Hadn't really used the "missionaries/mercenaries" semantics, but I do agree with and am passionate about hiring for culture and values-based leadership. In terms of your specific question, that depends on whether "Pursuit of Profit & Growth" IS the goal, or a/the defined value, purpose, etc. If you in fact value profit & growth above all else, at least be true to thine own self ... hire on that basis, make decisions on that basis and be honest about that as part of the brand. But don't tell me the goal is "Save the World" when in fact it's simply profit & growth. Hypocrisy rubs me the wrong way far more than straight forward policy/operational disagreements. I say if you stick to your values (i.e. you/the company makes decisions based on the values you "put up on the wall") & consciously make business decisions on that basis, profit & growth will follow assuming the business/product/service is, in and of itself, something that's valued by your customers. Personally, I have nothing against.. and in fact, like "profit & growth" a lot.. but not as the goal in and of itself. Said differently, are you willing to turn down $$, "fire a customer before they're a customer" etc. because it's not a good "culture/values" match and find a different way to achieve your goals in a way that's consistent with your Values? Or do you take the "easier path/$$" and convince yourself that's the only way? As soon as Leadership compromises their defined values, the culture is broken at worst or certainly changed at best... and maybe not in a good way.
Jeff Bezos' first letter to Amazon Shareholders is worth a read. Amazon went public, took investor money, etc. but flat out told investors they're going to run the company with the long game in mind... so short term returns were unlikely. I read that as "Want to invest? NP... but you're investing in us, in our approach to business and in our long-term success.. so our answers to the typical Q1/Q2/Q3/Q4 results & guidance questions might not be what you want to hear... so you don't get to say I didn't warn you." Agree or disagree on any number of things that Amazon did or does or how they changed, but from a certain perspective, Bezos stuck to his guns and was at least honest as the company went through any number of "iterative ages & stages" as growth happened and the folks on the Street had to deal with it.
What does Cake value? In terms of it's employees & work environement? In terms of it's customers? In terms of it's users? When it comes to social media, I think the biggest issue is "users & customers" are the same during the early days, but the pressure to pay for it all leads the companies to serve two conflicting sets of masters. I'm back to posting cat pics & keeping up with family & friends on FB only intermittently... bc I got sick of being the product being serviced up to billions in advertising $$/customers.
Preserving culture is thinking about the possible Tsunami hitting California as you blissfully flap your butterfly wings in Tokyo. (Despite your Ts & Cs, that's my line/copyright!)
That's one of the things I'm interested in as I watch what becomes of Cake.