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The Firsts Book of BrainGu

Unless you were around when the company was founded a decade ago, hearing the name “BrainGu” probably stopped you in your tracks. Maybe it was an open position you came across on LinkedIn or a past colleague telling you about their new gig; “Brain what?! Goo?”

The Firsts Book of BrainGu

Chances are you did a double take upon hearing it, and that experience is likely repeated whenever you tell your friends or family about both the work you do and where you do it.

It makes an impact. It leaves a mark.

And with that distinctive name comes an equally distinctive logo, presented in three parts:

Our Brain Explained

BrainGu's iconic logo depicts our identity as one that merges human ingenuity with new and established technologies to transform the way our customers accomplish their missions.

The logo consists of two different, yet connected halves.

The Right Half

This half of our brain logo symbolizes BrainGu's deep connection to the ever-evolving technology at the core of our company's mission.

The Right Half

The Left Half

This half represents the human-centric approach we take to develop solutions - software driven by creative engineers and designers, making our end-users lives easier.

The Left Half

The Drip of Gu

The Gu of BrainGu - this signifies the singular and lasting impact we have on all our customers, employoees, and partners.

The Drip of Gu

But when you consider the logo as a whole, it says a lot about who BrainGu is and who we hope you’re becoming.

Across BrainGu, you’ll find experts and specialists from a myriad of fields. This legion of Gu, across seemingly disparate fields and specialties, all connect and work together seamlessly to deliver technology that is (rs)2: resilient, scalable, repeatable, and secure. A networked collective of individual neurons and synapses, all firing in unison, towards a common goal, not unlike…a brain!

And just as neurons in a brain work together to process information and make decisions, so do Gu collaborate to tackle complex challenges and drive BrainGu forward. As a collective, we constantly learn and adapt to new technologies and methodologies, just like a neural network continually updates and improves its connections.

And if the past decade has shown us anything, it's that those new, vital connections only form or function if cultivated within a culture of creativity, innovation, and collaboration.

But great company culture doesn’t happen by accident. We maintain that BrainGu’s culture is its greatest resource. The cerebrospinal fluid pumping through our positronic brain and a living, breathing thing must be actively defined and nourished. Without a clear definition and intentional effort to enrich it, a company’s culture can rapidly deteriorate, making way for a toxic environment where innovation and growth are stifled. At the same time, a positive, thriving culture can profoundly impact nearly every corner of a company, transforming it. We’ve seen and lived that transformation here at BrainGu, and we choose to defend it!

Our responsibility as Gu is to continuously invest energy and attention into shaping and strengthening our company culture. This requires ongoing communication, active listening, and a commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive, and challenging work environment where all employees feel valued and empowered to succeed. The power of a strong culture should never be underestimated, and we must remain vigilant in our efforts to cultivate and sustain it at BrainGu.

So, what do we want that culture to look like? BrainGu strives to cultivate a dynamic, adaptable, and always learning culture. Just like a neural network, our organization is constantly growing and evolving. You are the neurons that make up this network, and your diverse perspectives and experiences drive us forward. We believe in providing a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone is encouraged to share their ideas, take calculated risks, and continuously expand their skills and knowledge. As we continue to grow and expand, we remain dedicated to fostering a culture of growth, development, and collaboration.

Sure, that sounds great, but how do we support “a dynamic, adaptable, and always learning culture?”

We have to start somewhere, right? That's where our FIRSTS come in.

Think of these as the preamble to the BrainGu constitution, and these firsts empower all the other efforts and initiatives we drive at BrainGu. They’re the foundation that lets us be the BrainGu we want to be, the BrainGu we think you deserve.

First, but not only. In all things, balance results in the highest outcomes. Any value taken to the extreme or implemented overzealously can lead to undesired outcomes. Our firsts are as follows:

Trust First

At BrainGu, we understand that trust is not a given. It’s something that must be earned through consistent actions and behaviors. For Gu, this starts with transparency and respect. Transparency is key to earning the trust of our colleagues and customers. It means being open and honest about our intentions, decisions, and actions and allowing our teammates to participate in and understand our work. Participating in our colleagues' work means showing a genuine interest in their success and supporting them in their endeavors.

Respect, too, is critical to building trust and a positive work environment. We respect the opinions and perspectives of others and value the diversity of ideas and experiences they bring to the table. By treating all Gu with dignity and respect, we actively foster a culture of trust and collaboration where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their best work. By promoting transparency, respect, and a commitment to one another, we are building a foundation of trust that will drive BrainGu’s continued success.

Experimentation First

At BrainGu, we believe that embracing experimentation fosters a culture of innovation. A culture that encourages calculated risk-taking and drives advancement. By first prioritizing experimentation, BrainGu creates an environment where creativity and new ideas are celebrated, and failure is seen as a valuable learning opportunity. Our team members are empowered to try new things, challenge the status quo, and push the boundaries of what is possible – to challenge the impossible.

Experimentation is the pursuit of truth and gives us a pathway to improvement. It is as much about gaining the permission and resources to proceed as it is about blue sky ideation. In supporting our peers to innovate, all Gu approach new ideas in a spirit of "getting to yes," which emphasizes discussion and scoping of a controlled iteration upon which we can build. "No," "Impossible," and "Too Difficult," among other roadblocking language, are not in our vocabulary. "Yes, if" is the tool that opens new doors and gives our colleagues a clear insight into what it will take for clearance to proceed. It also puts an onus on us to think critically about our satisfaction criteria rather than letting our discomfort lead potentially great ideas to a dead end. Where two ideas would be better together, we use "Yes, and" to acknowledge our peers while adding our own layer of value to the collaboration.

Remote First

BrainGu's company culture values flexibility, trust, and collaboration, so we embrace remote work as an integral part of our working style. Where and when our employees work should not limit their ability to be productive and achieve their best work. We trust our employees to work independently and manage their own time, and we provide the tools and resources necessary to support this. By allowing remote work, we foster a diverse and inclusive environment accommodating different working styles and personal needs. We are committed to creating a supportive and flexible company culture that empowers our employees to work from anywhere and achieve their best work.

With this said, Gu as a community is not truly complete without shared in-person experiences. In each of our major geographies, we host Outposts, which are spaces where Gu can gather to share ideas and meals, and better know one another. We believe in regularly fostering opportunities to see our colleagues in the real world creates a connection that cannot be achieved from behind a screen.

Conscientious Participation First

At BrainGu, we believe in the power of active participation to effect change. Rather than relying on protest alone, we believe that a combination of awareness, inventory of those affected, and a well-planned action strategy is the surest path to meaningful change. Just as a bug in a line of code cannot be fixed by simply observing and commenting on it, we must take direct and intentional action to address the issues we wish to change.

BrainGu was founded to enable and empower change from within historically slow-moving and highly regulated institutions. This same approach should be applied within our own ecosystem. Our greatest strength lies in our members' willingness to be present, engaged, and vocal within the areas they wish to see change, speaking truth to power, advocating for their positions, and holding everyone accountable.

As leaders, we understand that it is not enough to talk about change; we must be willing to take action in both our micro and macrocosmic environments. We must also be open to listening to our customers and our own teams and objectively address the problems they bring to our attention. At BrainGu, we strive to create a culture of proactive participation and impactful change driven by our commitment to improving the world.

And those Firsts have since evolved into our Cultural Pillars.


At BrainGu, we understand that great ideas are only as valuable as their execution. Our company culture values the ability to turn plans into action and bring concepts to life. We believe in setting clear goals, creating plans, and executing them with discipline and determination. We encourage taking calculated risks and learning from both success and failure. We recognize that execution is critical to delivering results and achieving our objectives, and we are committed to building a culture that values and rewards it.

Small Teams, Big Impact

BrainGu believes in the power of small, agile teams to tackle big challenges and drive meaningful progress. Small teams allow for more collaboration, creativity, and focused execution. We value open communication, teamwork, and a willingness to experiment and take risks to succeed. By fostering a close-knit and supportive team environment, we can adapt quickly to change, prioritize the most impactful initiatives, and make fast and informed decisions. By empowering small teams, we can solve big challenges and drive meaningful progress together.

Collective Power vs. Individual Success

BrainGu values the power of the collective over individual accomplishments. Coming together as a team and supporting each other leads to greater success and a more fulfilling workplace. While individual contributions are important and recognized, we prioritize collaboration and communication to achieve our common goals. We strive to create a supportive and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard and where everyone's unique strengths can be leveraged for the benefit of the whole.


BrainGu recognizes the importance of diplomacy in all aspects of our work. Approaching challenges and conflicts with tact, empathy, and a solution-focused mindset leads to better outcomes for everyone involved. Whether working with colleagues, clients, or partners, we prioritize clear and respectful communication, active listening, and a willingness to compromise. By fostering a culture of diplomacy, we aim to create a harmonious and productive workplace where everyone feels heard and valued.

Community and Citizenship

BrainGu values building a strong community inside and outside our organization (The Shell) and fostering a supportive and inclusive environment where every member feels like they belong and can make a positive impact. Beyond our workplace, we also recognize the importance of being good citizens in the wider community. Whether through volunteer work, charitable giving, or sustainable business practices, we strive to make a positive difference in the world. By building a sense of community and acting as responsible citizens, we aim to create a fulfilling and meaningful workplace for all.

Challenge the Impossible

BrainGu’s DNA is built around the idea that any progress made against an impossible challenge is meaningful. We embrace the challenge and thrill of working towards solving seemingly impossible problems. We believe that pushing beyond boundaries and finding innovative solutions to complex challenges drives progress and makes our work meaningful. Gu are encouraged to take risks and embrace failure as a learning opportunity. The greatest fulfillment comes from tackling complex problems and seeing our solutions make a real-world impact. By embracing the challenge of solving impossible problems, we aim to create a workplace where everyone is inspired, motivated, and fulfilled.

Make a Dent

BrainGu believes in the importance of positively impacting humanity and the universe. We are driven by a greater purpose and strive to create solutions that benefit not just ourselves but the world around us. Whether through developing innovative technologies, advancing scientific research, or creating more sustainable business practices, we aim to make a lasting impact that improves lives. We recognize that our work has the potential to shape the future and believe that it is our responsibility to use it for the greater good. We aim to create a fulfilling and meaningful workplace for all by focusing on making a difference in the world.

As Gu, how do you impact BrainGu’s culture to ensure its continued growth?

Focus on Community

“Community” can mean different things, depending on the context. The scope can be as narrow as your project team or as wide as the world around you. Gu dedicate the time, abilities, and resources needed to focus on their chosen communities, changing them for the better through intention and execution.

But what can one Gu do? A lot, actually, but a collective of mission-focused Gu can change the world. Start with checking in on a teammate, or join one of the many Special Interest Groups(SIG) at BrainGu, or volunteer to help a cause you care about.

Change the Box

You can do things the way they’ve always been done. You can try to implement change for the sake of it. Or, you can take a more measured approach. The adage “think outside the box” assumes that all previous attempts at solving a problem that weren’t 100% successful are useless and that wholesale change is the only answer.

At BrainGu, we believe that every bit of progress toward a solution is valuable. Our approach is to thoroughly evaluate the situation, identify its strengths and weaknesses, and then optimize those strengths to create a path forward. We don’t believe in abandoning what has been done before but rather in using it as a starting point to create a better solution. By leveraging the current approach's strengths, we can create a more effective, innovative solution to build on for a greater positive impact.

Live with Passion

All Gu deserve to be their whole selves at all times. We try to hire passionate people and understand that passionate people are driven by their love for what they do and have a natural inclination to face challenges head-on. Their work represents something meaningful and impactful, both personally and professionally.

We believe that separating work from life limits our potential for growth and self-expression. That's why we strive to create an environment that fosters self-actualization and encourages creativity and talent. By embracing the whole person, we enable each individual to bring their unique skills, passions, and perspectives to the workplace, creating a dynamic and inclusive culture.

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