The Cultural Basis of Awake

I’ve written before, and I say it all the time: Awake is different.

Here’s a good review on the journey so far. We’ll begin to talk about culture and scaling companies over a series of posts, and in this one, we’ll begin with the basis of Awake.

Awake is about people.

Awake is a people-powered network of networks, a market of markets.

And indeed, Awake is structured as a company of companies.

Entrepreneurs are Different

Awake is already a great company. I say this because we have amazing people at each node of our network.

Awake may not be for everyone, but each and every individual we have today in the Great Awake Network are all without exception, exceptional. They’re also experts at various aspects of successfully starting, running, and scaling global businesses. In other words, they’re entrepreneurs by blood.

Entrepreneurs are the crazy ones.

They’re the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers.

They’re the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently.

You might enjoy this minute long video below, it gives me goosebumps everytime I watch it, even today.

Awake is built on this very simple fact: the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

It takes something unique to create something from nothing.

Business Underpinnings

Every culture has culture, the where-it-came-from. As it is very difficult to express in words all the experiences that constitute one’s world view, one uses shortcuts – pattern words to describe things that shape us and mean something that we want to communicate.

Books are another good way to crystalize ideas and their meaning – and here are some that perhaps represent a few key aspects of what it is to be a member of the Awake network.

Start With Why

If one does not know why one is doing something, there is no way one can expect any particular outcome.

Start With Why is a very simple idea, and one that we embrace wholeheartedly at Awake. There must be a purpose for each and everything in the universe, and correctly aligning purposes creates an an engine of value co-creation.

Measure What Matters

Having lost his keys in some dark alleyway, a drunk went to the nearest streetlamp and got down on his hands and knees to search. At least he could see what he was doing…

There is no point in measuring something if it doesn’t matter.

Find what matters, measure it, repeat. And learn the legendary OKR process that every focused organization ought to use.

Radical Candor

A company is as much a reflection of its founder as much it is anything else. Awake is no different.

I’ve always found it tedious to talk in circles, or to not directly say what one means. Radical Candor is a daily habit at Awake, life is too short for anything else. And in the process, I get to learn a great deal about myself and our people, each and every day!

The Cluetrain Manifesto

One of the oldest books on this list, the Cluetrain Manifesto was way ahead of its time when it first came out. Even by today’s standards, many organizations think this book is too out there.

I disagree, and wholeheartedly, and believe that now is the time for being radically clued in.


Maverick is one of those books that quickly teach you how large groups of aligned people can work together in collaborative ways, without the entirely traditional employment mindset that corporations typically create.

The Goal

This was my first business novel, and at the time when I read it (I was 22), I was hooked! But more than the style itself, The Goal taught me one of the most valuable tools of my life – the Theory of Constraints.

Find the one constraint, the rest do not matter until you do. Fix, rinse, repeat.

Blue Ocean Strategy

Why not work with others instead of against them? Why not think of cooperation instead of competition?

Because instead of you having to do everything, you get things done for you. Find out how to create new markets instead of fighting over existing ones.

The Fifth Discipline

This was my first business novel, and at the time when I read it (I was 22), I was hooked! But more than the style itself, The Goal taught me one of the most valuable tools of my life – the Theory of Constraints.

Find the one constraint, the rest do not matter until you do. Fix, rinse, repeat.

Epiphany, Chasm, Lean

There are just so many great books that have been formative. I can’t possibly list them all, but here are a few more that make the cut.

Technology Underpinnings

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the good ‘ol books from yesteryears! These are technical, but they embody something profoundly more than just how to build good software, they are a way to think and act.

The books we read, the practices we experience, these are the things that make us. At Awake, we’re about the individual element of society, for there is no society as such, there are only individuals.

So as we build the world’s largest network of networks, we are in constant awareness of the fact that it is for the human being that all this exists. It is for the consumer that a seller is, and all that happens in markets is to satisfy the needs and whims of the customer.

Culture 2.0

So back to culture.

If you don’t actively create a culture, you get one that didn’t actively create. You can quote me on this one. It has happened to every entrepreneur. We made assumptions. So this is why we are starting to define our culture with a specific expression of the ideals.

The Awake Way

It is impossible to use words to articulate anything real, but these are some pointers about what we consider values in Awake Land.

The Awake Way is about clarity of intention.

The Awake Way is about elevating the whole.

The Awake Way is about enabling and empowering the entpreneur within.

The Awake Way is about co-creation and co-operation.

The Awake Way is about fair market value.

The Awake Way is about action over analysis.

The Awake Way is about seeking feedback.

The Awake Way is about asking forgiveness and being forgiving.

The Awake Way is about awakening to one’s true potential.

These are ideals, and how they manifest in decision-making and setting of business priorities is the test of the pudding. So to speak.

So how do these manifest?


Awake is a fully transparent attribution network (of networks).

Any and all individuals and organizations are member nodes in the Awake Network.

Awake automatically tracks all activity across all these networks, including engagement and transactional metrics, allowing instant clarity on the value each node brings to each transaction and to the network as a whole.

And we’ve designed our compensation models partly to relfect this freedom of value co-creation.

Life is easy in a world where the value creation being discussed along the lines of engagement is no longer a subjective measure. Even goodwill can now be measured and traded on an exchange, and certainly within private networks of people, as is the case with the real world.


Awake values technical details. Technical details are not always related to technology.

An esoteric point about a painting is a technical detail, for instance. And we love technical details, and the people who love technical details! The future of the world is not just information, which is technically available anywhere but knowledge, which only exists with people.

The corollary of this of course, is the we’re quite allergic to knowledge-free content, which often becomes the norm in many large corporations, and certainly is a death knell for startups. Don’t be that guy.


All there is, is action.

Words are useful and powerful, but to describe what has been done. And on the basis of such transmission, the what-has-to-be-done arises.

At Awake we do not pontificate what must or ought to be.

We do.

And we measure, and repeat.

At Awake, there is no try, and certainly no idle talk.


On the back of initiative is ambition.

At Awake, we always say: go for it.

We’re the crazy ones, and we mean it.


Independence is a key part of initative, because it also involves improvisation and innovation.

And we expect reliability. That the process will relentlessly be followed through, that any system can be optimised and transmogrified to any other system in a systematic manner. It is about the process.

And being reliable is a process.


And indeed, there is no question about it.

Awake is a spiritual organism.

While we are intensely about the people in the networks, we’re very clear about this. Awake is not about any individual node at all, but instead is about the network itself.

Awake is about the Whole Internet, the greatest network of networks.

Awake is about the human network called Humanity.

Awake optimizes for humanity.

Awake and Angels

We look forward to hearing from you, and to welcoming you into the Awake family.

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