Showing by category: Startup Best Practices

Does Recruiting a Diverse Team Mean Discriminating Against the Majority?
Talk to me about building companies and you might as well block out half of the day! How about building teams that are like constellations of stars? Move over - I will show you! It is a subject I spend a lot of time on, since my own personal experience and countless research has shown that diverse teams deliver better product and increased efficiency. In recent weeks I had several of these great conversations. But during one of them I heard again reaction that is not that unusual – “are you saying you should engage in discrimination against the majority?” My answer that is: if that is what you call “discrimination”, then hell yes! Not only should we avoid hiring clones [more]
Building Compensation Package: Startup Equity Compensation Framework 2.0
Let me start by saying that building a total compensation package is HARD! This is an extremely important component of business planning, but many executives end up “winging” it. Instead of taking time to do the math and some modeling, we just slap something together and pray our compensation structure won’t crumble. For me personally, building an appropriate compensation package is a very hot subject, because I believe operations executives have tremendous impact potential by harnessing the power of well motivated and managed teams. Companies that take care of their employees rarely have challenges finding talent for their “constellations of stars” (see my article “Stars vs. [more]
Stars vs. Constellations – 3 Steps to Building Solid High-performing Teams
Anyone who has spent considerable time in early stage startups and fast growing scalable businesses will tell you that sustainable growth companies are built by teams of shining constellations rather than just several bright stars. A team of people that is able to feed off each other and grow together will beat any company comprised of individual stars (otherwise known as A players, rockstars, ninjas, etc). All the stars in your constellation should have an unquestionable drive to serve their team first and have the confidence that others are doing the same for them. It all starts with recruiting. Many successes and disasters start with recruiting. Recruiting is the most important job for[more]
How to Avoid Turning Your Startup into a Dysfunctional Family
A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a journalist from Wall Street Journal. We had a great conversation about the current labor market, hiring challenges, and how to build the right company culture. He ended up taking the article in another direction, but now I’m happy to be able to finally share what I discussed with him here. As some of you may recall, I am Director of Operations at a company in Cambridge, MA called Pixability. There are nine of us now and we are planning to hire three more before the year ends. We are growing rapidly and it is important to us not to turn into a dysfunctional “family”. This is the most crucial time in the growth of our company, because the cultu[more]
How To Use Video To Attract New Talent To Your Company
I’ve been working in startups and very rapidly growing companies my entire career and the most successful companies I’ve seen were the ones that were always recruiting. Here are several ways to spread the word about your company and help candidates get a taste of what your team is all about: If you open or any other employer review site, you will notice a common theme in the positive reviews – people like to have fun with their co-workers outside of the office. What would I suggest? If your budget is tight, get a Flip cam (the latest generation Android, Blackberry, or iPhone would also work well) and start documenting the fun.  Then edit it yourself, or if you want[more]
3 Problems With the Way Startups Manage Talent
I am sure you folks have realized that I’ve been “off air” for awhile. The combination of helping out Daily Grommet and joining Pixability has shriveled my capacity for writing to zero. But, I am getting back on the horse and definitely have a lot of material from the “startup trenches” to share. So that all said, today I want to focus on some of the missteps many of us take in managing our most precious resource - people. I want to point out three major ones I have seen lately in the entrepreneurial community: Fishing problem. Almost daily I hear the question “do you know any good <insert profession>? We’re having a hard time finding anyone.” And every time I foll[more]
Putting Together a Strong Technical Team
Introduction by Apolinaras "Apollo" Sinkevicius: this guest post by Paul Morgan might have the language directed at mid to larger size companies, but the vast majority of principles mentioned are highly applicable to the world of technology startups. Yes, according to my personal experience and widely available statistics, most of you will not make it past the team of 10 and this may not help you. But a good number will and strong technical teams will become a huge issue. Having had a chance to grow companies past the 100-employee mark, I know growing pains show up much earlier than expected. This will challenge most moderate to large companies involved in software development traditi[more]
7 Commandments for Women in Technology and Other Male-dominated Fields
I’m sure most of you have read my article “Time to end the frat house culture! We need more women in our midst.” I want to see more women in leadership roles and the ranks of techies, scientists, and entrepreneurs. This not only benefits society, but is also great for business (see my previous article for the data). This article was inspired by several months of conversations with successful female professionals about the subject. I also had the pleasure attending a great event organized by MITX and Girls in Tech called “Lessons Learned: Women’s Careers in Review”. Here are 7 “commandments” that summarize everything I’ve learned so far: “Don’t ever use being a [more]
How to Get It All Done with 2 People in Your company
EditMe is a two person startup. We consider ourselves a startup, because we're still searching for the product/market fit that can result in scalable growth. But, we're a bit different from your typical startup in that EditMe has bootstrapped every stage of growth by providing real value to customers who have validated (or not validated) the product through real dollars. In a world where most entrepreneurs spend a majority of the time refining their deck, it seems strange to ignore outside investors. Impossible even. Here's how we do it. 1. Have super-high standards - start with the right people. I'm a firm believer in Joel Spolsky's Guerrilla Guide to Interview - Find smart people who get [more]
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