Tuesday 19th June 2018
  • Disagree And Commit- A Management Principle For Highly Functioning Teams: Tom Tunguz


    Disagree and commit. I first read about this idea in the 2016 Amazon Shareholders letter. But the idea can be traced back to Andy Grove at Intel. Grove wrote about this topic in High Output Management. Disagree and commit is a management technique for handling conflict. There are two parts to it. First, expecting and demanding teammates to voice their disgreement. Second, no matter their point of view, once a decision has been made, everyone commits to its success.

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  • The 18 mistakes that kill startups- Paul Graham


    In a sense there's just one mistake that kills startups: not making something users want. If you make something users want, you'll probably be fine, whatever else you do or don't do. And if you don't make something users want, then you're dead, whatever else you do or don't do. So really this is a list of 18 things that cause startups not to make something users want. Nearly all failure funnels through that.

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  • To perform at your best, focus on Goals, not Tasks!- Paul Adams


    A common mistake we all make is that we slip into writing tasks instead of goals. This is bad. So what's the difference? For me, there is one main thing: Goals are strategic and aspirational, whereas tasks are tactical and will likely happen anyway. Goals are progress oriented, not event oriented. Because of this, goals tend to have much higher impact over time for people. I have more tasks than I know what to do with, but addressing all these tasks would simply result in me being very busy, but having very low impact. Here are three examples of bad weekly goals, and alternatives- Goal: Present the new approval process at the All Hands- The All Hands is happening, and presenting at it might lead to little value to attendees. This is a task. A good goal gets at the longer term benefit of presenting. A better version might be: 'Ensure everyone in the team understands the new approval process by the end of the week'. This is aspirational and extends beyond the task of presenting at the all hands.

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  • What startup advisors do and how to manage them!- Jason Calacanis


    Advisors typically have some combination of great networks, great reputations, and serious skills. If you are doing a enterprise software company, having someone like David Sacks (Yammer, PayPal) would be a huge win because he is respected and has a huge network. Of course, he has money as well, so having him as just an advisor would negative signal that he doesn't think highly of your company's ability to return capital - so be careful! There is nothing wrong with having an advisor, but I suggest you do the following in the agreement so that there are no hard feelings:
    1. Vest the shares the advisor will receive over two years (you won't need them longer than that).
    2. Typically they get .25 to .50 points in a startup - one point is they are a complete hero.
    3. Put a dollar value on that equity. If you give .50 in a company worth $10m that's $50,000 - not a ton of money depending on what they do.
    4. Write a letter of agreement for what they will do for that equity. This should be as detailed as possible: e.g., the advisor will meet with the founder at the HQ 4x per year for two hours each time, be available for weekly phone calls, and help design and hire the sales team (if they are a sales expert).
    5. Make sure the terms of these options are clear: strike price, how long they have to execute the options if you fire them, 12-month cliff, etc.

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  • Founder of Pandora on Lessons from Near Dot Com Bust to Billion Dollar IPO


    At the end of 2000, Pandora began to run out of money. Founder Tim Westergren went from pitch meeting to pitch meeting, up and down Sand Hill Road to no avail. With bleak prospects, the core group of about 50 Pandora team members ended up working for almost two and a half years without any salary. Upon reflection, Westergren attributes this kind of remarkable fortitude to a few key attributes:

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  • My daily learning ritual- Sachin Rekhi


    Ever since I committed to being an infinite learner, I've been executing on a daily one hour learning ritual. While it's easy to say that continuous learning is important to me, I knew that if I didn't proactively dedicate time in my day to it, it wouldn't become a habit. So I set aside an hour first thing in the morning with my morning cup of coffee (or two) to this ritual. Over time I've refined what I actually do with that hour to maximize active learning of relevant skills and drive as much efficiency as possible in the process. I wanted to share my process in case it's helpful for formulating your own learning ritual.

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  • Quick Hack to Make Your Boss (and you) More Productive- Mark Suster


    One of the earliest lessons we learned was how to make our bosses productive through a very simple tool called a "point sheet." The premise is simple: whenever you have a question or get stuck on something you're tempted to quickly ask your boss or your colleagues for help. This solves your immediate need but it greatly interrupts the productivity of others. So the solution was that any time you had a question you had to write it down on these pre-printed tablets of paper called "point sheets" and once you had accumulated enough questions you could bring them en masse to your boss (everyone who worked at Andersen in the early 90's is giving a small chuckle from nostalgia about right now).

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  • The Science of Speaking is the Art of Being Heard- Khalid Halim


    Khalid Halim is the cofounder of Reboot, a coaching firm that's worked with leaders at companies such as Coinbase, Lyft, Kickstarter and Etsy, yet what's more impressive than its list of clients is when Reboot started with them. Halim has helped a founding team of six people in an apartment grow into a now famous startup that's 100 employees strong. He's coached an executive team as its company grew from a 100-person, domestic startup with a $300 million valuation to a 1,000-person multinational valued at $5 billion. As a sought-after professional coach and former turnaround CEO, Halim specializes in untangling complex company communications to help organizations build upon one narrative. In this exclusive interview, Halim draws from his work with Carl Buchheit of NLPMarin and expertise in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to reform the way leaders communicate with their teams--and vice versa. He dissects four meta models that've proven to be especially effective tools for the leaders he's coached.

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  • When Smart People are Bad Employees!- Ben Horowitz


    In hi-tech, intelligence is always a critical element in any employee, because what we do is difficult and complex and the competitors are filled with extremely smart people. However, intelligence is not the only important quality. Being effective in a company also means working hard, being reliable, and being an excellent member of the team. When I was a CEO, this was one of the most difficult lessons for me to learn. I felt that it was my job to create an environment where brilliant people of all backgrounds, personality types, and work styles would thrive. And I was right. That was my job. Companies where people with diverse backgrounds and work-styles can succeed have significant advantages in recruiting and retaining top talent over those that don't. Still, you can take it too far. And I did. Here are three examples of the smartest people in the company being the worst employees

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  • To Build an Amazing Sales Team, Start Here!- Pete Kazanjy


    After three years landing clients like Facebook, Microsoft and UPS, TalentBin got bought by Monster, and co-founder Pete Kazanjy emerged with proven wisdom about building an effective sales strategy from the ground up. The first step? Building a persuasive, bulletproof narrative that will grab people's attention, get them to question existing solutions, and ultimately convince them that not using your product is costing them big. A sales narrative is not to be confused with a sales pitch. Rather, it's the core story that can be adapted for slide decks and presentations, demos and calls. And despite popular belief, it shouldn't be a laundry list of why your company is awesome (in fact it should bake in some not-so-awesome facts too). In this exclusive preview of his forth coming book on enterprise sales, Kazanjy speaks directly about how startups can build a powerful narrative to expedite traction and scale.