The power of a re-discovered manifesto

In the late 1990’s, I ran into the Waybackmachine initiative, which in essence is a non-profit organization called The Internet Archive. Since 1996, they have been building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Their mission is to provide Universal Access to All Knowledge. Pretty epic. 

Something else that’s pretty epic, is dubizzle UNO. Anyone who has lived in the UAE (or MENA at large) would have likely run into (or later on OLX after the company was acquired by Naspers). This fantastic company was founded by 2 smart and driven entrepreneurs that grew the company into one of the first wave unicorns of the Middle East. 

However, this blog post is not about the dubizzle story, as this would best be told (and probably will, one day) by the founders. This post is about dubizzle UNO, which if it wasn’t for former dubizzle Head of Design saving this content on his personal website, it would likely have gotten lost outside the Internet Archives. 

Throughout the years, I’ve had the opportunity and privilege of being involved in various amazing startups. One of these was definitely dubizzle and the dubizzle UNO project is a master class example of work that was fuelled with purpose, culture, creativity, storytelling and strategic insight. 

As dubizzle was growing in staff and regional footprint, it was important to ensure that the original vision set by the founders could be articulated, understood and embraced across the entire organization. This vision also needed to set the framework for culture, purpose, strategy as well as operational execution across the various centers of excellence within the company. As we embarked on this company-wide soul searching journey, we used Simon Sinek’s WHY, HOW, WHAT framework as a guide for our travels. Later on, we added the WHO element, as this part was really the yin (or the yang) of the WHY. 

The reason for coming back to this work and sharing it with the wider network is simple. It’s still extremely relevant and useful. Throughout multiple engagements with CEO’s, board members, founders and leadership teams around the world, I still believe that dubizzle UNO is a best in class example of how purpose, culture, strategy and execution come together under beautiful and actionable design principles and company values. 

Spending a few minutes exploring the work will definitely inspire you. The question that remains: instead of Waldo, can you find ken and barbie?

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