Can you really learn from peers? From reading, from books, form Webinars and podcasts? If you can distill, you can. It is difficult to retain details but the broad idea stays. That’s why mental models are useful for success (Charlie Munger) and storytelling is so effective. The first time I heard Brian Chesky on Masters of Scale talking about customer experience rating and imagining what a 11star experience would be like – it stayed with me. Through numerous retelling (exactly like stories – the ones we like we tell others) it went deeper into my consciousness.
Being an entrepreneur is about taking decisions. All the time. It wears you off specially if you are trying to optimize every single one. Every decision has to be the best decision. Fine tuned. To the T. It can be exhausting if not paralyzing. When is good enough good enough? Most of the time it appears.
At Collision, one of the largest tech conferences in the world which shifted its latest version to Toronto, Des Traynor, C0 Founder Intercom – focused on Retention being more important than conversion. This resonates with me because we have been talking about “Buying is the new Selling” for a while and it sort of dovetails into this major shift happening in today’s transaction ecosystem. Traynor reiterates some known points and makes some new connections :
Getting press and coverage, and in turn building links back to your site is a big challenge startups face. While you are busy building, validating your product, trying to get the first 10 paying customers you are following Paul Graham’s advice and doing things that don’t scale. Add to this for tactical measures as many of them will provide a big pay back.
So what is big data? This is what companies know about us. Aggregated from numerous sources and analyzed for patterns. Big data is what helps banks predict and flag credit card frauds. Little data on the other hand is what we know about ourselves. “What we buy. Who we know. Where we go. How we spend our time. We’ve always had a sense for these things — after all, it’s our lives. But thanks to the combination of mobile, social, and cloud technologies, it’s easier than ever to gain insight into our own behavior” writes Mark Bonchek in this HBR article.
An IDC Survey found that up to 80% of marketing generated content goes unused by sales teams. While building Pitch.Link one key issue we wanted to address was sales and marketing alignment. This we did by ensuring that while Marketing is building entire pitches (not only a particular collateral – but the flow where they envisage it will be used) they could ask for feedback from the sales team and fine tune the messaging and narrative to make it most useful for the value communication process.
So here is the thing. Most of us believe, me included that focus is the key to better productivity and meaningful life.
Srini Pillay thinks otherwise.
Dr. Srini Pillay is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Part-Time) at Harvard Medical School. He is also an executive coach, technology innovator and author of the 2017 book Tinker Dabble Doodle Try: Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind. He was Director of the Outpatient Anxiety Disorders Program at McLean Hospital and was Director of the Panic Disorders Research Program in the Brain Imaging Center. There, he spent 17 years studying functional brain imaging.
This is one interesting analysis by Fred Wilson in his AVC column posted in 2017. What burn rate is acceptable and sustainable? Understandably the discussion with founders and boards could be emotional at best when discussing burn rate. All companies and their backers want to get to the Unicorn status as soon as possible and no spend is enough to get there.
The Startup life full of challenges. Managing relationship through difficult situations that need discussions and decisions is critical. Not without reason co-founder conflicts seem to be one of the key reasons for startup failures. That made me reflect on how many of our difficult discussions with colleagues and contemporaries devolve into nothingness and how we can possibly change the approach to make it more meaningful. Giving feedback or discussing tactical issues at hand can be tricky. They tend to land up in debates, the need to defend ones position becomes imperative. It is rare to have an environment which is safe and open for the group to share openly and that’s where the Gestalt (language) Protocol comes in.
Jordan Valencia, Programs and Partnership Manager at Grab Ventures, in her latest article in Harvard Business Review talks about the need to focus on culture when companies are in the Hyper Growth phase. Defined by Alexander V. Izosimov in HBR in 2008, “Hypergrowth refers to the steep part of the S-curve”. The rapid growth comes with steep rise in employee count. This is where the challenges set in.