I once worked with a very successful entrepreneur. He had founded a company, taken it public, and made him and his shareholders hundreds of millions of dollars (the total wealth created was over a billion, but I don’t think any one entity ended up making 10 figures). He told me once about how his engineering … Continue reading Almost any idea (yes, including yours) can be improved by collaboration
Communication is critical when you’re a startup. Things usually begin well; the founders are old friends or colleagues, and already know how to work together. Eventually, however, you reach a point where you’ve expanded the team, and need the ability to get people on the same page. In my experience, the same passion and determination … Continue reading Are You Really Listening, Or Just Taking Turns?
One problem I often encounter in the startup world is the tendency to push things to Manichean extremes. Perhaps its because we have to live with so much uncertainty, we crave definitiveness. Or perhaps its because the kind of mind that can write and debug thousands of lines of code likes binary answers. At any … Continue reading Don’t be negative; do be realistic
Consider the bug report. It’s a little talked-about, little-loved part of working at a startup. Every application has bugs. These a complex systems with thousands or even millions of lines of code. But unless your developers are using the application every minute, they’re unlikely to find all the bugs themselves, no matter how much your … Continue reading What you can learn about communications from the humble bug report
Focus, focus, focus. Focus is the key to startup success. You have fewer resources than established companies. Your only path to success is to focus those limited resources in a tightly-defined problem space, so that your concentrated effort burns the hapless ant of success. Easier said than done, right? I have a very simple system … Continue reading Do something every day towards your three big priorities
This Facebook post by Facebook developer Ryan Patterson got a lot of attention; as of the writing of this post, it had 734 Likes (thanks to an appearance on the front page of Hacker News): http://on.fb.me/ZBOV8W It is a sincere and well-written post. But I want to address what I perceive could be a dangerous … Continue reading To succeed, focus on something other than “rightness”
I have two degrees from Stanford University–a BS in Product Design, and a BA in Creative Writing. Stanford is renowned in both disciplines; the d.school is probably the world’s leading center for design thinking, while the Stegner Fellowship for writers is one of the most prestigious in the literary world. Yet the most important course … Continue reading The Most Important Course I Took At Stanford
I’m a huge Mark Suster fan, so I think his post, “8 Tips To Get the Most Out of Your Investors and Board,” is outstanding, and a must-read for any entrepreneur. I don’t think there’s anything I can add: http://bit.ly/16TjT22 What I will point out is that all of the principles that Mark outlines ought … Continue reading How do you manage board members? Like you manage anyone else!
When you work in the startup world, you’re wrong a lot. I’m an investor, and I assume that only 10% of the companies I invest in will make it. That means I’ll be lucky to be wrong less than 90% of the time. So why do so many people suck at being wrong? I see … Continue reading What to do when you’re wrong
Back in the 1990s, when I started my first company, I recruited Jim Fitzsimmons to take over as CEO so I could finish my MBA. (Side note: Jim was an All-American basketball player in college, when he starred for Harvard along side future broadcasting legend Jim Brown. Jim and I would occasionally play ball together … Continue reading Be careful what you measure