Thursday 16th August 2018
  • Starting Fires on Purpose : When and How Leaders Need to Break the Rules - Paul Berry

    When Paul Berry was CTO of The Huffington Post -- where he grew their audience from zero to more than 110 million monthly readers -- President Greg Coleman and CEO Eric Hippeau had a running joke that they needed an armed military vehicle to bring him to and from work, because he was too darn valuable.
    "If you die on the way here, Paul, we're all screwed," they'd say. "You have to start hiring people who are as good as you so that we can replace you if we have to." So that's exactly what Berry did, and his management style attracted incredible talent. His secret: he instituted very little process for the technology team as it grew. As you'll see, structure isn't really his thing.
    Now as Founder and CEO of publishing platform RebelMouse, Berry compares the magic of a startup's early days to the way Jimi Hendrix pursued his music career.
    "We were the startup that never knew the startup rules," he says. "I did everything very intentionally not by the book. We never talked about management, team, structure, or process. The rules felt wrong to me."
    But inevitably at both The Huffington Post and RebelMouse, Berry had to shift gears from operating like Jimi Hendrix to implementing structure and procedures that would allow scale without stifling originality. To keep things fresh, he built a rule-breaking mindset into this structure.

    Continued here

  • Getting less done - David Hansson

    So you got a lot done this week? Good for you. But what exactly did you get done? Was it work you'll remember next month? Was it work that'll matter next year? Did you learn anything that'll help you tomorrow?
    High productivity doesn't mean squat if the things you're getting done aren't truly important. It's far better to get a few top things done, and done well, than to crush a mile-deep todo list of trivial bullshit.

    Continued here

  • Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life

    Here's some Monday morning inspiration, from Steve Jobs's 2005 commencement address at Stanford.
    "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
    Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

    Complete address here

  • Climbing the wrong hill - Chris Dixon

    I know a brilliant young kid who graduated from college a year ago and now works at a large investment bank. He has decided he hates Wall Street and wants to work at a tech startup (good!). He recently gave notice to his bosses, who responded by putting on a dog and pony show to convince him to stay. If he stays at the bank, the bosses tell him, he'll get a raise and greater responsibility. Joining the technology industry, he'd be starting from scratch. He is now thinking that he'll stay, despite his convincing declaration that he has no long term ambitions in finance.
    Over the years, I've run into many prospective employees in similar situations. When I ask them a very obvious question: ""What do you want to be doing in 10 years?" The answer is invariably "working at or founding a tech startup" - yet most of them decide to remain on their present path and not join a startup. Then, a few years later, they finally quit their job, but only after having spent years in an industry they didn't enjoy, and that didn't really advance them toward their long term ambitions.

    Continued here

  • Prenups for Co-founders - Scott Kupor

    When you start a company, it's you and your co-founder against the world. You will sacrifice everything to build your vision. Sleepless nights, forgoing a social life, letting your health go to crap, and even neglecting your own family are all on the table to achieve your dreams, but it's going to be OK, because you are in it together. Together forever.
    But what if it's not forever? What if you sacrifice everything, and after two years your co-founder needs to find himself? What if his ego gets bruised, because you are the CEO and as the company grows he becomes less important? What if she develops a serious drug problem? What if she turns out to be not quite as talented as you thought? What if he likes partying more than working? What if "shit happens"?
    Well, it can be OK, or it can destroy your company. It all depends on how realistic you are when you set things up.
    Yes, breaking up is hard to do - whether in love or in business. But, at least in business, there are some things founders can do proactively to lessen the pain. Think of it as a common sense prenup to protect your company.
    So, what can you do to help ensure that founder breakups don't end your startup dreams? Here are some things to consider:

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  • Required Reading for Early Business Hires (60+ resources to help your startup find traction) - Nick deWilde

    As an early business hire you're the right hand of the founder when it comes to acquiring customers. To be effective at your job you need more than tactics. You need to understand the strategy behind distribution.
    At Tradecraft, we designed this reading list to get students up to speed on important sales and marketing frameworks. We believe it's only useful to start learning tactics like content marketing or SEO after you firmly understand the foundational relationship between startups and their customers.
    Here's an outline of the reading list:
    1. What Startups Want
    2. Why Customers Buy
    3. Crafting an Effective Message
    4. The Sales and Marketing Machine
    5. Metrics that Matter
    6. Getting Early Traction
    7. Next Steps: Learning the Tactics

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  • 3 Ways Senior Leaders Create a Toxic Culture - Ron Carucci

    Whether presiding over the entire company, a function, a region, or a business unit, the people at the top of an organization have a disproportionate level of influence over those they lead. Those further down in the organization look to their leaders for cues on what's acceptable (and what isn't), and the team's habits - both good and bad - will be emulated. Having your actions play out publicly, as if on a Jumbotron, is a huge responsibility, and unfortunately too many teams don't take this responsibility as seriously as they should. The consequences can be farther reaching than most leadership teams realize.
    At their best, leadership teams synchronize their organizations into cohesive powerhouses. At their worst, they set an example that some of the worst habits will be tolerated - and perhaps even rewarded. In my 30 years of working with leadership teams, these are three habits that I've seen have the most negative influence over a company. Here's my advice for how to fix them.

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  • Hemant Kanoria, chairman & MD Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd, speaks with TradeBriefs about the power sector, NPAs and more

    In an interview with Debhota Mukherjee of TradeBriefs, Hemant Kanoria, chairman and managing director, Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd, delves at length on wide ranging issues - from the state of affairs in the country's infrastructure space, power scenario, issues of NPAs and stressed assets and so on.

    Continued here

  • GE's Fall Has Been Accelerated by Two Problems. Most Other Big Companies Face Them, Too. - HBR

    The General Electric story, of a long-proud initial member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling out of that index -- and appearing to be in competitive free fall -- provides a powerful illustration of two effects we see throughout today's corporate world: clueless, but deep-pocketed, activist investors and mergers and acquisitions folks masquerading as strategists.
    GE's fall accelerated on October 25, 2015, with activist hedge fund Trian announcing a $2.5 billion equity investment in GE stock, one that made it a top 10 shareholder. GE stock was trading at $25.47 at the time of announcement, with a dividend of $0.92 per share. Trian announced that with its help, GE could look forward to a stock price in the $40-$50 range by 2017, and threatened a proxy battle unless GE put Trian cofounder Ed Garten on the board. In June 2017 longtime CEO Jeff Immelt resigned under unrelenting Trian and shareholder pressure, and John Flannery took over as CEO. Four months later Garten joined the board.

    Continued here