06/08/2012 12:20 pm ET Updated Aug 07, 2012

One Startup's Radically Open Culture

Ever spend a year or ten in a tall tower with beige cubicles and beige colleagues drinking cup after cup of Keurig single serves, while the top brass hold closed door meetings? You have. Or at least you've dreamt that you have. And you know it's just all kinds of wrong.

Data analytics startup SumAll is taking a bold, transparent crack at 'right.' Founder Dane Atkinson (head in office fish tank here -- in a Wakefield exclusive) and his crew have written the 'SumAll Constitution,' a set of bylaws that build in social responsibility, and earmark 10% of the company's equity (not profits) for a social foundation they've set up. All legal docs (including company ownership and salaries) are open for any employee to see, and learn from.

The ethos is an expression of what SumAll does -- namely, giving small and medium-sized e-commerce shops a clear, open look at their own data. Through integrations with e-commerce platforms like Shopify, SumAll lets merchants easily compare sales, promotion results, and other data in one place. Dane's argument (and SumAll's bet) is that data's now moving so fast, that people are no longer equipped to manage it without the right tools.

Dane tells us that the bigger thing, in terms of building a company on extreme transparency, is that "it's a big test."

Now go forth (and, ya know, dunk your head in the fish tank).