Todd Stone, Author at General Assembly Blog

About Todd Stone

Todd Stone is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and has written for Inc. Magazine, Business Insider and Ad Age. He is a former startup founder and he and his twin brother form the comedy team, Stone and Stone. Together, they have appeared on truTV, CNN, on Friars Club roasts and as semi-finalists on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing.” You can follow Todd and his brother @stoneandstone.

Does Salary Transparency Make Employees Feel Empowered or Disgruntled?


two employees working together

The modern office layout is open. The walls have come down, and even those that remain are usually made of glass. We continue to move in the direction of transparency, yet there is one thing at work that most people still keep to themselves: their salary.

But the movement towards full transparency has few boundaries, which is why at SumAll, a social media analytics company, CEO Dane Atkinson lists everyone’s exact salary on an internal document accessible to all company employees.

If this sounds a little extreme to you, you’re not alone. British TV producers found the concept so dramatic that they made it the basis of a 2012 reality TV show, where, after all employee salaries were disclosed at a British plumbing company, bitter arguments broke out among workers who felt they weren’t being paid fairly.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, Atkinson says. In fact, he believes that this kind of transparency, called “full-salary transparency,” is beneficial for the employees of his New York-based company, which employs more than 40 people. Continue reading

Why Are Startups Starting in Denver?


Mount Evans and Denver Skyline courtesy of Herrera on Flickr.

Mount Evans and Denver Skyline courtesy of Herrera on Flickr.

Denver’s startup community has experienced a rapid increase in size and activity over the last several years. In 2015, it was rated as one of the best cities to create a startup. According to the Ewing Marion Kauffman report on entrepreneurship, it came in number five as the U.S. city with the greatest startup activity, surpassing San Francisco and New York. (Startup activity is based on the number of new startups that are a year or less old.)

Last year, 95 Denver tech startups were funded, raising a total of $683 million. There were also 59 exits, which earned Denver tech companies a total of $2.7 billion. This was even a decrease to a record-setting 2014 in which 140 Denver startups were funded bringing in a composite investment of $758 million. Continue reading

Why Millennials Job Hop More Than Any Other Generation



Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter

There was a time – 15 to 20 to 40 years ago – when it was common for an average American worker to be employed by the same company for 30 years or more. Essentially, one’s entire career was often spent contributing to one firm.

Now, if an employee stays with a company for more than five years, they might be considered a veteran. Sometimes, after five years, even the company’s own founder is ready to move on. Why is this? As an institution that enables people not only to switch jobs but to switch entire careers, we’re curious about the factors and attitudes that have led to this change.

Continue reading

Father of “The Lean Startup” Movement Clarifies His Message: Don’t Bulls— Yourself



Eric Ries discusses his lean startup methodology at General Assembly in New York City.

“Lean Startup is not a religion,” said Eric Ries, the 37 year-old author of The Lean Startup (2011), which is the handbook for what has become a cult-like movement embraced by entrepreneurs and innovators worldwide.

The core philosophy of the book – and of its practitioners – is to test ideas early and often by getting feedback from potential customers. Before investing very much time and money into a product, the idea is to quickly create an MVP (minimal viable product) and put it in front of potential consumers. This avoids wasting time and money developing products that people may not want.

Continue reading

Former Astronaut Scott Parazynski Discusses Leadership Under Pressure at General Assembly



Former Astronaut Dr. Scott Parazynski addresses the crowd at General Assembly.

We recently hosted former astronaut, Mt. Everest climber, Emergency Medicine doctor, and entrepreneur, Scott Parazynski, at our NYC headquarters for a talk about leadership under pressure. The discussion was moderated by Jillian Bellovary, who studies black holes as a postdoctoral fellow at the American Museum of Natural History.

Parazynski captivated the crowd with his daring tales of  space missions, mountaineering adventures, and even how he met his wife. At the crux of these stories were battle-tested tips for managing risk, assembling an excellent team, and learning from failure.

Continue reading

The Simulated Startup: Meet the Innovative Startups Inside Mammoth Companies


MasterCard Employee

MasterCard employee demonstrates ShopThis! with MasterPass which will allow consumers to buy products directly from Intel’s Virtual Shopping Experience – a fully interactive 3-D virtual fitting room app at MasterCard’s Innovation Showcase event.

“Agile methodology,” “failing fast,” “pivoting”—all concepts commonly used in startups—are increasingly being put to work inside the walls of large, well-established companies. This is because executives at Fortune 500 companies have realized that the natural limitations that face startups—limitations on time and financial resources—can actually be boons, resulting in fresh ideas and fast execution.

So a handful of large public companies, including General Electric (GE) and MasterCard, have created startups within their own mammoth companies. In 2013, GE created FastWorks, an internal startup entity. Its mission was to develop products using the “lean startup” approach, codified by Eric Ries in his book, The Lean Startup. (This means constantly experimenting and regularly getting feedback from customers to avoid building products that customers don’t want.)

Continue reading

GA + 500 Startups Accelerator Program: The Winners Talk About Their Startups


Founders from 11 startups that participated in the GA/500 Startups accelerator program in June in San Francisco.

Founders from 11 startups that participated in the GA/500 Startups accelerator program in June in San Francisco.

Back in January, we announced our landmark partnership with 500 Startups to develop an accelerator prep program designed exclusively for GA alumni. The month-long training program accepted 11 startups, which each received $8,000 in seed money as well as a $2,000 tuition credit from 500 startups to get them on the fast track to triumph.

The partnership is a natural extension of our entrepreneurial roots and aligns with our mission to empower individuals to pursue work they love.

Since the program ended in June, we caught up with the founders, who represent a range of GA courses and campuses around the world. Read on to see what they learned from the experience, and what comes next.  Continue reading