Startup DNA
and how to keep it when you build your company
Pieter Kemps
Amazon Web Services P_Kemps
Company Building
And yet…
Total	
  #	
  AirBnB	
  Guests	
  
9M	
  Up	
  by	
  over	
  5	
  million	
  since	
  the	
  
beginning	
  of	
  the	
  20...
Brian
“What is the single most important
piece of advice for us?”
Peter
“Don’t ‘mess’ up the Culture”
https://medium.com/w...
“The culture is what creates the
foundation for all future innovation. If
you break the culture, you break the
machine tha...
“The product is the product.
The culture is the next hundred products”
Phil Libin, CEO
www.fastcompany.com/3012870/dialed/...
How do you keep Startup DNA?
How do you build it into your Culture as
you scale your business?
When you get started
# 3 Investor Pitch Deck
Biggest Challenge = Finding People
# 1 Customer Pitch Deck
# 2 Employee Pitch Deck
Existing Values
“Adventure”
“Living in the Stretch”
Culture
as an Asset
ABH
‘Always Be Hiring’
http://erickschonfeld.com/2013/04/23/vinod-khosla-demo-mobile-2/
"A company becomes the people it hires,
not what it plans...
When you are scaling
“Good culture creates an environment
where people can do their best work”
Mike Curtis, VP Engineering, Airbnb
http://nerds...
Organization
Structured teams, fluid responsibilities
Process
Example: Code Review Process
When you are at scale
f(innova3on)	
  =	
  
(mechanisms * culture)
(org	
  *	
  arch)	
  
customer obsession
ownership
invent and simplify
right, a lot
hire and develop the best
insist on highest standards
think ...
Ownership
Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term
value for short-term results. They act on...
DevOps
two pizza teams
www.dilbert.com
dive deep
Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, and audit
frequently. No task is beneath them.
Amazon has a very metrics-driven culture
Weekly ops metric meetings
a scorecard for each service team
a graph for every me...
But then TJ gets an unexpected
e-mail from Amazon...
“We noticed that you
experienced poor video
playback. We’re sorry for...
customer obsession
Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work
vigorously to earn and keep customer trus...
Press release to capture the customer
perspective#1
FAQ to answer any questions a customer
might have#2
Start finding the ...
Rate of Experimentation
11.6s
Average time
between
deployments
(weekday)
1,079
Max number of
deployments in a
single hour
(or approx every
3 secon...
Culture
Mechanisms
Organization
Architecture
Startup DNA
Thank You
P_Kemps
The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company
The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company
The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company
The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company
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The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company

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Early stage startups, by nature, are fast, nimble, and agile. But as you scale up your business and build your company, how do you keep this DNA? How do you avoid bureaucracy and red tape creeping in and slowing you down? Building and nurturing your culture is crucial and companies like Airbnb and Amazon have done this successfully. This session explores the key aspects of innovation and agility for startups at scale, zooming into the culture, organization, and mechanisms that have allowed Amazon to keep leveraging its startup DNA to innovate across multiple industries.

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The Key Ingredient to Building a World Class Startup: Startup DNA, And How to Keep it When You Build Your Company

  1. 1. Startup DNA and how to keep it when you build your company Pieter Kemps Amazon Web Services P_Kemps
  2. 2. Company Building
  3. 3. And yet…
  4. 4. Total  #  AirBnB  Guests   9M  Up  by  over  5  million  since  the   beginning  of  the  2013  
  5. 5. Brian “What is the single most important piece of advice for us?” Peter “Don’t ‘mess’ up the Culture” https://medium.com/working-life/597cde9ee9d4
  6. 6. “The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation. If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.” Brian Chesky, Founder https://medium.com/working-life/597cde9ee9d4
  7. 7. “The product is the product. The culture is the next hundred products” Phil Libin, CEO www.fastcompany.com/3012870/dialed/evernotes-quest-to-become-a-100-year-old-startup
  8. 8. How do you keep Startup DNA? How do you build it into your Culture as you scale your business?
  9. 9. When you get started
  10. 10. # 3 Investor Pitch Deck Biggest Challenge = Finding People # 1 Customer Pitch Deck # 2 Employee Pitch Deck
  11. 11. Existing Values “Adventure” “Living in the Stretch” Culture as an Asset
  12. 12. ABH ‘Always Be Hiring’
  13. 13. http://erickschonfeld.com/2013/04/23/vinod-khosla-demo-mobile-2/ "A company becomes the people it hires, not what it plans." Vinod Khosla
  14. 14. When you are scaling
  15. 15. “Good culture creates an environment where people can do their best work” Mike Curtis, VP Engineering, Airbnb http://nerds.airbnb.com/engineering-culture-airbnb/
  16. 16. Organization Structured teams, fluid responsibilities
  17. 17. Process Example: Code Review Process
  18. 18. When you are at scale
  19. 19. f(innova3on)  =   (mechanisms * culture) (org  *  arch)  
  20. 20. customer obsession ownership invent and simplify right, a lot hire and develop the best insist on highest standards think big bias for action frugality vocally self critical earn trust dive deep have backbone; disagree & commit deliver results amazon leadership principles
  21. 21. Ownership Leaders are owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company, beyond just their own team. They never say “that’s not my job."
  22. 22. DevOps
  23. 23. two pizza teams www.dilbert.com
  24. 24. dive deep Leaders operate at all levels, stay connected to the details, and audit frequently. No task is beneath them.
  25. 25. Amazon has a very metrics-driven culture Weekly ops metric meetings a scorecard for each service team a graph for every metric that customers care about each graph has a line…fitness function Correction of Error (COE) process
  26. 26. But then TJ gets an unexpected e-mail from Amazon... “We noticed that you experienced poor video playback. We’re sorry for the inconvenience and have issued you a refund for $3.99” http://consumerist.com/2013/05/02/amazon-notices-our-streaming-video-was-glitchy-proactively-issues-refund/
  27. 27. customer obsession Leaders start with the customer and work backwards. They work vigorously to earn and keep customer trust. Although leaders pay attention to competitors, they obsess over customers.
  28. 28. Press release to capture the customer perspective#1 FAQ to answer any questions a customer might have#2 Start finding the right ‘primitives’#3 Launch, then iterate fast & often#4
  29. 29. Rate of Experimentation
  30. 30. 11.6s Average time between deployments (weekday) 1,079 Max number of deployments in a single hour (or approx every 3 seconds) 30,000 Max number of instances simultaneously receiving a deployment Speed of deployments at amazon.com May 2011
  31. 31. Culture Mechanisms Organization Architecture Startup DNA
  32. 32. Thank You P_Kemps

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