For 10 of the last 12 years, I served on the executive teams at TaskRabbit, Say Media and Dogster, Inc. While these teams have been extremely different, in some interesting ways they are very similar.
You’ve just been promoted to the Executive Team at your startup. Congratulations! I’m certain you deserved it. But hang on, there’s something you should know.
You Are Entering the Sausage-Making Factory
Being promoted to the Executive Team is an exciting milestone in anyone’s career, however it can also be somewhat shocking if you haven’t been in that position before. Here is how it usually plays out. After plenty of the congratulatory slaps on the back, you find yourself sitting in a room with a handful of other execs, the Executive Meeting. Pastries and coffee appear. Small talk and chit chat fades and the meeting starts. For the first 60 seconds of reviewing the agenda all seems good. However, as the meeting continues an ominous shadow of doubt darkens your psyche as you begin to think, these people have no idea what they are doing.
Detroit carries two conflicting stories: one of hopeful optimism, the other present-day realism. Both of them are true, but at NewCo Detroit last week we saw optimism win.
During NewCo’s kickoff last week, Paul Riser, managing director of TechTown Detroit, highlighted his organization’s work supporting Detroit entrepreneurs with investment and advice. His dissection of the tension between what entrepreneurs need and what markets want has ramifications beyond the realities of one tough city. Entrepreneurs anywhere have to be optimistic — the best ones, after all, are creating something new that they’re bringing into the world — but they also have to be realistic.
Steve Case’s Third Wave (via Eric Ries) When you read a Q&A, chances are you’re a lot more interested in the A than the Q. So this interview with AOL founder Steve Case regarding his new book The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, conducted by lean startup stalwart Eric Ries, is rare for both what it offers (intelligence and agility on both sides) and what it eschews (there’s no silly “Internet 3.0” stuff in here). Prodded by Ries, Case rattles off insight after insight: policy will be more important, disruption will increase the need to partner with incumbents, a heyday of regional entrepreneurship is coming. All very NewCo themes; now we’ll read Case’s book in full and report back here once we do.
Companies Can Be Good People Writing in The New Yorker, James Surowiecki surveys the robust and negative corporate response to discriminatory legislation in North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and other states. But he touches only briefly on the real cause of that response: In an era of work-life integration, big companies can no longer ignore the values of their employees and customers when faced with bias. The era of corporations acting like people — people with a point of view about social justice — is now upon us.
If you drive 15 or 20 minutes north of Mexico city’s richer, more well-tended district of Polanco, you’ll find yourself in the middle of Ampliación Torre Blanca, seemingly just one more crumbling set of traffic-choked blocks in this mega-city’s smoggy sprawl.
But turn down the small street of Ignacio Allende and then again into a small courtyard of #21: There you’ll find Startup Mexico (SUM), a massive converted warehouse thrumming with the energy of scores of new businesses. Once inside, you may as well be in the shared workspaces of New York’s Flatiron or San Francisco’s South of Market. Then it hits you. No one city has dominion over the startup movement: It’s gone global.
(Warning, loads of unabashed cursing ahead. Cross posted from my site.)
Everyone’s definition of what makes a person or a company “douchey” varies, but the Supreme Court’s approach to pornography is a good start: You know it when you see it. The very fact that the HBO series Silicon Valley can confidently parody douchey behavior is proof we’ve at least found common ground when it comes to extreme douchebaggery.