Stop Pretending You’re Not a Tech Company

Giff Constable management, technology

I keep on running into large companies who say they are not a technology company. All I want to do is shake them and say, “Don’t you get it? We’re all technology companies today.” But instead, software gets treated as “IT” and outsourced or managed as a utility. Too often, they don’t hire for creative people; they don’t differentiate creative …

Firing yourself up, and firing yourself down

Giff Constable management, startups

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 doing your company a disservice …

The Zuck Highlights

Giff Constable innovation, management

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 more companies resisting Wall Street’s …

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 …