Showing by category: Startup Best Practices

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]
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]
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]
Better Solution to Outdated One Time Employee Referral Bonuses
One time employee referral bonuses need to go the way of the dodo. They are an antiquated reward system that motivates the wrong things. Yes, some of the most well known companies use them, but these companies end up hurting both themselves and also the business community. Even the biggest morons can waste investor/company money, so enough with these one time referral bonuses! Before I suggest a solution, let me tell you why one time referral bonuses are a waste of money: One time large rewards do not work! The effect of the bonus wears off by the next paycheck. I’ve seen this happen many times - it is often like flushing thousands down the toilet. The person referring the can[more]
12 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Mistakes Managing Employees
Ever since I discovered a phenomenal app called Evernote (it works on all my devices!!!), I have been diligently documenting the lessons I learn each day. I also write drafts of blog articles whenever inspiration hits. If you don't have Evernote, get it; it will change the way you work. That said, in the last couple of weeks, several conversations with my consulting clients and venture-running friends motivated me to dig into my notes and produce this post. Since people management seems to be the dominant discussion I am having these days (sales operations and marketing automation are a close second), here are 12 lessons I’ve picked up along the way about leading and managing employees [more]
Stop Wasting Resources on Improving Weaknesses!
So here is my question for the many organizations that have an unhealthy fascination with improving the weaknesses of their talent: How was Michael Jordan in baseball?.. Exactly! I started my career as a talent agent. Yes, a talent agent in the entertainment industry. I even went to the top school in the field, Columbia College Chicago, to study under some of the luminaries. Even though I transitioned to the technology industry half way through my career, I picked up a lot of wisdom from several of my mentors/teachers including Irwin H. Steinberg (founder of Mercury Records and CEO of then 2nd largest record label in the world - Polygram) and Joey Edmonds (talent agent who discovered gre[more]
Why Companies Built for Just the Good Times Don’t Last
Folks, hate to be Mr. Pragmatic Realist, but in the emerging company world full of often deliriously optimistic people, I can't help but feel this way after a decade and a half in the "trenches". When I look at the companies myself and my fellow execs have worked in, there is one very clear trend with those still around - businesses built with resiliency, resource scarcity, team loyalty, and sub-optimal conditions in mind are still thriving, others - bankrupt. I am not preaching doom and gloom (that is for politicians), but what I am saying is that while you project measured optimism pointing to the inevitable highs, you should also be pragmatic and realist to the core, because some hard[more]
Poor Managers Kill Companies – 5 Ways to Improve Your Management Style and Skills
I’ve spent the last several months preparing for the birth of my first child and thinking very hard about the value of my every waking minute. If I am going to spend time away from my child, my work better be making one hell of an impact. So, I have been digging deep and thinking about what I have learned throughout my career and what I want to focus on and further improve. Managing and developing people is that highest ROI skill which you can always work to enhance. Why should you care? Well, unless you are running company of one (you), management skills and style are paramount with the consequences of hitting the viability of the company where it hurts the most - profitability. Endles[more]
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