The product you sell will be a reflection of the organization you design.
There are few better ways to show you care about and value your employees, and to retain your best people, than the unrequested, unexpected, unscheduled, off-cycle raise.
Good communication is vital to your company's success. When your company is 5, 10, or even 20 people, in one room, maybe at one table, communication happens to you. Whether you want it to or not. Which is (mostly) a good thing. As you grow, you need a Communication System because communication doesn’t happen as … Continue reading 9 Tips for Building a Communication System (with Templates)
How to create a better management system and better managers, and incidentally achieve your company goals
Project management is a skill. And it’s vital to your success. Get good at it.
Everyone has ideas. Few can execute. You’re better off having great execution and the wrong idea because with great execution you can learn and iterate on your vision as part of the execution. On the other hand, a great vision without execution will get you nowhere.
Planning is how you turn your foundational materials into measurable goals, a prioritized to do list, and project plans, to achieve the next level of specificity of the Operating System and maximize your likelihood of success.
Your Operating System starts with and builds on your foundational materials. The foundational materials define your organization. They include some combination of a vision, mission, strategy, values, and culture.
Your company has an Operating System whether or not you consciously build and nurture one. It will happen by default. And a default Operating System is highly unlikely to function well and get the long-term results you’re looking for.
What if you had a user manual for your manager, the members of your team, or the people who work for you? You could, without years of working together first, learn how they like to communicate, how they like to manage or be managed, how they like to give and receive feedback, what their pet … Continue reading Everyone Needs A User Manual
Hiring well is hard. Really hard. If you’ve hired people, you’ve probably made hiring mistakes. No matter how many interviews or what your process is, nothing can ensure you’ll do it right, especially if you want to hire without it taking many months. Before getting into how to make better hiring decisions, let’s start with … Continue reading Ten Tips on How to Hire Better (With Templates)
Said almost no one ever. Much more common is: “I’d do anything get that hour back!” Meetings are important. And also a good way to waste time. Ten wasted minutes in a six person meeting = a wasted hour for the organization. That adds up fast to wasted days and weeks and a frustrated, less … Continue reading Wow, That Was a Great Meeting!
I love learning but never liked school. School told me that the time to learn math was 12:55 to 1:50. School made me read pages 142–175 and answer problem set 7 on page 176. School gave me a quiz the next day. School often made me sit quietly in a chair while someone talked at me. … Continue reading The Best Thing About Teaching Myself to Code Wasn’t that I Can Code
Lawyers, operations teams, many of us perform repetitive, time-consuming, error-prone tasks, including filling out templates for NDAs, offer letters, employment agreements, consulting agreements, and more. Save yourself time and reduce errors by automating those tasks. Here’s a relatively simple way to take data from a form or spreadsheet and use that data to perform one … Continue reading How to automate filling out Google Doc templates
This post walks step-by-step through a case study that estimates the tax impact of exercising startup stock options. I made this for myself, so I figured I’d share. It’s long and boring, but also possibly helpful. Lawyer warning: Before you do anything, talk to a professional! This is a high-level summary to give you an … Continue reading What will the taxes be if I exercise my startup options?
At each of my last few startups, I instituted a program where employees teach each other stuff. It’s called Always Be Learning or #ABL (because everything needs a mysterious hashtag). At Kickstarter, it started informally with a few people on the operations team teaching each other topics ranging from SQL to egg cookery, and grew … Continue reading Four Reasons Why Your Company Needs An “Always Be Learning” Program
In the last several years at Kickstarter and advising startups, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to build models for awarding stock options in the fairest ways possible, talking to startups about the models they use, and thinking about the different ways to value companies and options. This post explains one simple way to … Continue reading How To Value Your Startup Stock Options— Discount Value
Even If You Have No Experience or An MBA I’ve applied for hundreds of jobs, been ignored or rejected almost as many times, read thousands of applications, been on one side or the other of hundreds of interviews, and been part of hiring over a hundred people across three startups and in finance, law, and advertising. … Continue reading Ten Tips for Getting a Startup Job
I’ve learned a ton of great stuff in the last year and I’ve had a lot of fun learning all of it. Most of it is not easy to just throw onto a webpage, but some of it is exactly that. So, I’m working on a website to display a lot of what I’ve learned … Continue reading From Lawyer to Deploy
If you want to learn to code and build stuff and you’re starting by asking someone else what you should do, you’re already thinking about it the wrong way. Immediately, right now, with no preparation, in the blink of an eye, you can take a huge step toward your goal by realizing that you don’t … Continue reading The wrong question: “I want to learn to code, what should I do?”
Two and a half years ago, I started doing every computer science and web development tutorial I could find. If I were starting again today, knowing what I now know, I’d do it something like this. Start with the basics of computer science and programming. Introduction to Computer Science I, David Malan, Harvard Extension School … Continue reading Learn the Basics of Computer Science and Web Development
When negotiating compensation, the common goal most likely to lead to a successful, long-term employment relationship is fairness, not maximization by the employee or minimization by the employer. The compensation negotiation can set the tone for the relationship and is an early impression of company culture. Both sides want the relationship to be successful. Both … Continue reading The common goal in compensation negotiations should be fairness
The two prerequisites for being a great manager are: Sincerely and deeply caring about your team and company.Having empathy, self-awareness, organizational awareness, emotional awareness, perspective, maturity, and security. If you possess those characteristics, you can become a great manager in practice by doing the following: Empower your team.Your job is to hire the best people, … Continue reading How To Be A Great Manager
My Poorly Executed But Successful Career Change How’d you get that job? That’s a question I’ve wanted to ask hundreds of people over the last twenty years. I would’ve loved to have heard their stories to help me make better decisions when managing my own career. In the last several years, for the first time, many … Continue reading From Lawyer to Startups