What’s the best way to scale your organization?

Sam Altman (President at Y Combinator)
Startup Advice – Sam Altman

Here is some of the best startup advice I’ve heard or given (mostly heard): (a) Make something people want and (b) A great team and a great market are both critically important—you have to have both. The debate about which is more important is silly.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
When your product should no longer be your top priority | A Founder’s Notebook

Once you have basic product-market fit, you need to shift your attention to the other elements which will lead to profitable growth.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
MBA Mondays: When Its Not Your Team – AVC

Company building is not this simple, but I do like to think about it terms of two stages. Getting the product right and customers/users scaling. Then scaling the company and the team. If you aren’t doing the first, you mostly don’t need to worry about the second. There are occasional team issues in the first stage you need to deal with but they aren’t the big thing you need to focus on. The big thing you need ot to focus on is the product and its… (read more)

Aaron Patzer (Founder & CEO of Fountain, Mint)
Aaron Patzer lays bare Mint’s numbers – YouTube

The first phase is the garage phase. This is <100k of funding.

David Jackson (Founder, Seeking Alpha)
The most important factor in startup success | A Founder’s Notebook

The most important factor in startup success [is product market fit]

Amir Elaguizy (CEO Cratejoy, YC Alumni)
58 things I learned at YC – Giftshop Scientist

Everyone’s problem is money until it’s hiring

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.

Jerry Colona (Founder @ Reboot.io)
The Management Team – Guest Post By Jerry Colonna – AVC

To me, the hardest part of scaling people is learning to lead your self. We forge our truest identity by facing our fears, our prejudices, our passions, and the source of our aggression.

Drew Houston (Co-Founder & CEO at Dropbox)
Slides: Lean startup lessons that helped Dropbox become a $10B company by Drew Houston – GrowthHackers

Product-market fit cures many sins of management. Mostly ignored: Hiring non-engineers; mainstream PR; traditional messaging / positioning; deadlines, process, “best practices”; having a “real” website; partnerships / bizdev; having lots of features.

David Sacks (CEO at Zenefits)
New Sales Models – David Sacks, Founder and CEO of Yammer – YouTube

Breakout startups must typically innovate on distribution not just product.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company – Ben’s Blog

When an organization grows in size, things that were previously easy become difficult. Still, if the company doesn’t expand, then it will never be much of a company, so the challenge is to grow and degrade as slowly as possible.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company – Ben’s Blog

Figure out what needs to be communicated. Figure out what needs to be decided. Prioritize the most important communication and decision paths

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company – Ben’s Blog

Focus on the output first. Figure out how you’ll know if you are getting what you want at each step. Engineer accountability into the system.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
No Credit for Predicting Rain – Ben’s Blog

At a certain point in the process, no credit will be given for predicting rain. The only credit will be for helping to build an ark.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
CEOs Should Tell It Like It Is – Ben’s Blog

There are three key reasons why being transparent about your company’s problems makes sense: 1. Trust – Without trust, communication breaks. 2. The more brains working on the hard problems, the better. 3. A healthy company culture encourages people to share bad news. A company that discusses its problems freely and openly can quickly solve them. A company that covers up its problems frustrates everyone involved.

Ben Horowitz (Co-Founder & Partner @ Andreessen Horowitz)
Taking the Mystery out of Scaling a Company – Ben’s Blog

The first rule of organizational design is that all organizational designs are bad. Your goal is to choose the least of all evils.

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

Things that work well at small scale break at large scale – you need different people, processes, and systems as a company grows. You need to instrument your system so you can see when things are reaching the breaking point, well before they break. Overbuilt systems are hard to implement, manage, and scale

Mariya Yao (Founder at Xanadu)
Lessons Learned: Rapid Iteration for Mobile App Design

What often happens is a startup builds a product people like but don’t love. They’ll typically appear to do well early on, but won’t have enough of a passionate following to achieve meaningful growth or revenues.

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
The Management Team – While Building Usage – AVC

Many of the hires that are made in the “building usage” stage are going to report directly to the founder/CEO. The additional product hires may report to you because it is likely that you are running product as well. The community team may report to you. And who is leading that team? The business development person, the marketing person, the admin/finance/HR/legal person, and probably all the sales people are likely reporting to you. Have you eve… (read more)

Fred Wilson (Co-Founder and Partner at Union Square Ventures)
MBA Mondays: When Its Not Your Team – AVC

These issues can play themselves out again when the company is larger. Companies can lose their way. Or their product lineup can get stale. Or competition can enter the market and change the dynamics for users or buyers. Once again, you need to focus in on getting the product right and making sure that it is providing value to customers/users.

Ho Nam (Managing Director at Altos Ventures)
The First Breaking Point – Altos Ventures

Initial – the process is new, ad hoc, chaotic and undocumented. Individual heroics are relied upon to get the job done. Repeatable – the process is somewhat documented. Repeating the same steps may be attempted. It’s not clear if the process will yield desired outputs. Defined – the process is well defined, documented and confirmed as a standard process that can produce results. Managed – the process is quantitatively managed in accordance with a… (read more)