i found an incredible article this evening, and i’d like to share it with anyone interested in how a company should be run. read the full article here. it’s interesting how so much of this so true. in a nutshell:
· think small: hire less people and spend less money
· no, seriously, think small: don’t hire anyone unless you have to. don’t spend money unless you have to.
· genuinely smart people say “i don’t know” and “maybe you’re right”.
· make something that’s hard, simple. if people like that, you’re on to something.
here are a couple excepts i’d highlighted:
hiring good people: “ould you describe the person as an animal?”, “What it means specifically depends on the job: a salesperson who just won’t take no for an answer; a hacker who will stay up till 4:00 AM rather than go to bed leaving code with a bug in it; a PR person who will cold-call New York Times reporters on their cell phones; a graphic designer who feels physical pain when something is two millimeters out of place.”, “If you think about people you know, you’ll find the animal test is easy to apply. Call the person’s image to mind and imagine the sentence “so-and-so is an animal.” If you laugh, they’re not. You don’t need or perhaps even want this quality in big companies, but you need it in a startup.”
smart people: “When nerds are unbearable it’s usually because they’re trying too hard to seem smart. But the smarter they are, the less pressure they feel to act smart. So as a rule you can recognize genuinely smart people by their ability to say things like “I don’t know,” “Maybe you’re right,” and “I don’t understand x well enough.”
what customers want: “You hear all kinds of reasons why startups fail. But can you think of one that had a massively popular product and still failed?”, “The only way to make something customers want is to get a prototype in front of them and refine it based on their reactions.”, ” It’s worth trying very, very hard to make technology easy to use. Hackers are so used to computers that they have no idea how horrifying software seems to normal people.”
simplicity: “If you build the simple, inexpensive option, you’ll not only find it easier to sell at first, but you’ll also be in the best position to conquer the rest of the market. It’s very dangerous to let anyone fly under you. If you have the cheapest, easiest product, you’ll own the low end. And if you don’t, you’re in the crosshairs of whoever does.”
money: “When and if you get an infusion of real money from investors, what should you do with it? Not spend it, that’s what. In nearly every startup that fails, the proximate cause is running out of money. Usually there is something deeper wrong. But even a proximate cause of death is worth trying hard to avoid.”
big too fast: “During the Bubble many startups tried to “get big fast.” Ideally this meant getting a lot of customers fast. But it was easy for the meaning to slide over into hiring a lot of people fast.”
revenue: “When you get a couple million dollars from a VC firm, you tend to feel rich. It’s important to realize you’re not. A rich company is one with large revenues. This money isn’t revenue. It’s money investors have given you in the hope you’ll be able to generate revenues. So despite those millions in the bank, you’re still poor.”
professional: “When you’re looking for space for a startup, don’t feel that it has to look professional. Professional means doing good work, not elevators and glass walls.”
hiring people: “The most important way to not spend money is by not hiring people. I may be an extremist, but I think hiring people is the worst thing a company can do. To start with, people are a recurring expense, which is the worst kind. They also tend to cause you to grow out of your space, and perhaps even move to the sort of uncool office building that will make your software worse. But worst of all, they slow you down: instead of sticking your head in someone’s office and checking out an idea with them, eight people have to have a meeting about it. So the fewer people you can hire, the better.”