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StartupManagement Basics             Justin KanDecember 5, 2011 @ General Assembly
Qualifications?• Founded Justin.tv: $7.9m funding, 45  employees• Y Combinator Part-time Partner: seen a  few companies gro...
Typical YC Founder• Young, passionate, domain expert /  technically strong• Little management experience of individuals  o...
Why this class?• After Product Market Fit, recruiting,  managing and retaining talent is the #1  barrier to scale• Will di...
Part 1: Stages of an   early startup
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stage: Founders• There is no formal process• For the love of God: Choose a CEO now!
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stage: First Hires• These hires are complementary skill sets• Company is still very egalitarian, people  generally work as...
Stage: First Hires• Avoid the tyranny of the majority. Not  everyone can have input on everything.• Often no clear directi...
Stage: First Hires• Examples: • Design
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stage: First Expansion• Work load is taking off.• Founders are pulled into new areas (eg,  sales and marketing)• You start...
Stage: First Expansion• These employees are the most likely to get  screwed• When in doubt, over-communicate  expectations
Stage: First Expansion• Examples: • First engineering hires on video
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stage: Specialists• Now you start hiring people who have  specific skill that the founder don’t• Need to worry about recrui...
Stage: Specialists• Examples: network engineers,  infrastructure, sales, ad ops, community• Set goals in these areas.
Stage: Specialists• Examples: • Ad sales (bad) • Community (bad) • Biz Dev (bad) • Ad ops (great) • Network Eng (great)
Stages of a startup  Founders             2-3 founders sitting around hacking                  Raise seed, hire a couple w...
Stage: Teams• Must start adding structure / hierarchy.• Don’t make people who don’t want to  manage people manage people.
Stage: Teams• Build teams around the best people.• Make sure those people come from the  internal structure.
Stage: Teams• Examples: • Product Manager
Part 2: Common mistakes     by new founders
Fear of “Managing”• Don’t create a secret cabal• Be transparent when possible. It is ok if  certain people have authority.
Confusing lack of direction  with empowerment  • You are probably experts in your area  • People want direction  • People ...
Confusing taking input with having to follow all of it  • Brainstorming sessions  • Don’t be afraid to say no.. or better ...
Not creating an explicithierarchy soon enough• People want to know who to go for for X• “Founder” is not a job• Who is in ...
Not setting clear      expectations• Be explicit about success conditions• Success conditions don’t have to be  complicate...
Not setting clear      expectations• Be explicit about success conditions• Success conditions don’t have to be  complicate...
Not having regular 1:1      meetings• Set 30 minutes aside every 2 weeks for  each person you’re directly managing• Don’t ...
Not providing outlets    for feedback• Create regular times when people get  feedback• Examples: after spec, after mockups...
Not communicating     motivations• No one is telepathic• Don’t expect your employees to guess  your motivations• Understan...
Not communicating      assertively• 4 kinds of communication: passive,  aggressive, passive aggressive, assertive• When so...
Not communicating    assertively• Assertive: I address the issue without  attacking the person, explaining how I feel
Doing things yourself• It is tempting to jump in and do things  yourself when things break down• If you are the manager th...
Questions?
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Startup management basics

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Slides that accompanied Justin Kan's lesson on Startup Management Basics given at General Assembly December 5th, 2011.

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  • Transcript of "Startup management basics"

    1. 1. StartupManagement Basics Justin KanDecember 5, 2011 @ General Assembly
    2. 2. Qualifications?• Founded Justin.tv: $7.9m funding, 45 employees• Y Combinator Part-time Partner: seen a few companies grow to 25-50 people
    3. 3. Typical YC Founder• Young, passionate, domain expert / technically strong• Little management experience of individuals or teams
    4. 4. Why this class?• After Product Market Fit, recruiting, managing and retaining talent is the #1 barrier to scale• Will discuss the earliest stages of growth, from founders to 20-30• This is what I wish someone had told me when I started
    5. 5. Part 1: Stages of an early startup
    6. 6. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    7. 7. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    8. 8. Stage: Founders• There is no formal process• For the love of God: Choose a CEO now!
    9. 9. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    10. 10. Stage: First Hires• These hires are complementary skill sets• Company is still very egalitarian, people generally work as equals• Individuals still contribute to many different areas
    11. 11. Stage: First Hires• Avoid the tyranny of the majority. Not everyone can have input on everything.• Often no clear direction is given. Usually vision is non-existent.
    12. 12. Stage: First Hires• Examples: • Design
    13. 13. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    14. 14. Stage: First Expansion• Work load is taking off.• Founders are pulled into new areas (eg, sales and marketing)• You start hiring people to fill in the old jobs the founders were doing
    15. 15. Stage: First Expansion• These employees are the most likely to get screwed• When in doubt, over-communicate expectations
    16. 16. Stage: First Expansion• Examples: • First engineering hires on video
    17. 17. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    18. 18. Stage: Specialists• Now you start hiring people who have specific skill that the founder don’t• Need to worry about recruiting the best. Congrats, now your job is to be a recruiter.
    19. 19. Stage: Specialists• Examples: network engineers, infrastructure, sales, ad ops, community• Set goals in these areas.
    20. 20. Stage: Specialists• Examples: • Ad sales (bad) • Community (bad) • Biz Dev (bad) • Ad ops (great) • Network Eng (great)
    21. 21. Stages of a startup Founders 2-3 founders sitting around hacking Raise seed, hire a couple with complementary First hires skills. Headcount: 5. Series A. Hire people under founders. ProductFirst Expansion Market Fit. Headcount: 10. Specialists Begin hiring domain experts. Headcount: 15-20. Individual job functions begin to require >1 Teams people. Headcount: 20-30.
    22. 22. Stage: Teams• Must start adding structure / hierarchy.• Don’t make people who don’t want to manage people manage people.
    23. 23. Stage: Teams• Build teams around the best people.• Make sure those people come from the internal structure.
    24. 24. Stage: Teams• Examples: • Product Manager
    25. 25. Part 2: Common mistakes by new founders
    26. 26. Fear of “Managing”• Don’t create a secret cabal• Be transparent when possible. It is ok if certain people have authority.
    27. 27. Confusing lack of direction with empowerment • You are probably experts in your area • People want direction • People want to know how they will be evaluated
    28. 28. Confusing taking input with having to follow all of it • Brainstorming sessions • Don’t be afraid to say no.. or better yet, let the person in charge say no
    29. 29. Not creating an explicithierarchy soon enough• People want to know who to go for for X• “Founder” is not a job• Who is in charge of what?
    30. 30. Not setting clear expectations• Be explicit about success conditions• Success conditions don’t have to be complicated• This will help reduce micromanaging
    31. 31. Not setting clear expectations• Be explicit about success conditions• Success conditions don’t have to be complicated• This will help reduce micromanaging
    32. 32. Not having regular 1:1 meetings• Set 30 minutes aside every 2 weeks for each person you’re directly managing• Don’t discuss the state of projects• Do discuss productivity, blockers, your expectations, what their goals are, how your company can help them achieve their goals
    33. 33. Not providing outlets for feedback• Create regular times when people get feedback• Examples: after spec, after mockups, before release, post release
    34. 34. Not communicating motivations• No one is telepathic• Don’t expect your employees to guess your motivations• Understanding motivations helps smart people accomplish those goals
    35. 35. Not communicating assertively• 4 kinds of communication: passive, aggressive, passive aggressive, assertive• When someone does something wrong: • Passive: I don’t say anything • Aggressive: I get angry • Passive aggressive: I pretend things are ok
    36. 36. Not communicating assertively• Assertive: I address the issue without attacking the person, explaining how I feel
    37. 37. Doing things yourself• It is tempting to jump in and do things yourself when things break down• If you are the manager this is not your job: you are the leverage
    38. 38. Questions?
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