BookLog: Managing Startups

I love the way the book opens. Here are two snippets that will give you an idea.

1. A snippet from the  Foreword of the book Managing Startups

my focus has been on the management tasks that entrepreneurs must undertake when they search for a viable business model and then scale a startup. These tasks include the work done in the engineering, product management, marketing, sales, and business development functions. I pay special attention to ways in which functional managers leverage lean startup management practices. My compilations also cover a range of organizational issues; for example, dealing with cofounder tensions, recruiting and career planning, managing company culture, structuring the startup team, pacing the introduction of formal management systems and processes, working with the board of directors, and coping with the psychological pressures that inevitably confront entrepreneurs. Finally, I track developments in capital markets that are relevant to the management of tech startups; for example, the ebbs and flows of valuation bubbles and the proliferation of incubators and seed-stage funds.

2. From Chapter-1 How We Fooled Ourselves into Delaying Our Startup Launch

Here are the excuses we made, and how we realized they didn’t matter:

  • It wasn’t good enough yet. We thought manually sending deals wasn’t good enough. We were guessing and didn’t really know. It turned out that six months later, the automated version full of features wasn’t good enough either. We could have learned why it wasn’t good enough six months earlier and spent that time actually trying to fix it. Instead, we just guessed why it wasn’t going to work, and guessed wrong.
  • We didn’t want to give a bad impression to those early test users. I can safely say that this doesn’t matter. Those early test users just don’t care. After we relaunched as a daily deal aggregator, we got exactly one email from a user saying they’d missed the sample sales. That’s it. In fact, many of those early users enjoyed seeing our product develop.
  • It needed extra features. We thought we had to have a web view, people had to specify where in the city they lived, it needed to have links to the source of where we found the deal…. None of these were right. We were guessing. Had we launched in a week, we would have quickly realized these features weren’t going to make a difference.
  • It was going to take us a few months to build the tech backend. We shouldn’t have built it. We should have just used MailChimp to send the emails. For the next iteration of Yipit, we didn’t build the backend. Users don’t know what your tech backend looks like. Focus instead on getting the user experience right.
  • It needed to scale to accommodate hundreds of thousands of users. No, it didn’t. We weren’t going to get hundreds of thousands of users. Not anytime soon. We should have just been worrying about getting our first 1,000 users.
  • Someone will see what we’re doing and copy it. If our idea had any merit, then there would have been at least 10 other groups of people out there also actively working on it. In fact, there were many groups of people working on a daily deal aggregator. But, because we launched in just three days, we were the first ones and got most of the press attention.
  • A potential investor will see it. I’m not sure if any investors actually did see it. But even if they had, it’s not a bad thing. Investors like to see the progress you make as a product and as a team.
  • TechCrunch will write about us when we’re not ready. They won’t. We spent a bunch of time trying to get people to write about us, and they didn’t. Also, in some crazy scenario where someone writes about our terrible prototype, I can safely say it won’t matter in the long run. Startups succeed because they have a good product, not because they got good launch PR.

I already love the book.  There is so much I can resonate with and relate too. I am sure you will too.

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