BCV partner Ajay Agarwal interviews Anthropic co-founder and president Daniela Amodei at Inflection 2023 in San Francisco. (BCV)
BCV partner Ajay Agarwal interviews Anthropic co-founder and president Daniela Amodei at Inflection 2023 in San Francisco. (BCV)

Anthropic’s Daniela Amodei on How To Maintain Your Startup’s Culture in Hypergrowth

Daniela Amodei told us Anthropic has always had a culture interview, which has been important as it's become a rapidly scaling AI company.

3 min read February 23, 2024
Running Your Company Infra Early Growth

Daniela Amodei, her brother Dario and a set of other colleagues left OpenAI in 2020 because they wanted to build an artificial intelligence company that developed what they considered to be a safer, more trustworthy model. That is, culture was never going to be a nice to have at what became Anthropic, it was going to be essential.

That’s why Daniela, whose experience included leading recruiting and talent efforts at OpenAI and Stripe before that, implemented a culture fit interview from the beginning.

Anthropic now finds itself in the middle of AI fervor — it has raised over $7 billion in the last year. Following her onstage appearance at our inaugural Inflection event for founders in November, Daniela told us that culture screening is as important as ever in this period of hypergrowth.

Anthropic has its purpose and values clearly articulated on its site, and the culture fit interview accompanies technical ones because the company wants its team on the same page (while allowing for disagreement and evolution along the way). The future of AI is a controversial subject with multiple schools of thought, but Daniela believes that startups across all industries would benefit from clarity of values from the beginning and ensure that they’re fundamentally maintained, whether they have five employees or hundreds.

You can watch Daniela share her advice in the video below.


I would say during periods of hyperscale, one of the most important things you can do is really nail down for yourself what is your culture, right? Culture feels very ephemeral. It feels like something that you know it when you see it.

But as much as you possibly can, as early as you can, really write down what are your values, what are your cultural values, but also what do they look like in practice, right?

So sometimes people will say, “Oh, be kind but direct!” One person’s kind is another person’s direct. And so the more tangible you can make them, the more you can use examples, you should really expect people to be able to walk out of a room and say, “I’m going to do X differently because of cultural value Y.”

Make sure that you really take those values and put them into your interview loop, otherwise it can be a lot of vibes, right? “I like this person! They’re sort of like me, maybe we should hire them!” Much better to say we really, really value the following qualities and we’re going to assess for them in the following ways, and then be as objective about that as possible.

Anthropic’s had a culture interview since day one, and I think that’s been really helpful both for communicating to candidates who we are and also for making sure that we understand the most important points about how they’ll work with others at Anthropic.

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