One of the sayings I hear from talented managers in product development is, “good enough never is.” It’s inspirational, always calling the team to try harder and do better. It works to undermine excuses for poor or shoddy work. And, most importantly, it helps team members develop the courage to stand up for these values in stressful situations. Especially in teams that are managing by objectives (or OKRs), the pressure to deliver is intense. Under such pressure, the temptation to cut corners, to quit prematurely, or to hand off shoddy work to another department is overwhelming. It requires courage to stand up and say: “this work is simply not good enough. Sure, we could get away with it, but that’s not how we work.” Good m...
At one time, only the corporate elite could afford to collect and crunch millions of data points to optimize their businesses. But with the advent of big data as a service, companies of all sizes now have the chance to take part in the big data revolution.
Although the need for data isn’t new, the amount of information and the type of intelligence it can provide looks starkly different than it did even a few years ago. In fact, the same amount of data influx that was achieved over the past 50 years is now achieved every two days.
If you’re serious about data, you need a way to store, manage, and analyze millions of numbers that will point your business in the right direction. As your company expands, your data stockpile will also grow expon...
Last week I got a call from Patrick an ex-student I hadn’t heard from for 8 years. He was now the CEO of a company and wanted to talk about what he admitted was a “first world” problem. Over breakfast he got me up to date on his life since school (two non-CEO roles in startups), but he wanted to talk about his third startup – the one he and two co-founders had started.
“We’re at 70 people, and we’ll do $40 million in revenue this year and should get to cash flow breakeven this quarter.” It sounded like he was living the dream. I was trying to figure out why we were meeting. But then he told me all about the tough decisions, pivots and firing his best friend he had to do to get to where he was. He had been through heck and back.
“I made it t...
The cap table is a ledger of who owns stock in our company. If you and I are the only owners of the company, there are exactly two entries in the cap table.
But as the company grows, and we start handing stock out to more people, the accuracy of the cap table starts to become really important
The moment we start handing stock out to more people than ourselves.
At that point, we start to run into keeping records of not only who we've allocated stock to, but who we may be taking it back from (former employees who may not have exercised their stock options for example).
The constant changes within the cap table start to become a bit more complex, and having an accurate ledger become...
Product strategy is the combination of a high-level vision of what your company is going to accomplish and the steps you’re going to take to get there. Basically, you’re turning your product vision into your product roadmap. It’s something of a transitional step in the top-down process of transforming your grand vision for your startup into an actual, profitable product.
Most companies have more than one product strategy. In addition to an overarching product strategy that applies to the direction the whole company is headed, if your company has more than more product, then each one is going to need its own product strategy.
For many startups, the overarching product strategy and the specific product strategy over...
With today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving and competitive market, a lot of companies decide to create a board of advisers that can give them fresh ideas and recommendations to keep up with today’s world.
For small companies, creating a well-run advisory board can give them an edge over their rivals. An advisory board that is composed of experienced people can help a company increase sales and flourish in their chosen industry. Seems pretty straightforward, right? But not a lot of companies do this or, if they do, do it right.
The Basics: What is an Advisory Board?
An advisory board is a group of consultants who provide advice and give support to the management of a company. They have no authority or power to arbitrate in corporate matters. The...
It’s hard to decide who has changed the most in the last 12 years: Thrillist or its co-founder and CEO Ben Lerer.
Back in 2004, Thrillist was frequently described as the male equivalent of DailyCandy, a female oriented email newsletter that sold for $125 million only to be killed by Comcast. To be clear, that is still one of the largest content exits in the Web era, and it inspired plenty of envy at the time. Many expected Thrillist to be flip-bait as well.
Fast forward to today and Thrillist has raised more venture capital than that DailyCandy acquisition– much of it during a $100 million mega round announced last year. That deal rolled up Thrillist and three other media platforms into one company called Group Nine, and Discovery inv...
The biggest brands in the world become what they are with the help of one elusive ingredient: customer loyalty. In a world over-saturated with scattershot marketing messages, successful companies take the time to truly get to know their customers — their motivations, fears, ideas, and priorities — and tackle customer service with relentless dedication.
If you’re an entrepreneur, this is good news and bad news.
The bad news? You’re likely competing against established brands that have worked for years — or even decades — to build loyalty among customers.
The good news? You can make customer-service commitment part of your company’s mission early on and be hyper-focused on giving a smaller number of customers the best experiences possible.
A product roadmap is an illustration of how you get from your company’s big-picture, high-level goals to the actual actions you need to take to achieve those goals. It not only shows what you’re building, but why you’re building it.
A project roadmap has two main audiences: External and internal stakeholders. (Like investors and employees, respectively.) You might even want to create two different roadmaps — or, at least, two different versions of your roadmap — for each audience.
For external stakeholders, the goal is to make sure everyone is informed about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. It may also be useful when you’re trying to procure more investment.
For internal stakeholders, a pro...
If you’ve decided to contract out to build a new website for your company, it may be a good idea to look at some of the most commonly made mistakes before you get started.
In the 15 years my web-design firm Intechnic has been in business, we’ve experienced every possible crazy, stressful situation, and have worked hard to find the best solution or compromise in each case. In the spirit of problem solving—and helping others avoid similar issues—I’ve provided a look at some common obstacles we’ve faced, along with suggestions on how to avoid them.
Setting objectives is not enough. Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely) objectives is a great place to start, but you must also have a sol...