What’s the best way to understand investor behavior?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Conflicts of interest between startups and VCs | A Founder’s Notebook

I’ve been lucky to have superb VCs invest in Seeking Alpha. One of the things that’s helped me to maximize my relationship with them is understanding when our interests diverge. Here are two examples: It’s in their interest to push their portfolio companies to swing for the fences, even if that means raising the risk of failure. VCs rightly care about their brand, which is strongly impacted by association with successful companies with “buzz”.

What’s the best way to understand how your VC thinks about your business?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Some Thoughts On Tweeting Vs Blogging – AVC

[when thinking about Twitter] I had been blogging for almost four years at that point and was completely sold on the huge benefits that come from publicly sharing your insights, opinions, and decisions. I would advocate blogging to everyone. And folks would try it. And that vast majority of them (way greater than 90%) would not be able to sustain it. So when tweeting showed up, I thought “well this has most of the benefits of blogging but is at l… (read more)

What’s the best way to scale your organization?

Joe Gebbia (Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer at Airbnb)
How Design Thinking Transformed Airbnb from a Failing Startup to a Billion Dollar Business | First Round Review

At Airbnb, the company encourages new employees to ship new features on their first day at the company. It earns them their sea legs and shows that great ideas can come from anywhere. This approach yields results in unexpected ways.

What’s the best way to run your meeting?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Why you should push your team to write (and hire people who can write) | A Founder’s Notebook

I read somewhere that strategy meetings in Amazon start with the participants reading a paper about the topic. Benefits: (i) ensures there’s a clear “owner” for the topic, (ii) ensures that meetings are properly prepared for, (iii) ensures that people consider everything the “owner” has to say about the topic without interrupting, (iv) allocates time at the beginning of the meeting for everyone to prepare for the discussion.

What’s the best way to raise your seed round?

Josh Kopelman (Partner at First Round)
What the Seed Funding Boom Means for Raising a Series A | First Round Review

Why not raise $2.5M in seed money instead of $1.5M to give yourself the best shot at perfecting this data? You should target 18 to 24 months of runway post Series Seed. The best time to raise follow-on capital is when you don’t need it, and 2 years of runway gives you the best chance to land in that situation.

What’s the best way to prioritize?

Tomasz Tunguz (Partner at Redpoint Ventures)
Startup Best Practices 13 – Patience with Unit Economics

Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer at Hubspot, recently shared with me how he instills patience in unit economics in his teams. 1. Adopt before you buy – develop a bottoms up product that people can try out and ultimately upgrade themselves without having to contact sales or support. 2. Product before people – focus on improving the product before hiring additional customer support or salespeople. The product has to stand on its own. 3. Individu… (read more)

What’s the best way to prioritize product features?

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Deconstructing urgent vs. important

Unless you’re a day trader, though, this drama of seeing the news unfold right now is not going to help you make better decisions–in fact, it’s going to make your decisions worse. It’s also unlikely to make you happier. Or smarter. We’re more likely to be afraid of terrorism than long-term atmosphere change, even though it’s clear that the latter kills and injures far more people than the former.The news we consume changes us. Not just the news … (read more)

What’s the best way to plan headcount for your sales team?

Tomasz Tunguz (Partner at Redpoint Ventures)
Startup Best Practices 13 – Patience with Unit Economics

Mark [Roberge, CRO at Hubspot] uses his sales teams’ performance to determine how quickly he grows the sales team. For example, a startup employing Mark’s strategy might have a $4k MRR quota for its five person sales team. The VP of sales would then tell the existing sales team, if they exceed $4. 5k MRR quota next month, there won’t be any incremental hires. And the quota then increase the next month to $5. 0k, and so on until the team can no lo… (read more)

What’s the best way to outsource work?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to hire someone to handle outsourcing for your startup | A Founder’s Notebook

At Seeking Alpha, we’ve found that offshoring is more effective than outsourcing for many tasks. We’ve built an outstanding team of 40 people in India. The core was built by Tova Citrin, who now runs her own business helping companies to build offshore teams.

What’s the best way to navigate competitive forces?

Mark Zuckerberg (Founder & Chairman & CEO at Facebook)
How To Get Ahead: Entrepreneurial Lessons From Mark Zuckerberg

We had this concept that we actually still have in the company today, called lockdown. Which is — whenever any other company got ahead of us on something that we thought was strategic to us, we literally did not leave the house until we had addressed the problem. Now it’s a little looser of an interpretation. We don’t literally lock everyone inside the office, but about as close to that as we can legally get.