Archive for 1998
The past 30 days
Recommended hiring practice
Demonstrating to potential candidates that you have an active inbound hiring funnel, and also a pro-active promotion and retention policy of diverse candidates, demonstrates to the extended network of their social connections that your company is serious about diversity, which engenders employees from diverse backgrounds recommending to their social networks your company as a potential employer.
Long winded way of saying “people recommend to their friends your company as a place of employment if those self-same people see that your company is a good place to work for everyone, not just the anointed few due to demographics.”
General rules of thumb:
A piece of consumer technology being introduced with a strong marketing push that has wide utility and appeal will take at least five years to adopt in to the mainstream if the current infrastructure supports it.
A piece of consumer technology being introduced with a strong marketing push that has wide utility and appeal will take at least 10 years to adopt in to the mainstream if the current infrastructure does not support it.
A piece of experimental technology being introduced that has wide utility and appeal will take at least 20 or more years to adopt in to the consumer level early adopters and closer to 25 years for it to reach mainstream prominence.
Where can I find someone to date me?
Technical co-founders are hot properties.
Always have been.
Everybody needs one, everybody wants one and everybody is chasing them elusively.
I am frequently asked “Where can I find a tech cofounder?” at networking meetups.
Sometimes they ask about a CTO.
Or a programmer to work for free.
But the question always takes the same shape.
And I respond “What you’re asking is ‘how can I find a rich, hot, single girl willing to date me?'”
Things not to do:
1. Don’t accept the first pitch given to you. Or the second. Or the third.
2. Do your due diligence on your non-tech cofounder. He or she will probably do the same to you.
3. Find out what
4. Make sure that what you are getting is an equitable trade
5. Be aware of the risks
6. Do everything you can to avoid signing a non-compete – if you do have to sign one, put a very restrictive term limit on it
7. If you are signing away anything, make sure your getting something in return for it
8. If you sign something away with out pay, make sure you can get it back
9. If all they have is an idea, and jealously guard it, keep looking
10. Until there is something concrete, don’t sign an NDA
11. Work on an idea that you both came up with
12. If you must work on someone else’s idea, make sure it is one you can be excited about for a long time
13. When you are a cofounder, you aren’t just working for someone, you’re their partner, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time with them
Questions To Ask Before Taking That Job At A Start-Up
There’s a lot of questions you can ask before you take that tempting job offer from that hot little start-up you just interviewed at.
All of the questions that have stood me in good stead over the years are listed below.
This isn’t a definitive list. It is a starting point. There are an endless list of question you can ask and seek answers too.
The one thing you want, when asking questions and seeking answers, is hard, concrete data. Any answers that are hand wavy “magic happens here” or they don’t have a clear answer you can understand, should raise some very large red flags.
It is better to have an “I don’t know” answer to a question than a long, rambling pitch.
Tell me about the background of the founding team?
Can I see the financials of the company?
Does the start-up have enough cash to sustain itself, including its current team size and expansion plans, for another year?
Tell me about the idea that forms the basis of the start-up?
How many times have you pivoted?
Do you see yourself pivoting in the future?
Tell me about your traction?
What can the start-up do for me?
What is the roadmap, including a step by step plan, for the next five years?
What is your burn rate?
Do you have any revenue?
Where will you find your first customers? Assuming they don’t have any yet.
How will you capitalize your existing market share?
How will you attract market share from your competitors?
Do you have a revenue plan?
Where are you in your funding?
I am a great believer in going lean in everything except my waistline or my cooking.
Going lean means cutting excess where you find it so that you can get from point A to point B as cheaply, quickly and easily as possible.
Cheaply doesn’t mean being cheap – spend money where it’s needed; cut excess expenditure where it is not.
Quickly doesn’t mean fast – heading 100mph in any direction is less preferable than heading 5mph in the correct direction; but sometimes any direction is better than no direction when you don’t know which direction to go in.
Easily doesn’t mean by any means necessary – it means removing the sticking friction that is holding back the advancement of a project; easily is related to quickly – if you cannot move forward quickly you cannot move forward easily.
I value attention to detail in a worker higher than I value core knowledge and here’s why…
I can teach core knowledge, it might take time, but it can be taught.
But if you lack attention to detail, if you have a propensity to cut corners when it suits you, I cannot teach you not to do that, I can only hope that one day you will start taking pride in your work. But that isn’t usually a risk I am willing to take.
You don’t have to get every detail right every time – this website is testament to that fact, it is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors and other minor mistakes.
But I want to see enough care in the details that I won’t have to worry about how big of a corner you cut.
It is attention to detail that will get you the job, every time. People who measure against anything else are measuring the wrong performance indicators.
Ego-centric view of the universe
Ego is what gives you opportunities.
Lack of ego is what lets you decide which opportunities you should act on.