Category management

The Intrapreneur’s Team

Neo spends a lot of time working with large companies on new product innovation. One question we often get is how to best structure roles and teams. Here are a few high-level bullets: Senior Executive’s Role: define the vision and desired outcomes allow the team to explore and define the solution create funding structure and… Continue reading

Aging into Obsolescence

The structure of modern business forces people to become stale as they age. The economic incentives of most creative industries, including tech, all point in this direction. When you are young, you *make* stuff. You code, you design, you write, you execute. You constantly get to practice and improve your making skills. The normal definition… Continue reading

Firing yourself up, and firing yourself down

Joel Gascoigne has a thoughtful post called “The maker/manager transition phase“. He grapples with the shift from early-stage startup “maker” mode to scaling-startup management mode. It is a major mental shift to go from doing to delegating. Joel includes a great quote from Joe Kraus: “If you’re a founding CEO, I believe that you are… Continue reading

The Zuck Highlights

Like many, I just read Mark Zuckerberg’s S-1 letter. There are two things I really appreciated: the focus on long-term value, and the results-oriented innovation culture it espoused. The letter states that the company wants to embrace risk and focus on long term value, not “maximizing investor returns” or quarterly performance. I’m glad to see… Continue reading

Collaboration vs Individualism is a False Choice

Susan Cain in the NYTimes wrote a broadside against collaboration, calling it groupthink. Now Cliff Kuang in Design.Co writes “the brainstorming process is BS.” Honestly, I don’t get the fuss. Isn’t it obvious that creativity and innovation is enhanced by both introspective and collaborative time? I’m only a fan of collaborative idea generation sessions *if*… Continue reading

Waiting for Perfection

My former colleague Jerry Paffendorf, who is off re-inventing Detroit, shared a great clip of Pixar’s Ed Catmull talking at Stanford, via Protoshare’s blog. At around the 6 min mark, Catmull is discussing Pixar’s constant “peer sharing” process: “In the process of making the film, we reviewed the material every day. Now this is counter-intuitive… Continue reading

Focus. There is no but.

Jordan Cooper, a bright NYC entrepreneur and investor, just wrote a post called “If you’re building for $1B, is “Focus” a Farce?” He writes: “I find myself wondering if changes in the product development lifecycle are not giving birth to a new type of non-bootstrapped operation/execution that is more forgiving of experimentation at the expense… Continue reading

9 Tips for Distributed Teams

The best way to build a startup is to have everyone in a single physical location, but that isn’t always possible.  I’ve had to deal with virtual teams on multiple occasions, and my last employer, The Electric Sheep Company, took it to an extreme, with 75 people mostly scattered around the country.  Here are a… Continue reading