Found in 13 comments
by jacobkg
There is an excellent book called 'Maverick' about a Brazilian manufacturing company that, while not owned by the workers, gets much closer than almost any other business. I highly recommend that all founders read it

Original thread
by lazyant
Semco. You may want to read Ricardo Semler's book it's 20 years old but for some reason it's not a classic in startups or US business environments (edit: oh I see someone mentioned it). He wrote a more recent book I haven't read: anyone with comments on this one?
Original thread
by enjo
SEMCO, to me, is the best example of this. While they haven't fired all of their managers, they are a very large company doing self-management in a whole bunch of different verticals.

Books by the SEMCO founder, Ricardo Semler:

Maverick -

The Seven Day Weekend -

Original thread
by dhfromkorea
You're not alone. Here's an early variant of such a policy. SEMCO, a Brazilian company run by Ricardo Semler, has since 1980s had the policy where people could set their own salaries.

Some excerpts off his book on 37signals:

His book:

Original thread
by kareemm
Holacracy is an instance of organizational democracy, but it's not new - I took a holacracy seminar 6 years ago. Kudos to Medium for using the framework though - it's one of the few that lays out, soup to nuts, how to run a democratic company.

There are many companies that operate using democracy as an organizing principle - Semco is the great-granddaddy of them all (two books - Maverick[1] and the 7 Day Weekend[2] - were written by Semco's founder, Ricardo Semler, about how Semco operates).

Other well-known democratically-run companies include Zappos, WL Gore, DaVita (a $12B company), and Dreamhost.

If you're interested, take a look at WorldBlu[3] for more - they've been building a community of these kinds of companies, have tons of resources on their site, and even have a conference on organizational democracy.

[1] -

[2] -

[3] -

Original thread
by eitally
I'm pretty certain this article is a ripoff of Ricardo Semler's "3 Whys" technique he described in his book from 1995 ( Not that this is a bad thing, but there are many more, better articles describing this using more clinical language and providing guidance for real management application.

Here are a couple of top Google results:

and even a version of The Art of War:

Original thread
by ajju
Ricardo Semler has done this with his business(es) in Brazil. His book about this, 'Maverick' is a decent read.
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by rickmode
Has any tech company used fully disclosed salaries as described in Mavrick [1][2]? It's an intriguing idea.

Mavrick describes how all salaries were publicly posted. People see exactly where they are in relation to others. Of course this created tension at first, but eventually things settled. The magic happens during hiring. An open position's salary is also public, and everyone on an interview panel naturally ranks candidates versus current employees. Is the candidate better than Joe? She better be because she'll be making more than Joe.

Has anyone heard of a tech company doing something like this?



Original thread
by zackola
This book is one of the worst pieces of business writing I've ever read. Not that I've read a ton, but read this instead:

Good to Great features abstract bullshit with virtually no concrete practices. If you're not a details person, by all means read good to great and use a divining rod to try to steer your company to success.

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by mrduncan
I'll echo the recommendation for Maverick, I believe that it was (maybe still is) the top selling book in Brazil.
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by mrduncan
If you've never read it, I highly recommend the book that details his company Semco. According to Amazon it is the best-selling nonfiction book in Brazil's history.

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by ggruschow
I don't think it's fair to measure work by any standard other than "I feel what I'm doing is productive."

Wonderful statement. Only in extreme cases does it seem untrue for thought-workers.

If you're interested in the idea of people simply declaring their productivity (and worth), Maverick by Semler is a good read:

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by prakash
"Mediocre hires hurt you twice: they get less done, but they also make you big, because you need more of them to solve a given problem."

I would say Mediocre hires hurt you THRICE. Twice for the reasons you mention, and the third one is all the good folks leaving since they can't stand mediocre people.

One big company that seems to do well, at least from the outside is Semco in Brazil. Watch Ricardo Semler's "Leading by Omission": and read his book "Maverick": This is of course an anomaly since most companies don't work this way.

Original thread

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