I decided to embark on this journey together, we set ourselves the objective to share our wins and failures externally to create a safe space for other first-time founders to learn alongside us.

One of our first projects together was to plan our first founders offsite. Our network provided a lot of great ideas, but we struggled to find any agenda online so thought we’d share ours publicly.

Who, What, Where

Mark and Meg visited Steph in Paris for a long-weekend to work on a few key topics. Steph was wrapping up her last month at Spendesk, so we had 2 action-packed days on Friday and Saturday together!

Here were the topics we covered:

Designing our Culture Canvas — Facilitated by Meg

Inspired by Fearless Culture’s “Culture Design Canvas,” We used this as a framework to shape the conversation around how to articulate Ourspace’s culture — or at least, a v1 of it. The topics we felt strongest about keeping were:

  • Values
  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Feedback Culture
  • Decision Making
  • Prioritization

We had no shortage of ideas on these topics, and ultimately found alignment on all of these topics over the course of a weekend! Here’s Mark and Steph in action 🤩

Preparing for Launch — Facilitated by Steph

Team! Company! Brand! Funding! Product! Community! There’s a lot to be excited about. Pulling everything together to announce our existence is going to require healthy doses of planning and execution. We talked through our priorities for what we actually want to announce for our late September launch, which will help us shape the work we do from July through then.

Some topics were:

  • Which press outlets are a good fit?
  • What are different “angles” of likely press releases?
  • How do we define a successful launch?
  • Where will the product be by launch day?
  • What’s the CTA for interested prospective customers?

Co-founders Agreement — Facilitated by Mark

There’s a lot of wisdom to tap into from folks who’ve walked similar paths before. Taking a cue from Jana Nevrlka’s book Cofounding the Right Way, we decided to dedicate an afternoon to topics that are super important, and rarely urgent. Or rather — they’re only urgent when you’re confronted with a huge challenge. We thought it would be best to embrace some big, hairy topics together from the very beginning so that we know how to work through potential challenges in the future in a way that feels thought-through and respectful. Some of these topics included:

  • How might we handle a situation in which a cofounder isn’t meeting the expectations of the others?
  • How might we work through a situation in which a cofounder’s actions are incongruent with our shared values?
  • How might we work through planned or sudden disability? Or worse?

ℹ️ Next steps: We shared our v1 of our cofounders agreement with a few other cofounders for feedback to see if our approaches were reasonable. Once we had it in a good place, we shared it with our lawyers to transform it into a contract which we all signed.

In one word — Formative

Here, “formative” encompasses a few things:

  • We achieved everything we set out to. This was a pleasant surprise because the topics — especially around the Cofounders Agreement and the Culture Canvas — were heavy and existential. I’m really proud we got to a place that feels both mature and complete.
  • We also had plenty of lunches and dinners and side chats to get to know each other better! Something we can’t wait to do with the whole Ourspace team 🧡
  • Bonus, we got to spend a lot of time with Darwin, Steph’s cat who is on-brand for our Ourspace colors 👇🏽