What’s the best way to keep productivity high?

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
Software Inventory – Joel on Software

In between each of these stages, inventory can pile up. For example, when a programmer finishes implementing their code (stage 3) they give it to a tester to check (stage 4). At any given time, there is a certain amount of code waiting to be tested. That code is inventory. The “cost” of code inventory is huge.

What’s the best way to distribute company equity?

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
How much equity should a partner with a short-term commitment be entitled to? – Startups Stack Exchange

The most important principle: Fairness, and the perception of fairness, is much more valuable than owning a large stake. Almost everything that can go wrong in a startup will go wrong, and one of the biggest things that can go wrong is huge, angry, shouting matches between the founders as to who worked harder, who owns more, whose idea was it anyway, etc.

What’s the best way to distribute company equity?

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
How much equity should a partner with a short-term commitment be entitled to? – Startups Stack Exchange

Here’s the principle. As your company grows, you tend to add people in “layers”. The top layer is the first founder or founders. The second layer is the first real employees. For many companies, each “layer” will be approximately one year long. By the time your company is big enough to sell to Google or go public or whatever, you probably have about 6 layers: the founders and roughly five layers of employees. Each successive layer is larger. Ther… (read more)

What’s the best way to be a good manager?

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
The Management Team – Guest Post From Joel Spolsky – AVC

The “management team” isn’t the “decision making” team. It’s a support function. You may want to call them administration instead of management, which will keep them from getting too big for their britches. Administrators aren’t supposed to make the hard decisions. They don’t know enough. All those super genius computer scientists that you had to recruit from MIT at great expense are supposed to make the hard decisions. That’s why you’re paying t… (read more)

What’s the best way to keep productivity high?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup advice, briefly – Sam Altman

Be decisive and act quickly. Instead of thinking about making a decision over the course of week, think about making it in an hour, and getting it done in the next hour.

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
Startups in 13 Sentences

Don’t get demoralized. Though the immediate cause of death in a startup tends to be running out of money, the underlying cause is usually lack of focus. Either the company is run by stupid people (which can’t be fixed with advice) or the people are smart but got demoralized.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
The problem with collaboration, and why goals should have single “owners” | A Founder’s Notebook

Maximize what you can get done on your own. Before you ask for help from others, get as far along as possible on your own. Identify the key person you need to collaborate with, and don’t involve anyone else. Be explicit about what you need from people. Minimize your “ask” of other people’s time

Ron Friedman (Founder of ignite80, Social Psychologist)
The Collaboration Paradox: Why Working Together Often Yields Weaker Results

Collaborations breed false confidence. A study in Psychological Science found that when we work with others to reach a decision, we become overly confident in the accuracy of our collective thinking. Collaborations introduce pressures to conform. Studies show that group members tend to conform toward the majority view, even in cases when they know the majority view is wrong. Collaborations promote laziness. Ever been to a meeting where you’re the… (read more)

Adam Grant (Wharton professor, NYT writer)
9 Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity

Top performers, Grant argues, avoid saying yes to every helping opportunity. Instead, they specialize in one or two forms of helping that they genuinely enjoy and excel at uniquely.

Unknown (who knows!?)
Working With McKinsey: What Is the “Obligation to Dissent” at McKinsey?

[At McKinsey] If your boss knows that you disagree with something, you will be reminded of your “obligation to dissent“. The “obligation” comes from the fact that at McKinsey, voicing your dissent is not optional, it is required.

James Whittaker (Dintinguished Engineer and Technical Evangelist at Microsoft)
The Anti Meeting Culture | JW on Tech

Build an anti-meeting culture within your organization. Every meeting is useless until proven otherwise. Meeting organizers need to be put on notice: make this meeting meaningful, it’s your job.

Adam Grant (Wharton professor, NYT writer)
9 Productivity Tips from People Who Write About Productivity

Intentionally leave important tasks incomplete. We often race to finish assignments quickly so that we can move on to the next item on our list. [There is a] human tendency to ruminate over unfinished tasks, otherwise known as the Zeigarnick Effect. If you start a project and leave it unfinished, you’re bound to think about it more frequently than after it’s done. Instead of aiming to complete important tasks in one sitting, try leaving them inco… (read more)

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
Economic Inequality

One of the most important principles in Silicon Valley is that “you make what you measure. ” It means that if you pick some number to focus on, it will tend to improve, but that you have to choose the right number, because only the one you choose will improve

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
The difference between a great company and a lousy company | A Founder’s Notebook

In good organizations, people can focus on their work and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen for both the company and them personally. In a poor organization, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries, infighting, and broken processes. They are not even clear on what their jobs are, so there is no way to know if they are getting the job done or not.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
The difference between a great company and a lousy company | A Founder’s Notebook

How do you ensure that if people get their work done, good things will happen for both the company and them personally? Define clear goals; identify levers to achieve those goals; appoint owners; measure results

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Limiting decision fatigue | A Founder’s Notebook

Limit decision fatigue. In decision making and psychology, decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions made by an individual, after a long session of decision making. It is now understood as one of the causes of irrational trade-offs in decision making. For instance, judges in court have been shown to make less favorable decisions later in the day than early in the day. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to delega… (read more)

Tony Schwartz (CEO of The Energy Project)
The Power of Stepping Back

Its not possible to race between meetings and e-mail all day long, and simultaneously reflect on what all this frenzied activity is accomplishing. [I] offer all of our employees the opportunity to take time away from the office, simply for reflection. All I ask is that they come back afterward and share with their colleagues, in some form, whatever insights they’ve had.

Mark Suster (Managing Partner at Upfront Ventures)
Do Less. More. | Bothsides of the Table

Success often comes from doing a few things extraordinarily well and noticeably better than the competition and is measured in customer feedback, product engagement, growth in usage and ultimately in revenue growth. Do less. And do the things that you ARE doing better and with higher quality. Have a shorter to-do list with more things that are in the “done” category.

Lew Cirne (Founder & CEO at New Relic)
Six chairs for an ideal meeting

One of the things I do on a quarterly basis is to review the standing meetings on my calendar, and every one of them ought to be able defend itself. The point is not to keep going to that meeting just because you always have to go. I think it’s a great practice to say, “OK, we meet every Thursday on this. Does it have to be these people every Thursday? Why?”

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Avoiding mediocrity by showing “tough love” | A Founder’s Notebook

Avoid mediocrity by showing “tough love”

Matt Blumberg (Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman @ Return Path)
The Management Team – Guest Post From Matt Blumberg – AVC

We consistently work at improving our management skills. We have a strong culture of 360 feedback, development plans, coaching, and post mortems on major incidents, both as individuals and as a senior team

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Nature Of The Firm and Work Markets – AVC

In The Nature Of The Firm, Coase investigates why “individuals choose to form partnerships, companies and other business entities rather than trading bilaterally through contracts on a market.” Coase argues that transaction costs that make “trading bilaterally through contracts” expensive spur the organization of firms. And if those transaction costs could be eliminated, more individuals would choose to trade with each other rather than forming p… (read more)

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Paying the smart phone tax

Like most things that are taxed, smart phones are often worth it, creating connections and giving us information when we need it. Perhaps, though, turning our phones off for six hours a day would be a useful way to cornering us into creating work we can’t live without.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Focus – AVC

Many entrepreneurs and CEOs misjudge how many things they and their team can do well. It is always less than you think. I once was involved in a 75 employee company that was in three different businesses. It took a difficult financing to convince the CEO to exit two of those businesses, but it was the best move that company made. The next three years were a time of explosive growth for that company.

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
Startups in 13 Sentences

You make what you measure. Merely measuring something has an uncanny tendency to improve it. If you want to make your user numbers go up, put a big piece of paper on your wall and every day plot the number of users

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
Startups in 13 Sentences

Avoid distractions. Nothing kills startups like distractions. The worst type are those that pay money: day jobs, consulting, profitable side-projects. The startup may have more long-term potential, but you’ll always interrupt working on it to answer calls from people paying you now. Paradoxically, fundraising is this type of distraction, so try to minimize that too

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
The Post-YC Slump – Sam Altman

Work on real work. Stay focused on building a product your users love and hitting your growth targets. Try to have a board and peers who will make you hold yourself accountable. Make the mistake of focusing too much on what matters most, not too little, and relentlessly protect your time from everything else.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
How things get done – Sam Altman

A combination of focus and personal connections. Charlie Rose said this to Paul Graham, who told it to me. The Y Combinator version of focus is write code and talk to users. On the personal relationships part, most people eventually realize its hard to do really good things by yourself.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Playbook

A surprising amount of our advice at YC is of the form just ask them or just do it. First-time founders think there must be some secret for when you need something from someone or you want to do some new thing. Just be direct, be willing to ask for what you want, and don’t be a jerk.

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
Software Inventory – Joel on Software

In between each of these stages, inventory can pile up. For example, when a programmer finishes implementing their code (stage 3) they give it to a tester to check (stage 4). At any given time, there is a certain amount of code waiting to be tested. That code is inventory.
The “cost” of code inventory is huge.

Matt Blumberg (Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman @ Return Path)
The Management Team – Guest Post From Matt Blumberg – AVC

We learn from the successes and failures of others whenever possible. My team regularly engages as individuals in rigorous external benchmarking to understand how peers at other companies – preferably ones either like us or larger – operate. We methodically pick benchmarking candidates.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Prep, spec, fit and finish

Dinner at a fine restaurant is mostly cleaning, chopping, mise en place and service, not the part we see on the plate itself. And yet… We often get confused about which part is important, which is worth our time, which is the point of the exercise. Without a doubt, if the thing we built isn’t of high quality, don’t bother. But it turns out that all the other parts, the parts that we think might be beneath us, it’s those that matter the most. W… (read more)

Mitchell Harper (Co-Founder & Board Member @ Bigcommerce)
28 things I’d do differently next time around — Medium

Fire fast and be less forgiving of mistakes, especially in departments that are measured with raw numbers, like sales and marketing

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

In the process of building a startup, I found myself thinking sometimes about the long term vision and how what I was doing on a given day fed into the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year vision. This was an inevitable result of all the stories you hear about people spending years building something before they “make it”. The problem with that long-term thinking is that it takes you out of the present and guess what? The present is the only place where … (read more)

Sam Gerstenzang (Director of Product at Imgur)
16 product things I learned at Imgur — Medium

Find the one thing you need to get right and spend most of your time on it. You can screw up basically everything else.

Ron Friedman (Founder of ignite80, Social Psychologist)
How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day

Ask yourself this question the moment you sit at your desk: The day is over and I am leaving the office with a tremendous sense of accomplishment. What have I achieved?

Geoffrey James (a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author of the award-winning blog Sales Source)
How many hours per week should you work to maximize your impact? | A Founder’s Notebook

Conventional business wisdom is that there’s a positive correlation between long work hours and employee productivity. Instead, the opposite is true. It’s now known that long work hours reduce creativity by decreasing the amount of waking hours when the mind is at rest.

Shane Parrish (Curator of the popular Farnam Street Blog)
9 Habits You Need to Stop Now

Do not answer phone calls from people you don’t know. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Do not check email constantly. Do not work more to fix being too busy. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.

Peter Nixey (Founder at Copyin)
Peter Nixey – The most important question in a startup: Am I…

As you put jobs into your daily to-do list, ask yourself: “is this proactive or reactive”? If it’s the former and it’s “tangible, fail-able and do-able” then it’s probably an excellent task.

What’s the best way to distribute employee equity?

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Valuation and Option Pool – AVC

One of the more contentious things in the negotiation between an entrepreneur and a VC over a financing, particularly an early stage financing, is the inclusion of an option pool in the pre-money valuation. As my friend Mark Pincus likes to say, “it’s just another way to lower the price”.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Valuation and Option Pool – AVC

Let’s say that the VC’s term sheet says that a 15% “fully diluted post money” option pool needs to be in the pre-money valuation. What that means is that the investor wants 15% of the company, after the financing is closed, to be in an option pool that has not been granted to anyone. … The bottom line is the deal I described leaves the entrepreneur and his/her shareholders with 65% of the company after the financing, the VC investor will own 20… (read more)

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Employee Equity – Sam Altman

Its very difficult to put precise numbers on this because the specifics of every situation matter so much. I’ve seen some startups offer 5 or 6 year vesting schedules. To compensate for this, they offer above-market grants. Another structure I’ve seen is back-weighted vesting. For example, 10% of the grant vests after the first year, and then 20%, 30%, 40% in the following years.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
The Engineer Crunch – Sam Altman

Granting equity should be easy to do. I have never seen a startup regret being generous with equity for their early employees. I’ve noticed that mission-oriented companies have a much easier time recruiting.

Paul Graham (Co-Founder & Partner at Y Combinator)
The Equity Equation

An investor wants to give you money for a certain percentage of your startup. Should you take it? You’re about to hire your first employee. How much stock should you give him? These are some of the hardest questions founders face. And yet both have the same answer: 1/(1 – n) Whenever you’re trading stock in your company for anything, whether it’s money or an employee or a deal with another company, the test for whether to do it is the same. You … (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Employee Equity: Too Little? – AVC

Since I started in VC, the percentage of a company that non-founder employees owned was always in the 15-20% range after the team is fully built out. In recent years, I have seen that number creep up to the 20-25% range and if you extrapolate current trends out a few years, it could easily be 30%.

Babak Nivi (Co-founder of AngelList and Venture Hacks. Previously, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Bessemer Venture Partners and Atlas Venture.)
The Option Pool Shuffle – Venture Hacks

Title Range (%) [for after raising a Series A] CEO 5 – 10
COO 2 – 5
VP 1 – 2
Independent Board Member 1
Director 0.4 – 1.25
Lead Engineer 0.5 – 1
5+ years experience Engineer 0.33 – 0.66
Manager or Junior Engineer 0.2 – 0.33

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Options and Offer Letters – AVC

What I generally suggest is that management have a standard options grant. It could be as simple as “everyone gets at least 1000 shares when they join, important role players get 5000 shares, directors get 10,000 shares, software engineers get 10,000 shares, senior software engineers get 20,000 shares, VPs get 50,000 shares. C level gets 100,000 shares” I just made that up. You should make one that makes sense to you.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Options and Offer Letters – AVC

I also suggest building an options budget. To do this you take your standard grant schedule, and then map it to your hiring and retention plan (I suggest granting options to current employees every two years as part of a retention plan) and then you will have an options budget for the next few years. That is a great thing to have.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Employee Equity – AVC

Where Andy [Rachleff] and I differ a bit is how to calculate how much equity should be granted. Andy suggests using market comps. I don’t like doing that because 0.1% of one company can be worth a lot more or less than 0.1% of another company. I prefer to issue equity based on a multiple of current cash comp divided by the current valuation of the business. I lay that all out in my Skillshare class.
While I don’t call out promotion and performan… (read more)

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Employee Equity – Sam Altman

Startups should give employees more stock. Value is created over many, many years. Founders certainly deserve a huge premium for starting the earliest, but probably not 100 or 200x what employee number 5 gets. Additionally, companies can now get more done with less people.

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Employee Equity – Sam Altman

As an extremely rough stab at actual numbers, I think a company ought to be giving at least 10% in total to the first 10 employees, 5% to the next 20, and 5% to the next 50. In practice, the optimal numbers may be much higher.

Babak Nivi (Co-founder of AngelList and Venture Hacks. Previously, he was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Bessemer Venture Partners and Atlas Venture.)
Are founders really 1000x more valuable than employees? – Venture Hacks

Is it fair for founders to own about 100% of a startup while employee #1 only owns a few percent? Are founders 10-1000x more valuable than employees? The answers are: Yes, it is fair. Value doesn’t matter, timing does. When the founders start the company, it is worth approximately $0. So their equity is worth $0. Let’s say the founders work for 6 months, make progress, and then raise money at a $10M post. Then employee #1 joins and gets 1% of the… (read more)

Ben Yoskovitz (VP Product at VarageSale, VP Product at GoInstant (acquired by Salesforce), Author of Lean Analytics)
Changing Equity Structures for Early Startup Employees

0.5-1% is just not a lot. Those first few hires – done correctly – will be so insanely critical for the success of your startup; I believe they deserve more.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Sizing Option Pools In Connection With Financings – AVC

Here’s a formula I like to use. Take the cumulative salaries of all the hires you need to make betwen the current financing and the next one. Let’s say it is five employees at an average of $75,000. Then that number is $375,000. Then divide that number by the post-money valuation, in this case $5mm. That gives you 7.5%. That’s the size of the option pool you’ll need. And it is conservative because I don’t recommend giving options equal to the dol… (read more)

Leo Polovets (General Partner @ Susa Ventures)
Analyzing AngelList Job Postings, Part 2: Salary and Equity Benchmarks · Coding VC

Equity:
Hire #1: 2% – 3% of equity
Hires #2 through #5: 1% – 2%
Hires #6 and #7: 0.5% – 1%
Hires #8 through #14: 0.4% – 0.8%
Hires #15 through #19: 0.3% – 0.7%
Hires #21 through #27: 0.25% – 0.6%
Hires #28 through #34: 0.25% – 0.5%
These ranges indicate the maximum equity amounts offered by companies.

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
How much equity should a partner with a short-term commitment be entitled to? – Startups Stack Exchange

The most important principle: Fairness, and the perception of fairness, is much more valuable than owning a large stake. Almost everything that can go wrong in a startup will go wrong, and one of the biggest things that can go wrong is huge, angry, shouting matches between the founders as to who worked harder, who owns more, whose idea was it anyway, etc.

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
How much equity should a partner with a short-term commitment be entitled to? – Startups Stack Exchange

Here’s the principle. As your company grows, you tend to add people in “layers”. The top layer is the first founder or founders. The second layer is the first real employees. For many companies, each “layer” will be approximately one year long. By the time your company is big enough to sell to Google or go public or whatever, you probably have about 6 layers: the founders and roughly five layers of employees. Each successive layer is larger. Ther… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Employee Equity: How Much? – AVC

For your first key hires, three, five, maybe as much as ten, you will probably not be able to use any kind of formula. Getting someone to join your dream before it is much of anything is an art not a science. And the amount of equity you need to grant to accomplish these hires is also an art and most certainly not a science.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Employee Equity: How Much? – AVC

Here are our default brackets:
Senior Team: 0.5x
Director Level: 0.25x
Key Functions: 0.1x
All Others: 0.05x

Then you multiply the employee’s base salary by the multiplier to get to a dollar value of equity. Let’s say your VP Product is making $175k per year. Then the dollar value of equity you offer them is 0.5 x $175k, which is equal to $87.5k. Let’s say a director level product person is making $125k. Then the dollar value of equity y… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures; Investor in Twitter, Kickstarter, Etsy…)
Employee Equity: Dilution – AVC

The typical dilution path for founders and other holders of employee equity goes like this:
1) Founders start company and own 100% of the business in founders stock
2) Founders issue 5-10% of the company to the early employees they hire. This can be done in options but is often done in the form of restricted stock. Sometimes they even use “”founders stock”” for these hires. Let’s use 7.5% for our rolling dilution calculation. At this point the f… (read more)

Ryan Allis (Chairman & Co-Founder @ Connect, Former CEO of iContact (sold $170M))
Ryan Allis’s 1,284 slides on how to win life, Part 2 – Business Insider

What’s the best way to be a good manager?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Minimize internal co-ordination costs | A Founder’s Notebook

Minimize internal co-ordination costs

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
What makes a great employee — Cameron Purdy | A Founder’s Notebook

There are three areas where VPs should ask their CEO questions: (i) Have I understood my goals correctly? (ii) Have I understood your input correctly? (iii) Can you help me solve my problems and achieve my goals?

Jeffrey Pfeffer (Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business)
Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense: Profiting from Evidence-based Management

When a group does creative work, a large body of research shows that the more that authority figures hang around, the more questions they ask, and especially the more feedback they give their people, the less creative the work will be. Why? Because doing creative work entails constant setbacks and failure, and people want to succeed when the boss is watching.

Peter Fenton (General Partner at Benchmark)
Sunday Conversation #1: Peter Fenton, Benchmark Capital – Haywire

My partner, Bob, likes to say, “Be a learn-it-all, not a know-it-all. ” Being a learn-it-all means you have to be very self-effacing around what you do and don’t know, apply critical thinking, and don’t assume that what you’ve been told is right. That trait is a muscle, I think, that you have to continually work on

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Practical advice on how to train your managers | A Founder’s Notebook

Management training is the best place to start setting expectations for your management team. Do you expect them to hold regular one-on-one meetings with their employees? Do you expect them to give performance feedback? Do you expect them to train their people? Do you expect them to agree on objectives with their team? If you do, then you’d better tell them

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Being metrics-driven leads to brutal intellectual honesty | A Founder’s Notebook

Being metrics-driven leads to brutal intellectual honesty. If your success is defined entirely by how well you achieve your goals and metrics, you’ll care only about which arguments are correct and which ideas are the best, irrespective of who they come from. Getting managers to be truly metrics-driven is far harder than it seems. In my experience, it also requires significant coaching.

John Beeson (Principal of Beeson Consulting)
Let Your Team Help You Manage Your Time

A few years ago I was asked to coach an executive I’ll call Tom. I suggested that Tom give thought to four questions: 1. Where could he add the greatest value to the company in his new role? 2. What were the topics and issues he should be intimately involved in — and which could he off-load to staff? 3. How was he spending his time today — and how would he like to be spending his time six months from now in order to devote adequate time to his v… (read more)

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Playbook

Extreme internal transparency around metrics (and financials) is a good thing to do. For some reason, founders are always really scared of this. But it’s great for keeping the whole company focused on growth.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
The best career advice you can give in two minutes | A Founder’s Notebook

People are most successful at what they most enjoy. “What you most enjoy” is determined by types of activities, not domain subject matter. The types of activities you enjoy are deeply related to your personality type. So find what you love doing (by thinking about which types of activities best fit your personality type), and go work for a fast-growing company doing those activities

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Can you reduce the startup CEO role to a single key talent? | A Founder’s Notebook

You can’t do everything well at once, you have to rotate your focus to whichever aspect of your business needs the most attention.

Laszlo Bock (SVP of People Operations for Google)
Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

1. Be a good coach. 2. Empower the team and do not micromanage. 3. Express interest / concern for team members’ success and personal well-being. 4. Be very productive / results oriented. 5. Be a good communicator — listen and share information. 6. Help the team with career development. 7. Have a clear vision / strategy for the team. 8. Have important technical skills that help advise the team.

Nick Mehta (CEO at Gainsight)
The Second-Timers: Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight – “Never Stop Hiring Reps” | SaaStr

You need to focus on product. You need to be sales-oriented. You need to be customer-centric. You need to be all about culture. The business model depends on all functions working in harmony.

Tony Simons (Associate Professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration)
The Integrity Dividend: Leading by the Power of Your Word

Where employees strongly believed their managers followed through on promises and demonstrated the values they preached were substantially more profitable than those whose managers scored average or lower. No other single aspect of manager behavior that we measured had as large an impact on profits

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
How Well Do You Take A Punch? – AVC

The best entrepreneurs do this well. They can take a hit and keep moving forward. And they can rally their teams to do the same thing. That latter point is so important. If the leader is down for the count, the team doesn’t have a chance. But if the leader is up and moving forward, with passion and committment to the goal, then the team will follow.

Jack Welch (former CEO of General Electric)
Jack Welch’s Legacy – The Globalist

Giving people self-confidence is by far the most important thing that I can do. Because then they will act.

Geoffrey James (a contributing editor for Inc.com, is an author of the award-winning blog Sales Source)
The No-Nonsense Business Advice You Need to Hear | Inc.com

For bosses, I think the hardest thing is letting people make their own mistakes. Resisting the desire to intervene. It’s the whole question of whether you are controlling people or coaching people. You can’t do both.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Don’t Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste – AVC

When something goes badly in your company, for many the initial instinct is to keep things under wraps as much as possible to avoid freaking everyone out. I would argue that it is better to acknowledge the crisis and use it to your advantage.
Change is hard to bring to an organization and a time of crisis is often a perfect time to make some changes that you have wanted to make for a while. It creates a perfect backdrop and context for doing tha… (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to get stuff done | A Founder’s Notebook

Be clear about what you need to get done. Go for quick wins. A “Quick Win” is a small project you can get done fast which leads to tangible results. Quick wins are crucial because you learn from successes, not from failures. Don’t let small projects become large projects before they launch. Maximize what you can get done on your own. Identify the key person you need to collaborate with, and don’t involve anyone else.

Henry Ward (Founder & CEO at eShares)
eShares 101 — Medium

[at eShares we say… ] You will do a 1-on-1 walk with your manager every 2–3 weeks, with your manager’s manager every 4–6 weeks, and with me every 4–6 months. Go for a walk for 30-40 minutes. Have fun — this is your time. Talk about what’s on your mind. It doesn’t need to be work related.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Managers and metrics | A Founder’s Notebook

Owning a metric means taking complete responsibility for success in that metric. In Seeking Alpha, “owning a metric” means taking responsibility for the success of that metric in the medium term. Every manager reports metrics monthly, but we care about medium term success. If you miss a monthly target, the key to medium term success is to take the short term miss seriously. If you explain away your monthly metrics, you’ve thrown away their value … (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Managers and metrics | A Founder’s Notebook

It’s the CEO’s responsibility to make sure that every manager personally owns a meaningful metric. Owning a metric means taking complete responsibility for success in that metric. If you justify misses in your metric after the fact, you don’t own the metric — you’re “a best efforts guy”.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
The Scale Anticipation Fallacy – Ben’s Blog

Managing at scale is a learned skill rather than a natural ability. Nobody comes out of the womb knowing how to manage a thousand people. Everybody learns at some point

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Setting clear goals = empowerment | A Founder’s Notebook

When you give people clear goals and metrics, it releases them from being micro-managed at the task level.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Setting clear goals = empowerment | A Founder’s Notebook

In many roles, being given responsibility for a measurable goal also allows employees to manage their time as they want to. That can be particularly important for companies that want to create a culture which is attractive to people who care about family time

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Saying “no” to good ideas | A Founder’s Notebook

The job of a great manager is to focus the company’s limited resources on what’s most impactful. That means saying “no” to good ideas. Saying “no” to bad ideas is easy. It’s the good ideas that can distract and de-focus you

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
A better way to view people | A Founder’s Notebook

Try to place each person in a role where their strengths have the biggest impact and their weaknesses and flaws don’t matter.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Ones and Twos – Ben’s Blog

CEOs that [insist upon super clear goals and strongly prefer not to change goals or direction unless absolutely necessary], despite their love of action, can sometimes slow decision making in a company to a halt.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Becoming A Boss – AVC

Many artists stick to making and hire a manager to focus on their business. You can devote yourself totally and completely to the manager role and hire people to lead the making effort. The third way is to keep your hands in both efforts. To be both the maker and the manager. The challenge with that approach is you have two full time jobs and I have not seen many who can do both as well as they need to be done. I cannot and will not recommend one… (read more)

Dr. Dana Ardi (Corporate Anthropology Advisors)
MBA Mondays: Guest Post From Dr. Dana Ardi – AVC

Do away with archaic command-and-control models. Winning workplaces are horizontal, not hierarchical.Everyone who works there feels they’re part of something, and moreover, that it’s the next big thing. They want to be on the cutting-edge of all the people, places and things that technology is going to propel next.

Angela Baldonero (Senior Vice President of People and Client Success @ Return Path)
MBA Mondays: Guest Post From Angela Baldonero – AVC

My advice to you is to set your people free to focus on important, high impact work and solve challenging business problems. That’s how companies will win now.

Joel Spolsky (CEO @ Stack Exchange)
The Management Team – Guest Post From Joel Spolsky – AVC

The “management team” isn’t the “decision making” team. It’s a support function. You may want to call them administration instead of management, which will keep them from getting too big for their britches. Administrators aren’t supposed to make the hard decisions. They don’t know enough. All those super genius computer scientists that you had to recruit from MIT at great expense are supposed to make the hard decisions. That’s why you’re paying t… (read more)

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Loose/tight, thoughts on management

But mostly, we need the insight and judgment and leverage that employees bring us. All of us are smarter than any of us, and adding people can, if we do it right, make us smarter and faster and better at serving our customers. It can’t work, though, if you insist that the employees read your mind. If you have to spend as much time watching and measuring your team as the team spends working, then you might as well just do the work yourself. We fai… (read more)

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: Volunteer engagement

The key elements are: An agenda, Peer support, A hierarchy of achievement, Better structures lead to better work. People who care can magnify their impact by building structures that bring in more people who care.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
Tech Ops As A Metaphor For Building, Running, & Leading A Company – AVC

Blameless post-mortems are the key to learning from a tech ops crisis – fear driven organizations do not scale. Over-reacting to a crisis is likely to make it worse.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Two key questions for every manager | A Founder’s Notebook

Managers should ask themselves two simple questions: How many experiments are my team running at any moment? And How rapid is our pace of experimenting?

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to ensure that things get done using 3 W’s | A Founder’s Notebook

How to ensure that things get done using 3 W’s. 1. Who (is responsible) 2. What (needs to be done) 3. When (is it due)

Jack Dorsey (Co-Founder, CEO at Twitter and Square)
Jack Dorsey: The CEO as Chief Editor – YouTube

This happens in three ways: tending the team dynamic (adding/removing people), internal and external communications, and minding the money situation (getting money in the bank). That’s it.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
Mark Pincus’ management advice – make everyone the CEO of something | A Founder’s Notebook

Mark Pincus’ management advice – make everyone the CEO of something. I met Mark for the first time this week. He said he still believes in the principle of “everyone’s a CEO of something”, but only when your company has fewer than 1,000 people.

Tomasz Tunguz (Partner at Redpoint Ventures)
Startup Best Practices 1 – Situational Management

High motivation, low skill: the most typical state for an employee to be in after he has been hired or promoted. He is excited and energetic but unfamiliar with the particulars of the job, or the company, or the culture. Somewhat counterintuitively, the best management technique in this situation is micromanagement… The best way to do this is by frequent check-ins, updates, and feedback. Applied this way, micromanagement provides the employee ver… (read more)

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
How to write a monthly report for your investors or manager | A Founder’s Notebook

In Seeking Alpha, every team leader and “metric owner” writes a monthly report. The Seeking Alpha manager’s monthly report is a Google doc shared with the whole company. It must not exceed one page. It contains four sections: (i) Key Metrics (ii) Candidly, How Successful Was I This Month? (iii) Top Things To Figure Out (iv) Goals For Next Month.

Seth Godin (Founder at Yoyodyne Entertainment)
Seth’s Blog: How to deal with seams

How to deal with seams. a. There is no seam. We’ve finessed the seam so thoroughly, you can’t even tell. This doctor knows everything about the situation as seen by the last doctor, no need to worry about the handoff. You can’t tell where one part of the railing ends and the other begins. Your place in the queue and your records and your status are so clear to the next agent that it won’t matter a bit to you that there was a switch. b. There is a… (read more)

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
How Andreessen Horowitz Evaluates CEOs – Ben’s Blog

[Determine] whether or not the CEO can effectively run the company. To test this, I like to ask this question: “how easy is it for any given individual contributor to get their job done?”

Jeffrey Minch (Entrepreneur – ‎Littlefield Advisors)
The Management Team – Guest Post From JLM – AVC

Do not make changes, conduct experiments. Nobody can resist an experiment. Experiments that work well have a thousand fathers and mothers. It becomes their idea.