From "Connected (with Abe + Isaac) — Volume 27"

But then something must have changed in me I don't fear it anymore Now I'm sure I'm sure

24 hours

Locksmith is actively used by 8,500 online stores. It is powered by a staff of four. Five, as of this Monday, and even five is not a large number of humans, for a customer base of this size.

We’re able to do this because, at every point of growth, we have remained hell-bent on keeping our individual relationships to this thing healthy. Each of us, as individuals; in Lightward, the first responsibility is always one’s own health.

One of our tools: email-only support, and a 24-hr response time target. Or, to talk about it by contrast: we don’t do chat support, and we don’t have people you can reach 24 hours out of the day.

Effects of this:

We get to design our days, on a rolling 24-hour clock. An email that arrived five minutes ago has zero executive control over what I do with my next five minutes. Or my next 23 hours, even. At every point, I get to survey all the work that there is to be done, and decide when in the next 24 hours I want to do it.

We throw a wrench in the urgency spiral. This is something that came to my attention just this week. The internet evolves to improve response times—literally, in your browser, but also the response time of humans that you contact via the internet. This isn’t a bad thing. But it gives rise to a spiral, in which I see your haste and raise you my own, and that is toxic. Our 24-hour policy placidly says no, we will not be participating in that.

We attract customers who can work with this, and repel those who won’t. Standard entrepreneurial wisdom holds that one should find their niche, and optimize for it. This is sort of the operational inverse of that: we exhibit a very niche behavior, with this policy, and the people who are down for that are the ones who stay. At this point, eleven years into this work, we have a substantial customer base that is 100% down for this pace.

We leave people room to solve their own problems. A surprising number of cases are resolved even before we even get to them. People have learned to lean on customer support—and again, this isn’t a bad thing. But it turns out that people will often ask for help before testing their own limits, and if we give them some space, they’ll often solve their own problem—and come away with greater knowledge to leverage in the future.

I think of almost everything as a matter of tuning. With the 24-hour policy, we tune the way we work, we tune the way people work with us, and we tune the kind of energy that’s in the air around the whole thing. The behavior of Lightward’s energy varies, based on where it’s applied, but here in customer support we are deliberate, measured, and kind—a very particularly opinionated sort of kind that takes a longer view than trying to make you happy right this second. :) This sort of kind has the long-term relationship in mind; we optimize for expansive health, being expansive even with the expanse, defining it to include time itself.

I'm sure

Originally sent out via email

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