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Radical Transparency

Cameron Nuckols
March 13th, 2021 · 1 min read
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Would you shower naked in front of a crowd?

I imagine that most of you would say no. Yet, startups are embracing the idea. Small companies are sharing more about their business models and financials than ever before. In a spirit of transparency, no data or decisions seem to be off limits.

In 2013, Buffer made the bold move of publicly sharing all of its employees’ salaries, positions, and locations. Two years later in an effort to further transparency among startups, Baremetrics started an Open Startups initiative where small companies began sharing their financial secrets.

Since then, it’s become more common for entrepreneurs and makers to share their progress openly in communities such as Indie Hackers.

And startups have benefitted from sharing the intimate details of their businesses. They have more engaged communities, additional opportunities for virality, and—it would seem—fewer skeletons in their closets.

These trends have driven businesses forward, and I’m curious to watch how they evolve over the next decade.

Will companies take transparency to a whole new level? My prediction is that they will. The next level of transparency, what I like to call radical transparency, will include sharing more than MRR and monthly churn numbers.

Imagine Clubhouse-hosted meetings where companies involve their users in the day-to-day operations of the company. What would it look like if customers could listen in on and directly engage in meetings? Or drop in to listen to the company all-hands meeting?

Customers will grow into an even more loyal fan base. With increased visibility inside of companies, companies will [hopefully] make better decisions and be incentivized to put their customers first.

But how far is too far? Does the world of business need radical transparency?


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