Original pirate material (1670)

Captain Henry Morgan was that rare breakthrough pioneer who achieved mainstream success without selling out. His code became the benchmark for all other pirate crews.

Article 1 - No prey, no pay:

“ The fund of all payments under the articles is the stock of what is gotten by the expedition following the same law as other pirates.”

Article 2 - A standard compensation is provided for maimed and mutilated buccaneers:

‘Thus they order for the loss of an arm 600 pieces of eight, or six slaves*; for a leg 500 pieces of eight or five slaves; for an eye 100 pieces of eight, or one slave; for a finger of the hand the same rewards as for the eye.’

Article 3 - Shares of booty are provided as follows:

“The Captain or chief Commander is allotted five or six portions to what the ordinary seaman have; the Master’s Mate only two; and Officers proportionate to their employment. After whom they draw equal parts from the highest even to the lowest mariner, the boys not being ommitted.’

Article 4 - Trust cannot be take lightly;

‘In the prizes they take, it is severely prohibited to everyone to ursurp anything, in particular to themselves….Yea, they make a solemn oath to each other not to abscond or conceal the least thing they find amongst the prey. If afterwards any one is found unfaithful, who has contravene the said oath, immediately he is separated and turned out of society.

*This being one of the earliest codes, they hadn’t yet rewritten the rules of buying and selling salves, but later pirates would free slaves and bring them into the crew as equals.

Sam's Pirate Code 2.0

Direct from the book, here are the Articles of Sam’s Conniff Allende’s Pirate Code 2.0

Article 1 - Make Shit Up

All captains and crews profoundly expect, respect, celebrate and appreciate the art of strategically , structurally, intuitively and instantly making shit up. Not irresponsible imaginings, reckless reimaginings and certainly not false or fake news. We champion creative solution finding and positive problem solving baed on available facts, the moment of opportunity and power of practised intuition. When indecision is not an option, when change is constant and nothing is normal, we’re proudly comfortable to rationally and rapidly develop, test and implement solutions on the spot. We learn from our mistakes, even if we don’t celebrate them, and use them to make it up better.

Article 2 - Business Plans are dead

We challenge a century-old static format as the best structure for the fluid future of our organizations, projects, dreams, and schemes. We believe in a motivating manifesto that makes clear our vision and we follow a concise but responsive roadmap with agile measures of accountability. We believe in collaborative ‘working’ and adaptive formats that are regularly used and reviewed in collaboration with not just the whole crew but even our customers, beneficiaries and stakeholders, to openly evaluate success, failure and future scenario planning. No captain will produce a plan for only a narrow audience, or a moment in time, only for it to gather dust in an inbox, ignored or unused by the crew.

Article 3 - Make the citizen shift

It’s time to evolve the human race beyond the mindset of solely a ‘consumer’ and the dangerous, destructive and limited relationships it has created. We will perform a forced reset on the language of consumerism that in turn will help us to develop more interesting, involved, interactive, mutually respectful and naturally more beneficial, rewarding relationships between our organisations, audiences and the finite resources of our world. All pirates undertake to advance the evolution of the idea of ‘the citizen’ as the dominant defining though ot our audiences and communities, and of our future.

Article 4 - take happiness seriously

We take happiness seriously and give deep happiness the place and importance it deserves. We see happiness as a strategic driver for success, productivity and creative output but also as a strategic objective in and of itself. We do not believe happiness is a nice-to-have, we believe it is a need-to-have. We make happiness a starting point not just an end point; we used our intention to achieve happiness to inform the decisions we make, the environments we create and the projects we undertake. We endeavour to measure, manage and share the proof we accumulate that happiness is symbiotic with great work, great impact, great relationships and greater ineffectiveness. We do not confirm to a one size fits all happiness, not expect to be happy every day but accept and respect the right to make happiness the goal.

Article 5 - adopt the new work manifesto

We want to love work, we want to learn as we work, we want to be proud of what we do and have the chance to do it well. We want work to make us better not worse. We want the rewards of creativity, friendships, fulfilment and knowledge to match the financial compensation we need. We want life/work balances, not the other way around. We intend to live up to the promise of technology, efficiency and flexibility. We commit to understanding our own inner engineering for effectiveness and refuse to submit to conditions, clocks or cultures that don’t get the best out of us. We will break the tyranny of emails, meetings, to-do lists and any other anachronistic trappings of an old way of working, if they don’t work for us and we won’t stop until we’re judged on our output, not our input.

Mere Mortals Code

Fed up with egos and in the advertising world, Robbie Greatrex decided to start with a clean slate and

1 No compromise

We live in a world of shortcuts and excuses where excellence has become a rarity, and good has become good enough. Well, sorry. We refuse to play along. At Mere Mortals we never ever compromise the quality of the work we produce.We challenge the mediocre, stand against doing the bare minimum and despise the feeling of ‘could have done better’. We have a burning desire to build our reputation on the quality of the work we produce, and take enormous pride in a job well done. We question everything, delight in the detail, and stay curious - scouring the globe for inspiration to ensure our work remains fresh and relevant. We strip back process and throw egos aside to ensure we spend as much of the working day as humanly possible making the work better. So be creative. Be persistent. And never, ever compromise.

There it is - the first Article of The Mortal Code. But how will we ensure we live by it? Well, one of the biggest things we can ensure is in place from the off is that our process and ways of working are designed to free up as much time as humanly possible to make the work better. And that's exactly what we've done by doing away with timesheets, simplifying documentation and creating a flat, open structure. So, now there really are no excuses when it comes to the quality of our work.

2. Drop the attitude

Unfortunately, some people can be rude, arrogant and disrespectful.
They can be unpleasant to be around and a nightmare to work with.
Not on our watch. At Mere Mortals we treat each other with total respect and expect no less in return. We detest inflated egos, can’t stand bullies and find petulance intolerable.We treat everyone equally and with the utmost respect. This is non-negotiable.We lend support, question intelligently and challenge respectfully.
We’re inclusive, fair and positive, extending this attitude to all we encounter: our clients, collaborators, guests, peers and competitors. So drop the attitude. Be respectful. And stay humble.

We're making this Article public, along with the rest of the Mortal Code, so that everyone who's involved with Mere Mortals knows the standards of behaviour we expect. And we understand that instilling respect throughout the organisation starts from the top down, with the leadership team. So this is where it begins. And it will allow us to crack on with the work. As a collaborative, motivated & happy team.
Which is what we're here to do.

3. Don’t conform

We’re sick and tired of our industry’s obsession with conforming to the same trendy, identikit culture. We break this mould. At Mere Mortals we demand everyone just be themselves. Our culture isn’t some pre-fabricated image for people to conform to. Quite the opposite. Our culture is nothing more, and nothing less, than the grand total of each individual’s background, characteristics, qualities, experience, accomplishments, interests, quirks, the list goes on…We embrace differences, encourage individuality and believe a team of diverse, unique and spirited people will create more original, interesting and culturally relevant work. So be yourself. Be individual. Don't fit our culture. Enhance it.

We have many ideas of how to ensure this Article is not left in a dusty drawer, but instead becomes the driving force behind an inclusive, vibrant culture. This begins with ensuring a fair and equal recruitment process, includes mixing up teams on projects and extends to how we celebrate success and socialise. We can't wait to see how our culture develops. And we can't wait to see which interesting individuals join our journey.

4. Step up to the plate

Many organisations find themselves plagued by complex hierarchies, rigid rules and stifling procedures. Not here. At Mere Mortals we revel in autonomy and crave responsibility. We’re bored with micro management, inflated teams and multiple sign-offs. We’re too impatient to be stuck in training mode, and too ambitious to wonder ‘what ifs’. We champion smart, ambitious and spirited individuals who take risks and give things a go. We relish the challenge, trust our gut and make decisions swiftly and decisively. We place an enormous amount of trust in people - trust to crack on with their jobs and trust they’ll seek help and advice when needed. So step up. Be bold. And get shit done.

Having a flat, open structure will be the basis of ensuring we live by this article.
We'll show our trust through simplified policies for such things as getting taxis, buying a client lunch or working from home, which will be little more than 'Use Good Judgment'. On top of this we're doing away with annual appraisals - you know, the sort that take forever to organise, feel like a nervous stand-off, and are far from designed around helping individuals fly. Instead we'll have regular catch ups that are centred around growing skills and autonomy. Because we believe that if we put trust in people we'll get the best out of them.
That they'll step up to the plate.

5. See the Bigger Picture

Like it or not, profit driven businesses play a huge role in the world around us,
whilst people’s happiness and the impact on our planet are often relegated to nice-to-haves.
Screw that thinking. At Mere Mortals we care about our impact on people and the planet. We believe businesses have a responsibility to stand up and be counted,
to care about the bigger picture and to aspire to be a force for good. We lead by example and strive to inspire others. We take happiness seriously and switch off after a hard day’s work. We volunteer, fundraise and play our role in the local community. We get stuck into the bigger issues affecting our planet with the hope of leaving a legacy that extends further and deeper than simply the work we create.

We've made a flying start on ensuring we live by this Article. 
We've become part of the B Corp movement - a community of leaders driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good, changed our legal documentation to instruct those running the business to make decisions based not just on profit, but to also consider the effects on people and planet.With these foundations in place we're now rolling out other initiatives, such as giving everyone one week per year paid leave to volunteer. These will ensure that Mere Mortals and everyone involved has a positive impact, that we don't just say we want to be good, we're obligated to.


CRIN is a creative think tank that produces new and dynamic perspectives on human rights issues, with a focus on children’s rights. We challenge the status quo because the norms that dictate children’s place in society need radical change.

This is what we’re fighting for

Our goal is a world where children's human rights are recognised, respected and enforced, and where every rights violation has a remedy. This is a world where organisations like ours would not need to exist. But we realise this may be a long way off and may not happen in our lifetime. In the meanwhile, we will start paving the way. To this end, we have set ourselves three overarching objectives that will guide our work in the coming years:

1) Change the narrative so that children become recognised as people with independent human rights;

2) Build a collective so that defending and promoting children’s rights becomes a shared responsibility; and

3) Seek justice so that when rights are violated, we fight for justice, accountability and redress.

These are our principles

Our core strength lies in our values and principles, which have always guided the work we do. The following Code now sets these out explicitly, describing our vision for a rights-respecting world, how we intend to get there, and what our role will be, in the hope that others will collaborate or even take inspiration and start their own rebellion.

Part I - We have a mission

Rights, not charity

We promote rights, not charity, for children. Human rights and freedoms cannot be donated or gifted through expressions of charity; they are not the subject of goodwill. Yet this is the daily mistaken response to human rights violations against children. Charity, however, does nothing but evoke a sense of pity without tackling the problems children face. For these reasons, we fight the causes, not the symptoms, of rights violations against children. We seek long term solutions, not quick fixes. Children are independent rights holders, not passive objects of charity.

Children’s rights, human rights

Children are human, humans have rights, therefore children have human rights. While children have unique rights because of their age, they also hold universal human rights which apply to all humans everywhere. Despite this, there is the paternalistic misconception that children’s rights are all about protection. This inevitably affects how children are viewed and treated in law and society. But when we talk about the right to free speech, to privacy, to health, and more, we are not referring to the rights of particular age groups, but to the rights of humans. Accordingly, children have human rights now because they are human beings now.

Justice, not compromise

Human rights are not goals, targets or promises, but obligations, and there must always be a way to enforce them. In this sense, access to justice is pivotal. Not only is it a human right in itself, but it also makes other human rights a reality, otherwise rights would be nothing more than promises on paper. All humans must be able to use and trust the legal system to protect their rights through quick, effective and fair responses to violations. Anything less is inadequate. The importance of access to justice applies equally to children and adults, yet children’s rights in this area have long been neglected and ignored.

Accountability, not apology

Everyone working in human rights should be held accountable for their actions — or inactions. A lack of transparency, cover-ups, a failure to act when necessary, or apologies issued when found out all signal an intention to evade one’s obligations to children and place the needs of an institution above those of its users. This applies to organisations like ours too, for if we are able to make important decisions behind closed doors, how can we be justified in telling governments not to do the same? This expectation therefore applies across the board from States and international institutions to charities and donors alike.

Diversity, not homogeny

Being closed to different ways of working, thinking, ideas and people only serves to protect the status quo of how we work. Bringing people together for the common goal should not only involve like-minded people, but also those we disagree with or who we have never worked with. Only preaching to the converted does not change the status quo; it is through the clash of ideas, the introduction of new thinking, and when people change their mind that things begin to shift. Working with a range of professionals, both internally and externally, is also how we expose ourselves to a diversity of approaches and experiences, which helps to push organisations like ours out of our homogenous comfort zones.

We are Earth’s custodians, not its owners

It goes without saying that humans cannot live and have rights if there is no planet to live on. Ensuring this does not happen is therefore a fundamental precondition to human rights, including children’s. Every human has the right to a clean and healthy environment, but the planet is not ours to own or do with it as we wish; it is our responsibility to act as custodians and preserve the planet so that generations of people to come can enjoy it too. This should make us ask hard questions about how we live and what needs to change in terms of our impact on the environment, but also the issues we tackle.

Part II - We have an attitude

Principles, not pragmatism

We will stand by our principles and not cave in to pragmatism. We will speak out even if the majority remains silent. At times this may mean being a lone voice striving to break taboos, but this is our role and we will not shy away from the things that need to be challenged. We understand that compromise and incremental progress may at times be the only way forward, but we will not settle. To this end, we will reclaim radicalism; there was a time when every idea that seems perfectly normal today was once wildly radical too.

Critical thinking, not compliance

Just because something happens every day, does not mean it is not awful and that it cannot change. We must always question the world we live in and the norms and assumptions we live by, with critical thinking as the driving force. This is simply about asking questions and not feeling you have to conform. In a world rich with a diversity of information, we have the resources to achieve this. This same world is flooded with misinformation, however, so sticking to thinking critically is an urgent requirement for all of us.

Feminism, not patriarchy  

The feminist approach to equality between the sexes is fundamentally about breaking the power structures that allow one group to hold primary power at the expense of another. With social justice principles at its core, it is therefore an approach that can be applied to other forms of discrimination. This would involve breaking all power structures that benefit the few and serve to reinforce one another - such as patriarchy, sexism, capitalism and white privilege - and building an all-inclusive system that gives everyone an equal stake and footing. We must then fight against all systems of oppression which condition anyone’s opportunities based on their sex, race, gender identity, sexuality, disability, religion, class, or age.

If you can’t imagine it, you can’t achieve it

If we cannot imagine the world we are claiming to fight for, we will never get there. In a constantly changing world, we need to be creative and adaptive if we are to be effective. While we can be skeptical, it does not have to mean that we let pragmatism kill ideas and imagination. All change begins with an idea. History is full of examples of small groups of people who came together because they had an idea that then changed the world. You just have to find it, explore it and share it.

Promote children’s rights, not ourselves

The ultimate goal of all our work is to secure the fulfilment of all children's rights. This means we constantly strive to work ourselves out of existence, not to prolong it unnecessarily. There is no limit to what we can achieve if we ground our existence in our objectives, not our survival. We do not choose the issues we work on based on how they make us look, but on what needs to change. And the measure of our success is the change itself, not how often we get our name in print or are credited for our achievements.

Invest in failure, not quick wins

Organisations like ours have become unable to openly recognise and discuss our own failures. It can be the result of wanting to keep up appearances in front of donors or among the real or perceived competition for attention among organisations in our sector. But this is slowing us down. Failures are there to learn from, not to conceal. In fact, we can learn more from of our failures than the successes we choose to parade. And the strength of learning is doubled when we can openly learn from one another. We ourselves are not there just yet, but we will strive to openly describe the mistakes we make in the hope that others will do the same and we can all learn from one another.

Part III - We have the means

Advocate in language, not words

We believe in the power of language. We promote the use of plain language so everyone can access the information they need about children’s rights. We also use artwork over photographs of children as a conscious move away from images that merely evoke pity and inspire charity. We do our best to avoid using jargon and will continue to poke fun at our sector when it does. But we will also call out those who misuse the language of rights to justify violating certain people’s rights.

Don’t grow; network

We are small but we have big dreams. We believe that the notion of relentlessly pursuing growth can lead to stalled progress and reduced autonomy. Plus, we do not want to grow; we want to network better. Small means agile, flexible, lean and daring; it means we can change and adapt to new circumstances and environments when needed, and continue to fiercely maintain our independence and stick by our principles. It’s about quality, not quantity.

Stronger together, not apart

We believe that making human rights a reality for children and adults alike is a collective responsibility we all share, not something to be confined to non-profits or diplomats in the corridors of the United Nations. Everything we do happens because groups of people come together in support of an idea. And history shows us it is harder to ignore a big group than a single voice. But it is imperative that that voice is inclusive of those whose rights we defend. To this end, we will not only explore ways to systematically involve children and young people in our work, but also continue to push for systemic reform of the laws - and mentalities - that deny children the chance to speak up and represent themselves in their own words.

Be open, not proprietary

Our work is modelled on the open source movement which, despite beginning life as a technical term to describe open access to software source code, now describes a movement dedicated to open participation and sharing. Some of the ways we practice this in our work include making all the materials we publish - and that of others, where they agree - freely available online, in accordance with the Creative Commons licensing for non-commercial use. We also share the process behind how we do our work to spark ideas, including by publishing our research methodologies and guides to conducting similar research, as well as toolkits so others can replicate or build on what we do.

Think ethically, be ethical

We try to practice what we preach. While we believe in misbehaving and challenging the status quo, we are deeply committed to working ethically. This is about how we run our own organisation: from adopting and regularly reviewing workplace policies, decision making, flexible working for staff, to non discrimination and how to respond when a problem occurs. It is also about acting ethically outside the boundaries of our organisation, and outside the issues we focus on. This means that companies or partners we engage with must share our values, including donors and service providers. For this reason we also bank with a not-for-profit bank.


Our commitment to children’s rights means that we have a commitment to safeguard children, especially those we are in contact with or who use our services. Consequently, we demand that our staff and representatives, including Board Members, apply the highest standards of behaviour towards children both within their professional and private lives. And we expect all of our partners to adopt similar safeguarding policies.