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It was on the Inc. It reached millions of dollars of sales and was ultimately acquired. I ran that first company for over 10 years working the typical startup hours. As part of my degree requirements, I had to write a graduate thesis. The blog was launched on November 5, Since then, the blog and associated community have grown quite large. This book is a collection of some of the best articles from over 7 years of OnStartups. The articles have been topically organized and edited. I hope you enjoy them.

Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about On Startups , please sign up. Lists with This Book.

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This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Jan 29, Leo Polovets rated it really liked it. Somewhere around The book is a quick read and features a collection of essays and blog posts on startups. It's hard to rate a book like this because some of the essays are very useful while others are not. In the end, I guess I got enough value out of the useful essays to consider the book a valuable read.

Also, because some of these essays started as blog posts, many of them end with questions to the reader, which is awkward e. You need to think about you. Realize that no one is thinking about you as hard as you're thinking about yourself, save that time, and get to work. To scale a team, break your model again and again. When Aditya Agarwal started at Dropbox , the company had 30 engineers building for 50 million users.

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Now he directs a team of more than to protect the data of well over million users. In the process, he's become an expert at scaling technical teams. The key, he says, is to continually evolve and hire people who know how to. You need a team that can learn fast, get comfortable with change, and roll with ambiguity and improvise. If people don't know how to do something, make them learn. That's how Dropbox went from having 3 to 4 engineers regularly contributing to the iOS code base to over Don't get distracted by a vocal minority.

As Reddit 's first community manager, Erik Martin presided over a site that now serves 5. Knowing where to invest time became paramount, and one of the best ways to do this, he says, is to stop wasting time and energy on small bands of loud, angry users. This is something almost every consumer startup will face, and it can throw you way off track. Express empathy to make it clear that real human beings are working to address users' or customers' concerns. Run the RIBS test. As Head of Technology Communications at Facebook and before that a co-founder of the OutCast agency , Caryn Marooney has launched tons of press for dozens of products.

Relevant: Is your company solving a real pain point for real people? Why does your solution deserve attention? What is the one line you want people to remember? You only get one. Find great talent by looking at the products you admire. Julie Zhou started working at Facebook at age 22 and has grown up with the organization to direct product design.

One of the biggest parts of this role is bringing in the world's best design talent. And the number one way she does it is by looking at products she and her team love outside of Facebook. After you do that, the key is to not be too shy to reach out. People love hearing from fans, no matter what kind of work they do. This is relevant to functional areas outside design. If you love how a company markets itself or sells its product, it stands to reason that you want to bring those skills into your fold too. Borrow trust to build a trustworthy product. Lynn Perkins , CEO of Urbansitter , has a lot of ideas about how trust can be baked into technology products.

But one of the easiest ways startups with limited resources can do this is by borrowing the image of trust from other sources. To make parents more comfortable with hiring a sitter online, the company leverages their social graphs, highlighting childcare professionals who know or have been hired by people they already know. The site also displays sitters' affiliations with known, trusted and local organizations like CPR training centers and parenting organizations.

Startups that need to build user trust should look to prospective partnerships and social graph opportunities to establish their credibility. Say no the right way. The average tech CEO works days a year, 14 hours a day. To figure out how to turn this situation around, he talked to some of the most effective CEOs in the industry , and got their advice.

Elon Musk - Best Startup Advice for EVERY ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR

One thing that popped up again and again was the need to draw firm boundaries. More people reaching out through LinkedIn, email, invitations to connect, to go to coffee, to ask for a favor. But saying no is hard. That's why Trenchard has implemented a system of ' No templates ' that help him break the news. Here's an example:.

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Hi Bill,. Great to hear from you. I hope all is well. Having this tool at his disposal has saved Trenchard immeasurable time and anxiety. The most important thing is that you close the door to further communication , he says. Raise your bar hire by hire. To do this, he very intentionally raises standards for every new hire. Gupta recommends assigning people already within your company to act as bar raisers. Include them in every hiring conversation and on every interview loop.

Empower them to determine if someone is an improvement over existing talent or not. They should come from outside the hiring team but know enough about the role to judge talent. Patch leaks in your funnel. Tamara Steffens has run business development for companies like Path, Color, and most recently, Microsoft acquisition Acompli. In doing so, she's become laser focused on user acquisition through all channels — including where they drop out of the conversion funnel.

She's identified two leaks startups should pay extra attention to. The first is Day 1. How many users do you lose the same day they download the app? If your product is at all confusing or intimidating, chances are the average user will turn it off and trash it shortly thereafter. The fix : If users stop engaging with your app before they even see what it has to offer, take a close look at your signup process.

The second leaky bucket is the 6-week mark. How many users are still actively engaged with your app after six weeks? If you're losing a lot of them, your product may be losing its utility or novelty. The fix : Listen intently to what your customers want from your product and iterate as fast as possible on this feedback. Respect people's time.

Carly Guthrie has faced some of the most challenging HR questions possible after years managing people operations for elite restaurant groups and tech startups. During that time, she's seen a lot of talented people get fed up and leave companies where they could have done great work. One of the top reasons people flee is because they don't feel like they own their own time.

She has seen companies require late afternoon happy hours on Fridays and early staff meetings on Mondays at their peril. Nail your positioning for early success. When Arielle Jackson started to develop the marketing and communications plan around Cover the Android app quickly snapped up by Twitter , she brought experience from Google, where she managed product marketing for Gmail, Docs, Calendar, etc.

In all these instances, developing solid market positioning made the difference. There are so many products out there, and people are busy. You have to know who you are. For target customer. Who statement of need or opportunity ,. Product name is a product category. That statement of key benefit. Unlike competing alternative. Product name statement of primary differentiation. For World Wide Web users.

Amazon is a retail bookseller. Unlike traditional book retailers,. Amazon provides a combination of extraordinary convenience, low prices and comprehensive selection. Create an environment for 'flow.


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After spending 24 years climbing the corporate ladder in the gaming and software industries, Scott Crabtree decided to devote his career to increasing employee productivity by increasing happiness. Today, he's the founder of Happy Brain Science , an organization that surfaces the data underpinning work satisfaction.

His big observation: People get the most done when they enter a 'flow' state of high-performance. To set people up for flow, he recommends structuring goals so that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound SMART , ensuring that these goals are meaningful that people connect with them on a personal, emotional level , and aligning goals with people's strengths — not just what they are good at, but what they naturally enjoy.

If you can achieve this as a manager and help people cut down on multitasking at the same time, you're on your way to encouraging healthy, happy productivity, Crabtree says. Process is being told what to do by someone who has less information than you.

Peter Deng thrived during the early days of Facebook, when process and structure was limited, and everyone was focused on moving fast and breaking things. This experience made him extremely mindful about when process is needed and when it's simply in the way. Now, as Director of Product at Instagram , he's come up with a regimen to make sure protocol doesn't get out of hand. This includes clearing your slate by canceling recurring meetings when they outlive their usefulness, understanding that all structures and meetings should have an expiration date, banning meetings during certain days and times to free up people's schedules, and constantly revisiting and revising anything that could be labeled as a policy to make sure legacy needs don't become entrenched bottlenecks.

Invest in marketing from the start.


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Robbie Mitchell , head of marketing and communications for education startup Knewton , deeply disagrees. He believes that marketing and product should evolve side-by-side. He's seen tremendous benefits running Knewton's marketing group as its own in-house agency, complete with engineers, designers and product managers devoted to marketing objectives.

Pour rocket fuel on your recruiting process. Traditional referral recruiting looks like this: Your staff kinda knows what roles you have open, they kinda have an inkling about who in their networks might be a good fit, and they kinda think about this when they're not doing their actual jobs. But this watered-down system still yields some amazing hires. So why not power it up? As co-founder of talent discovery startup TalentBin acquired by Monster , this is Peter Kazanjy 's wheelhouse.

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Here's his guide to teaching everyone at your company how to find the very best talent for your company across their networks. Fix internal communication before it breaks. Early last year, URX was a relatively unknown startup — a small team with a very technical product. Since then, the company has grown to nearly 30 employees and is on the brink of breakout growth. But what really keeps CEO John Milinovich up at night is making sure the company's internal communications are designed to scale. To preempt this problem, he's put several elastic communication channels in place: Contrarian office hours , held weekly, where people can air any questions, concerns or problems, and are invited to be controversial; Tech Talks delivered to the entire company by members of the team so that people can learn from their peers while they learn what they do every day; and an unwavering commitment to s — with Milinovich himself.

To win at sales, think like a buyer. Early on at food delivery startup Seamless , the sales team was struggling. What did they have going for them? They had many pre-formed relationships with big companies that used the platform to regularly order food.