Archive | Strategy

A tale of two taxis

My favorite way to travel in Paris is the metro, but when I was in Paris for LeWeb last month, I ended up getting a ride in two taxis, one a traditional Paris taxi, the other, an Uber. In light of the controversy surrounding France’s new 15-minute law, and the violence that has erupted in […]

500 Startups’ Warmgun conference recap: we’re all designers

For the last three years, a highlight of my year has been a design conference called Warmgun organized by 500Startups. It’s always held in the stylish Kabuki Hotel in San Francisco’s Japantown, a venue that I’d be surprised can house next year’s conference since it was absolutely packed.  Unlike most conferences which focus on tactical how-to’s, […]

Is it lean, or is it sloppy?

It’s a great time to start a business. Thanks to the Internet, distribution for countless ideas is almost free and Moore’s law keeping plugging away, driving down the cost of computing, and with it a huge barrier to entry. Low-cost distribution and low cost-of-goods-sold make it really easy to have an idea, test it out, […]

How to say you’re sorry: writing a postmortem after a major outage

There comes a time in every startup’s life when things go very very wrong. It’s a moment of helplessness when everything you’ve been working towards for months and even years is starting to crumble before you. This post is about a few things that I’ve learned dealing with bad situations like this at software-as-a-service companies. The work isn’t fun, but if done right, can actually strengthen your relationship with customers for the long haul.

Don’t build that feature.

Product-market fit. Most of the time, we think about it in terms of what to build. But sometimes, what you don’t build is just as important. Saying no is an under-appreciated act. Awards aren’t given for what wasn’t created, but anything great is as much about what is left out, as about what gets in. So today’s post is an ode to not building it. And it goes out to all those who said no.

How to hire your startup’s next great employee (and avoid the duds)

What’s the single most important factor driving the success of a startup? A brilliant idea? Lots of investment capital? Nope. Great hiring. The best idea, no matter how well funded, isn’t worth a thing without a team of smart, dedicated people who can work together effectively. This post will give you some rules to follow when putting together a strong team through hiring.

Pray for killer competition

Great competitors get a lot of things right: they find product-market fit; they nail branding; they crush it on distribution; they prove that people WILL pay more for x . When you can answer the question “who are my truly great competitors and who is everyone else”, you can start to focus on the things that really matter, and leave the rest to the imitators.