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The Give Hugs Rule: Work Culture Tips From Ai Ching Goh of Piktochart

Jun 20, 2016 3 min readPodcasts
Photo of Courtney Seiter
Courtney Seiter

Former Director of People @ Buffer

Ai Ching Goh didn’t know what kind of company she wanted to start. She just knew she wanted to stop having the “Monday blues.”

So together with her husband, the experimental psychology student and former Procter & Gamble corporate exec founded Piktochart, a web app that helps non-designers tell visual stories through images and infographics.

Ai Ching Goh

Today, Piktochart has grown from 4 people working in a small Penang-based warehouse to more than 50 people serving more than 5 million users. Naturally, they tell their whole story via a cool interactive infographic:

piktochart journey

We’re even more inspired by the kind of thoughtful company culture Piktochart is creating!

“We didn’t realize that the biggest part of running a company really wasn’t about the product or the technology, it was about the people.”

Check out their values:


In Episode 8 of CultureLab, I had a great chat with Ai Ching about her on-the-job learning when it comes to creating a great culture, even across the world. Plus, Carolyn and I answer our first listener question! We talk about Buffer’s value of positivity and how it actually works every day. Have a listen:

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • Why Buffer believes in a value of positivity
  • Why we changed our value of positivity by one word
  • What it’s like to bring your whole self to work
  • The difference between criticism and complaint
  • The key element of startups that accelerators don’t teach
  • How Piktochart determined their values
  • How it works to have a “semi-distributed” team
  • The perks and activities that support a great culture
  • How to run a company with your partner
  • How Ai Ching became so entrepreneurial and how she encourages other women now

Stuff we talk about in this episode:

Further reading

How We Created Our Company Values From Scratch

Notable Moments

  • :55: Our first listener question!
  • 2:00: Complaining vs explaining
  • 3:15: Complaint Twitter
  • 4:30: Buffer’s value of positivity
  • 6:45: Removing perfection
  • 10:30: We knew nuts about how to run a startup
  • 11:30: The biggest part of running a company isn’t about the technology, it’s about the people
  • 12:15: Monday blues syndrome
  • 13:40: “That sounds crazy”
  • 17:50: The give hugs rule
  • 18:30: The two most surprising values
  • 22:35: Becoming semi-distributed
  • 25:00: Things got super multimedia
  • 28:30: There’s a lot of voting
  • 30:01: Piktochart’s well-being allowance
  • 35:19: Founders date night!
  • 36:45: The “woman founder” question
  • 43:50: The Piktochart boy band?
  • 44:46: It all goes back to love

Get in touch

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We welcome your feedback anytime on the podcast!

How do you view positivity in the workplace? Do you develop your company culture in any ways that are similar to Piktochart’s? Let us know what you think about any of the stuff we discussed in this episode!

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