Moonlighting

Many people at Octopus have hobbies, side-hustles, projects, or interests outside of Octopus. Octopus itself started life as a nights-and-weekends side project.

Maybe you're on a board of a company, involved in your school, fix computers on the weekend, help a charity, get paid to speak at events, play music at weddings or you're writing a book. We refer to this all collectively as moonlighting.

Our expectation is that when you're at work, you'll contribute fully and that any moonlighting won't interfere with your work here. As explained in High Trust Environment, we have some priorities:

  1. Be responsive and helpful to customers.

  2. Be responsive and collaborate with our teammates.

  3. Execute as a results-oriented individual contributor with clarity and pride in your work.

If your moonlighting project is likely to interfere with any of these, or create any kind of conflict with Octopus (either our business, or your time/focus), then it's not fair on your teammates or the company, and it's not OK.

Basecamp's page about moonlighting is a good resource on this topic. We won't copy it here, but we'd look at things through largely the same lens. If you're in doubt, ask your manager, who can make the call either way.

A note on IP ownership

If your moonlighting or side project results in the creation of intellectual property, you might assume that you own that IP - and you might be wrong. Depending on the country you're in and how a judge might interpret it, it's not always very clear cut. And even though Octopus might be very unlikely to care, that murkiness might bite you at some point down the line.

We really have no interest in the IP behind your wedding planning software or your latest rock-n-roll lyrics. So the best advice is, send a short email to Paul with a summary of what it is you're doing or planning to do. Paul can reply back with a letter explicitly stating that Octopus has no interest in the IP behind your side project, and that it's yours. You'll have certainty, we'll avoid a conflict of interest, and we can all avoid unpleasant surprises.