Cool Thing #31: How do you have rules and policies without becoming a bureaucrat?

Most companies start without formal rules for employees and then, after an awful experience or two, seek out a set of written policies. That’s when they begin to serve the Dark Lord of Bureaucracy and his bible, the Employee Manual. It seems inevitable, right?

So imagine my pleasure when I met Ori Eisen and his team at Trusona.

Ori Eisen Headshot_High Res

They are busy reinventing internet security. (Check out the video “Trusona vs ATM” at

They are doing so without an employee manual, but, instead, with a single-page of what they call…

House Rules.
The list includes 22 items.

Some are designed to stop arguments from starting, like Rule # 3, stating that the CEO (that’s Ori) can review any code at any time. It’s a rule. Everybody knows it. No point discussing it.

And there are the ones no one would ever argue against, at least not in Scottsdale where the company is headquartered: #7 Resort casual attire everyday.

And then there are these two, my favorites:

#15. 90 Day Trial – You are hired for 90 days and then the team votes

#22. Speak about our customers as if they are here with us

The first of those two I like because you want every new employee to spend a few months “working the room” and thus gaining an appreciation of the entire team.

The second one I chose because when I worked for a market research company whose owner would say, “This would be a great business if it weren’t for the clients.” That mindset creates an us-versus-them dynamic that ended up turning wonderful people who gave us money into “the enemy.” In response, when I created my own consultancy one of my mottos became, “Our job is to make the clients jobs easier.” That answered many employee questions before they were asked.


What I love about having House Rules is that they convey, in one page, the company culture. A Policy Manual can’t do that, except to say, “Hi – welcome to the bureaucracy.”

House Rules pre-make decisions: This is what we are. This is how we work.

As Ori puts it, the Rules make everyone “remember our origins.” He adds, “After reading the rules, you can decide if this is a house for you, and if you can flourish through its values.”

The game of business, like any game, only works if everyone knows the rules in advance.

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