Not all useful advice for entrepreneurs can be contained in a single tweet though that doesn’t stop people relentlessly tweeting contextless ‘wisdom’ at conferences. Here are some of the things we read this week that we found interesting even if they were more than 140 characters long. Grab a cup of tea and have a quick browse.
Some of the best writing and thoughts about entrepreneurship we have seen recently – Tim O’Reilly’s view on his personal business failures; the world of Jeff Bezos; Paul Graham on fund raising; why one-size fits all interfaces suck; Ryan Carson on taking the managers out of his company; Michael Skok on hiring.
How I failed. Tim O’Reilly on culture, cash, people and mediocracy.
20 of the smartest things Jeff Bezos has said. Good thought provoking stuff, not the usual entrepreneurial ‘inspirational’ BS.
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”
How to raise money. Useful insights into the process of raising cash from investors from Paul Graham. While we still think Paul’s definition of a startup as a company with ‘rapid growth’ is wrong, there is solid, savvy advice here for those considering raising funds.
“To founders, the behavior of investors is often opaque—partly because their motivations are obscure, but partly because they deliberately mislead you. And the misleading ways of investors combine horribly with the wishful thinking of inexperienced founders.
“One of the things that surprises founders most about fundraising is how distracting it is. When you start fundraising, everything else grinds to a halt. The problem is not the time fundraising consumes but that it becomes the top idea in your mind. A startup can’t endure that level of distraction for long. An early stage startup grows mostly because the founders make it grow, and if the founders look away, growth usually drops sharply.”
Tricycles vs Training Wheels – the tragedy of the one size-fits-all user interface and the difference between ‘learning curves’ and ‘learning walls’
Why we removed bosses at Treehouse. Ryan Carson, outlines the thinking behind abolishing managers at Treehouse. This is the first in a series of posts and it will be interesting to see what transpires.
“By 2013 we had grown to 60 people with seven managers and four executives. As we added more people to the team, we noticed something disconcerting: rumors, politics and complaints started appearing.
“What if we removed all management and simply empowered everyone to choose what they do every day? We laughed at first and then the conversation turned serious. We had hired talented and motivated people. Did they need managers?”
How I hire. Good slide deck overview of the process of hiring employees from Michael Skok. Sits very nicely with Mikey Trafton’s brilliant talk at Business of Software Conference last year about hiring for culture fit.
Drop us a line if you find anything that makes you think that deserves wider appreciation.