In this article, I will explain our different working methods in terms of autonomy levels and decision models.

We can summarize them in four simple guidelines that Amanda and Jan shared with us:


  1. Own your shit.
  2. Deliver your shit.
  3. Deliver quality shit.
  4. Deliver your own and quality shit on time

What does it mean to have autonomy at Zapiens?

Simple: each person owns his or her area of responsibility – Own your shit!

This implies that everyone is responsible for meeting their own objectives, which are set by the CEO, aiming to keep the company aligned with its overall goal, our mission:

To make knowledge accessible by easing behavior modification of people and tribes, in favor of the common good and the Pacha Mama.

The area of autonomy and freedom of each member of the tribe is in defining how to achieve these objectives.

Hierarchy is not important here, nor is top-down, bottom-up…

Each person in Zapiens is expected to have maximum autonomy.

Here is a first-person example:

My department’s mission – Marketing – is to generate leads.

And my mission within this department is to amplify our message to the outside world – Communication.

But always, always, keeping in mind our overall goal as a tribe.

In my case, I’m not 100% autonomous right now because I’m still training. So they will have to continue guiding me until I am fully independent.

But the purpose of the trainings is that I become completely responsible for my shit.

How does autonomy coexist with other decision-making spaces?

At Zapiens, we have three decision spaces that are combined with one another. They’re explained in this video by Dani, our CEO:


It’s important to keep in mind that they are not exclusive. There are moments and times for each of the spaces.

Zapiens is a biodiverse environment, and that enriches us.

Now then… How does autonomy fit into all of them?

Top-down model

Clear and concise instructions are given.

The ideal situation would be that there is no need for this space to exist.

That would mean that each person at Zapiens is completely aligned with the mission, and is also fully autonomous.

But the reality is that we haven’t reached that point yet.

In fact, it’s a model we’re not used to as a tribe.

Bottom-up model

We’re experts at this one.

It is a space to transmit suggestions, opinions, and feedback to your direct head or to the CEO.

Proactivity is important here.

Not only to express improvements, ideas or criticisms – that too – but to battle them until they are achieved.

Transversal model

It is a space for dialogue and active listening, not to try to convince anyone, but to understand others.

An exchange where you listen and understand the other party regardless of positions or departments.

In short…

…this is our game philosophy at Zapiens.

Thank you so much for reading me!