Case For Not Taking Small Investments and Why Early Employees Are Unsung Heroes of Startups
It does not come as a surprise to anyone who knows me that I am not a stranger to getting into occasional passionate discussion. This weekend I made a statement which caused such discussion. Unfortunately, Twitter is the worst place to have a discussion. Arguments in 140 character format make people extremely susceptible to interpretation and overreaction to the meaning of individual words. Does not help that often people, who were never part of the original conversation, end up getting involved half way without understanding original context. Unlikely a constructive or valuable conversation. So what the heck did I say? "Apparently in Boston you are an angel investor if you wrote measl[more]
Male Perspective on Lack of Women in Startups and What Women Can Do About It
This article has been brewing in me for a while. I credit some of the biggest wins in my career to the most diverse and smart people around me. Best decisions are made after hearing a broad range of perspectives. You can't do that in an echo-chamber of people who are exactly same as you and think like you. As you have seen me tweet, post, and speak in public, I am just not OK with the low numbers of women we have in technical fields and in senior leadership ranks. Though there are more females than males graduating from colleges, browsing most "About" pages of startups, and especially tech companies, will still show you that white or Asian males dominate the teams. I admit my One Mighty R[more]
On Being a New Father and the Struggles, Biases, Lessons Learned While Building a Business
For the past decade and a half, I have read countless articles on how it is impossible to build a successful company and be a good parent at the same time. I call bullshit! Yes, I know, I now owe money to the swear jar, but I’m happy to pay. Here is the TL;DR for those of you with short attention spans - being a great parent AND running/building a company are complementary to each other. The "hustle" needed to run a successful startup multiples many fold when you have a little human depending on you to win. I had NO IDEA what focus, drive, and effectiveness were until I became a new parent. When you have a little child running at you with arms stretched out and big smile on his/her fac[more]
New Father, New Team, New Opportunities – Boston, Watch Out!
The past few months have been the most eventful ones in my adult life. Most importantly, I became a father! I have been in startups my entire career, but this new "startup," my beautiful daughter Greta, has tested my planning, troubleshooting, and iterating abilities while providing me with an incredible amount of "fire", clarity, focus, and zen-like calm. So, it is probably not surprising that this huge event has also served as a strong catalyst for several other changes.  I took two months off to be new dad and supportive partner (a luxury in the US) and also decided to leave Pixability for the next venture to scale. My exciting news is that I am joining the One Mighty Roar digital exp[more]
Talent Arbitrage, or How I Find the Best People You Would Likely Miss
Admit it, it is hard finding talented people with a good attitude, who are not set in their own ways, and who are eager to improve their skills! Yes, we are already at a disadvantage since we don’t have the deep pockets of an IPOed company. But, we also tend to create several other self-inflicted major disadvantages: Using a fishing analogy, we “trawl” instead of using our line to fish for candidates. If your recruiting team complains about too many resumes, they either need to be re-educated or fired. We look for “Mr(s) Perfect Fit," which is just about the dumbest way to lose out on incredible talent. An unwillingness to hire people with the right foundations and mentor/t[more]
Signs It Is the Right Time to Hire an Operations Executive (COO or VP of Operations)
The day-to-day execution and administration of a business often takes an excessive amount of time, so the primary reason to augment your team with an Operations Executive is to maximize your CEO's and other co-founders' contribution to the enterprise. I firmly believe that staying true to a vision is best achieved by having a founder as CEO. It is almost always preferable over "hired guns" that can help you execute on the vision but seldom understand it as well and are often too pragmatic. That said, a management hire can be very much a champion of the vision and a true partner with the founder. Good managers are seldom unreasonable, and it takes “unreasonable people” to do the sorts o[more]
Your Past Restaurant Job May Be Worth More Than Education
Ever since I was a talent agent in the entertainment industry, I have been developing and continuously improving my patterns for detecting gifted people who are more talented than they know. One of my mentors used to say: "catch them before they have a chance to destroy themselves with swollen egos and visions of grander". After all of these years observing what kind of people do well and what kind end up bitter with their tails between their legs, I can bravely say that I got the pattern down pat. Yes, when I am seeking great people to join my teams, I use methods and patterns to be efficient. So what are the methods to my madness? 1. I want to know if you have ever worked in retail o[more]
7 Rules for How to Sell to “Darth Vader”
We all know there are a lot of bad sales people, just like there are a bunch of lousy artists. I therefore have a great appreciation for excellent sales professionals. Plus, being an operations executive is truly a sales job, and I have to get a buy-in on any larger initiative. I also have been in sales myself, built many systems to make "sales hunting" easier, and recruited my share of sales people. So where does Darth Vader come in? Blame it on one of the Boston's best sales masters - Matthew Bellows, founder of Yesware, which is a really useful e-mail tool for sales. I recently went to see one of Matthew’s stellar presentations. Unfortunately, the video isn’t available online yet,[more]
Myths Why Startups Don’t Need COOs and Operations Executives
As my regular readers know, I am a startup operations veteran with "battle scars" from 9 startups (co-founder in 2 and early employee in most). I have acquired a PhD in operations from the school of hard knocks after years of being around some very smart people and working on difficult problems. Today, I am going to address some common misconceptions about startup operations executives. Let’s get to it! First and foremost, let’s get the lingo and caveats out of the way, since many myths start and won’t die because of a substantial lack of clarity. What’s the difference between a COO, VP, Director of Operations, or GM? – Depending on where your company is based, how it[more]
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