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 …

What Gets Said vs What Gets Remembered

Giff Constable management

Matt Blumberg posted some great managerial advice today on the problem of “what gets said isn’t necessarily what gets heard.”  I totally agree with his recommendations of “playback” and email follow-up. This advice also applies to upward or sideways management.  This is for the “what gets said isn’t necessarily what gets remembered” problem. It can be a boss, a peer, …

Quarterly “Stop, Start, and Continue” Reviews

Giff Constable management

Last night, Matt Blumberg of Return Path discussed some of the pivots his business has taken on its journey at a Lean Startup Meetup in NYC.  Matt has a first post up about it here, with the great quote: the larger your business is, and the more investors have a stake in it, the harder it is to make BIG …

Learning is about the translation, not the source

Giff Constable management, marketing, startups

I was reading Fred Destin’s post on why entrepreneurs hate VCs, when a quote caught my eye: “Learning from mistakes is far less useful than emulating success.”  It’s a message that 37Signals likes to harp on as well.  I’d argue that you have an equal shot at learning from mistakes or successes, as long as you take the time to …

Motivation and Inspiration – Dan Pink’s TED Talk

Giff Constable management, startups

Thanks to a tumble from Hiten Shah, I just watched and loved Dan Pink’s TED talk on incentive structures and performance. Dan makes a case that monetary performance-based incentives increase productivity for mechanical tasks, but not for complex creative ones. Instead, you need to focus on three things: autonomy mastery purpose This is exceptionally true in software startups.  Yes, people …

Startups: hiring, careers, sales people

Giff Constable management, startups

This week saw two interesting and related posts on startups and hiring/careers.  Mark Suster wrote about who you should hire into your startup, and Chris Dixon wrote about the ideal startup career path. Mark’s message is to hire hungry, smart people who want to get to the next level in their career, not the ones who have already arrived. Chris …

Empower your experts

Giff Constable management, startups

I love despair.com’s line “none of us is as dumb as all of us”. A big part of startup success is tied to the quality of people and how well they work together.  That’s why I’m always sad when I see situations where a business has hired someone really good, and then refuses to empower them as an expert.  Occasionally …