Collaboration vs Individualism is a False Choice

Giff Constable innovation, management

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* people have done their thinking …

Waiting for Perfection

Giff Constable design, management

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 for a lot of people. …

Selling your company – some core questions and answers

Giff Constable management, startups, technology

A friend’s startup was recently approached by an interested buyer, which spurred me to write up some thoughts on M&A in hopes that they could be useful to other entrepreneurs. For those that do not know my background, I have both sold a startup and managed multiple tech deals as an investment banker at Broadview (now Jefferies). Here is my …

Focus. There is no but.

Giff Constable management, startups

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 of focus (think extension of …

$160 million in the bank

Giff Constable management, startups

I was just catching up on the Chirp conference care of GigaOm when I stopped dead at this sentence, “With more than 100,000 applications created on its platform to date, it’s frankly amazing that Twitter hadn’t formalized its road map and addressed competition with developers before … [t]hough with $160 million in the bank you’d think the company could have …

Are you all on the same page? A 20 minute Test.

Giff Constable management, startups

When you are in the weeds building, testing, and iterating, communication challenges can pop up. First, you want everyone on the same page as to how the “value proposition” has evolved, what needs to be validated next, and why. Second, when your business feels like a moving target, sometimes it can be awfully hard to explain to others in clear …

He should have fired my ass

Giff Constable management, startups

Bijan Sabet of Spark Capital today posed the question of how a startup maintains speed once it hits adolescence. His conclusion is that “speed is really the result of a having the company aligned.” Howard Lindzon, the colorful CEO of Stocktwits, responded with the following comment: “we deal with this today. managing feature creep is key. obviously being aligned is …

The Beautiful Sound of No

Giff Constable management, startups

Hiten Shah tonight sent out an interesting tweet, “The more you know, the more you no.”  Interestingly enough, Matt Henrick riffed back, “the less you know, the more you will try.”  My brain went in a different direction: how experience teaches you what not to do.  I thought it would be fun to talk about some great no’s in a …