We have developed 10 tests that we use to ensure that we are on track with Escape the City. They help ensure that we are focusing on the right things and sticking to the initial values behind our concept. I suppose these tests could also be called our values. Whenever we are faced with a difficult decision we refer to these tests to keep us on track.
What tests do you use?
1. THE TOM TEST
Would Tom like it? [Tom is our mythical ideal member.]
- Tom graduated from a Top 20 UK university, he is 4 years into his corporate career, he is unfulfilled in his current job, he wants to transition away from ‘The City’, he wants an occupation that excites, inspires and fulfils him, he wants to use his skills to have a positive impact.
- Escape the City is essentially built for him. Whenever we’re making a decision we ask ourselves: Would it help Tom transition away from his corporate job?
- Another way of saying this is: Is our platform genuinely useful for young professionals looking to move from the corporate sector? Are we solving the problem?
Is what we’re building different?
- Different means better, different means original, different means there is nothing quite like this that helps young professionals who want to transition away from the corporate mainstream.
- Everything returns to our strap-line – ‘Do Something Different!’
3. POSITIVE IMPACT
Is Escape the City helping people have a positive impact in the world?
- Our generation is characterised by a strong desire to make a difference. By far and away the main thing that people say their corporate jobs lack is ‘positive world impact’. We want our platform to provide the tools, connections, information and opportunities to allow talented and educated young professionals to find meaningful occupations which benefit other people.
Are we having fun?
- Are we enjoying the journey as well as the thought of the destination? If not, why not?
- One of the main reasons we started Esc was to really enjoy our work. We want to enjoy it so much that it stops feeling like work and begins to feel like play… [for the record: we’re passing this test with flying colours!]
Are we committed? How do we stay committed?
- Remember that everything takes longer than we would like it to… stay committed, be ready for The Dip and power through. Focused, sustained effort wins…
6. THE TRIBE
Are we building something that is true to the original concept? Are we assembling a tribe?
- We want to stay true to the inspiration behind Esc but be brave enough to change the tactics when we need to…
- Relentlessly chase the concept and not the cash – the rewards will follow if we build a genuinely useful platform.
Are we learning something new everyday? If not, why not?
- We want to work really hard at productive and enjoyable ways of working
- Remember that computers hypnotise! Remember that the best ideas come when you’re out doing something else.
Are we shipping?
- Great bit of advice from Innocent: ‘whatever project you’re currently considering, just start…’
- With every little aspect of Esc: Start, Start Small, But Start! (test, pilot, get feedback, improve)
Are we building something we can be proud of?
- Don’t include anything that we won’t be proud of
- Protect the quality and integrity of the website
10. WORK-LIFE BALANCE
How do we avoid Esc taking over our lives?!
- Yes, a startup requires some long hours and a lot of stamina… but we want to ensure we have time for the other things that matter in ours lives too…
- We are also doing this to build our ideal working environment – are we doing that? If not, what do we need to change?