Category Archives: Business

Managing Excellence at Your Startup

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Basic management techniques don’t sound fun, but can exponentially increase employee efficiency and satisfaction at your startup. To make your product or service world class, a culture of excellence must be ingrained at every level. Check out our upcoming class on Managing Excellence at Your Startup.

A lifetime ago in a galaxy far, far away my cofounder Michael came to me and gave me an intervention. We had a problem, he said, employees were unhappy. People were getting burned out and there was an increasing rate of attrition. “What do you want from me?” I replied exasperated, as our conversation became heated. But he didn’t have any answer, outside of seeing the symptoms of something deeply wrong.

As our most important conversations typically go, I eventually got over my wounded ego and realized that he had a key insight here. The things he mentioned were serious and indicative of a lack of leadership that was caused as much by the things we weren’t doing as were doing. We had created the startup equivalent of Lord of the Flies, complete with new employees getting thrown into a foreign environment they are completely unequipped to survive in and then getting bashed in the head with a rock. We the founders had operated the company with little direct management for years, under the pretense that we were empowering employees by letting them work on things they wanted to do. In reality, we were often stepping back just enough to been seen out of the eye’s periphery, often to jump in without warning when things weren’t following unsaid directions. Anyone who has experienced this before knows that it is liable to make you a bit twitchy.

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Business Development for Consumer Web Startups: Growth Strategies from About.me

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As part of a series on business development for startups, I sat down last Wednesday with Ryan Fujiu, who leads business development and marketing for About.me. About.me allows users to create a simple splash page that links together their profiles across all the major social networks. The service was launched in 2010, and acquired by AOL shortly thereafter.

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