This code of conduct governs the environment of the Clearbox AI team. As a technology company working on powerful AI tools, we are highly cognisant of their impact on society in terms of ethics, equality, inclusion and fairness. We consider these aspects seriously not only in the way we build our products (machines), but also in the way we work and operate as humans.
We created the code of conduct not because we anticipate bad behaviour, but because we believe that articulating our values and obligations to one another nurtures and reinforces the already exceptional level of respect among the team. We believe that having a code provides us with clear avenues to correct our culture should it ever stray from that course.
We make this code public in the hopes of contributing to the ongoing conversation about inclusion, bias, diversity in Artificial Intelligence, Tech and Society and encourage other teams to fork it and make it their own. To our team, we commit to enforce and evolve this code as our team grows.
The contents of this code of conduct apply to our interactions in various areas of our shared professional lives, including the Clearbox AI office, off-site company events, our Slack and email exchanges, social media, and industry conferences or other events where we represent Clearbox AI.
We want our team to be a fun, productive, and safe space for all members. We strive to achieve technological excellence based on values that reflect our philosophy towards our team, our clients and the wider society.
We are innovative problem solvers. We often need to come up with creative solutions to time sensitive problems. We never shy away from a challenge and we put our heads together to find smart and viable solutions to the most complex problems.
We develop and apply innovative technologies to business problems. We need to constantly learn and adapt to the technology and market dynamics in a lean startup environment. And we often switch roles: our Machine learning engineers sometimes don the role of meme creators, blogspot writers and our Marketing manager turns interview/podcast host. That collaboration is core to our success.
We believe that everyone, regardless of their background or job title, should have the freedom to express themselves in a safe and respectful work environment. We believe that inclusion is not only a mechanism for happier, more productive teams and also our obligation to to work against structural discrimination.
We are highly cognisant of the double edged nature of powerful technology. We promote the ethical and responsible use of AI and have in fact made that our core business offering.
Every member of the Clearbox AI team is expected to work hard, be considerate of their colleagues across the company, and contribute to a collaborative, positive, and healthy environment in which we can all succeed.
Be supportive of your colleagues, both proactively and responsively. Offer to help if you see someone struggling or otherwise in need of assistance (taking care not to be patronising or disrespectful). If someone approaches you looking for help, be generous with your time; if you’re under a deadline, direct them to someone else who may be of assistance. Go out of your way to include people in team jokes or memes, recognising that we want to build an environment free of cliques.
Be collaborative. Involve your colleagues in brainstorms, code sprints and reviews, planning documents, and the like. It’s not only okay to ask for help or feedback often, it’s unacceptable not to do so. Don’t succumb to either impostor syndrome (believing that you don’t deserve to be here) or blowhard syndrome (believing you can do no wrong). Recognise that in addition to asking for feedback, you are similarly obligated to give it.
Be generous and kind in both giving and accepting critique. Critique is a natural and important part of our culture. Good critiques are kind, respectful, clear, and constructive, focused on goals and requirements rather than personal preferences. You are expected to give and receive criticism with grace.
Be respectful toward remote and IRL (In Real Life) interactions alike. Every member of our team is remote at least some of the time. Adopt habits that are inclusive and productive for team members wherever they are: make liberal use of video hangouts, document meetings and decisions thoroughly.
Be humane. Be polite and friendly in all forms of communication, especially remote communication, where opportunities for misunderstanding are greater. Tone is hard to decipher online; make judicious use of emoji to aid in communication. Communication is key to whatever we do. Be sure that the important messages are delivered clearly. We should follow up, repeat and remind if needed. Use video hangouts and IRL meetings when it makes sense; face-to-face discussion benefits from all kinds of social cues that may go missing in other forms of communication.
The Clearbox AI team is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment for people of all races, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, physical abilities, physical appearances, socioeconomic backgrounds, life experiences, religions, and beliefs. Harassment may include, but is not limited to, intimidation; stalking; unwanted recording or photography; inappropriate physical contact; use of sexual or discriminatory imagery, comments, or jokes; intentional or repeated misgendering; sexist, racist, ableist, or otherwise discriminatory or derogatory language; and unwelcome sexual attention.
In order to provide such an environment, we commit to being considerate in our language use. Any behaviour or language which is unwelcoming—whether or not it rises to the level of harassment—is also strongly discouraged.
The language we use every day is frequently tied to a past of gender stereotypes and partial view and understanding of the world. We require our team to use inclusive and gender neutral language both in English and Italian, our two main languages of communication.
These guidelines are ambitious, and we’re not always going to succeed in meeting them. We know that you’ll do your best work if you’re happy and comfortable in your surroundings. If you feel some of the guidelines in this code of conduct are not being met, depending on your comfort level and the severity of the situation, here are some things you can do to address it:
Address it directly. If you’re comfortable bringing up the incident with the person who instigated it, pull them aside to discuss how it affected you. Be sure to approach these conversations in a forgiving spirit: an angry or tense conversation will not do either of you any good. If you’re unsure how to go about that, try discussing with your manager or with the people and culture team first—they might have some advice about how to make this conversation happen. If you’re too frustrated to have a direct conversation, there are a number of alternate routes you can take.
Talk to a peer. Your colleagues are likely to have personal and professional experience on which to draw that could be of use to you. If you have someone you’re comfortable approaching, reach out and discuss the situation with them. They may be able to advise on how they would handle it, or direct you to someone who can. The flip side of this, of course, is that you should also be available when your colleagues reach out to you.
Talk to your manager. Your manager probably knows quite a lot about the dynamics of your team, which makes them a good person to look to for advice. They may also be able to talk directly to the colleague in question if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe doing so yourself. Finally, your manager will be able to help you figure out how to ensure that any conflict with a colleague doesn’t interfere with your work.
We understand that none of us are perfect: It’s expected that all of us, regardless of our backgrounds, will from time to time fail to live up to our very high standards. What matters isn’t having a perfect track record, but owning up to your mistakes and making a clear and persistent effort to improve. If you are approached as having (consciously or otherwise) acted in a way that might make your colleagues feel unwelcome, refrain from being defensive; remember that if someone calls you out, it likely took a great deal of courage for them to do so. The best way to respect that courage is to acknowledge your mistake, mend, and move on—with a renewed commitment to do better.
That said, repeated or severe violations of this code can lead to disciplinary actions.
Members of the Clearbox AI team are invited to contribute to this code of conduct, in one of two ways: either by commenting on this internal document , or by sharing their feedback privately to the leadership team. Team members are expected to watch this document and are invited to contribute to discussions around changes. Note, of course, that contributions to the code and discussions around it are themselves governed by the rules of the code.
Attribution: Parts of this code of conduct have been sourced and adapted from Vox Product team’s code of conduct.
This code of conduct is released under an Attribution CC BY license.
Last updated: November 2021