An Open Source Company Handbook

One of the things that I’m very excited about it is growing our team beyond the founders. This is something that I had the very special privilege of doing in my last venture where I hired the first 40+ folks to the team.

To add a bit more flavor and context, I hired those folks within the span of 12 months and our retention rate was 13%, which is phenomenal compared to what typically happens in hyper-growth startups where the retention/attrition rate is greater than 40% per year, generally speaking.

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The First of Many

We’ve got a busy week this week as we work on product, work through early customer feedback, and even chat with a few venture partners for what we know is an exciting opportunity to seriously impact software companies of every single size.

It can get so busy at times that we easily forget to appreciate the small things, be grateful for all that we have, and I have to be explicitly reminded of how great of a pleasure it is to build something that I believe matters.

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On Building an Audience

One of the most competitive things that you and I can do as builders and creators of products and companies is tell the story of not only what we’re building but also why we’re building it.

This allows you to do many things that end up being a major competitive advantage for you and your growing business, especially if you’re starting from scratch (i.e. early-stage startup).

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On Growing the Culture

We’ve been building a lot of momentum around the product and we’ve been very fortunate to land on something (iteratively) that deeply resonates with folks, especially our early customers.

This means, of course, that we’ve attracted a little bit of attention with financial parters and venture capitalists and we’re honored and humbled for that type of attention. The conversations have been fun, enlightening, and very challenging – just like any good relationship should be, right?

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A Product That Resonates Takes Time

When we first started putting things together we knew that there were serious pain-points within organizations of all sizes and that their ability to make business-decisions from technical data was limited.

To make matters worse (and to throw salt in the wound), most of the data was available but it was silo’d and not easily understood or translated into business-centric outcomes.

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On Staying Healthy

Last week I shared a few thoughts regarding Jeff Bezos’ 2016 Shareholder Letter and, in particular, how we are trying to emulate a “Day 1” type of business and organizational culture that can execute with high fidelity and continue to grow and scale in the best ways possible.

Although we are serious about building a successful product and business we know that we can’t build one without a sustainable and healthy company culture, and we know that it starts with how we understand and treat ourselves.

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On Being a “Day 1” Company

Something that has been passed around the internet profusely is Jeff Bezos’ 2016 Shareholder Letter which is a masterclass on what leadership looks like from someone who has survived some of the worst technology-centric economic trials in our recent history and who has lead a company to growing marketshare, profit, and brand awareness.

It’s crazy to think that Bezos has been doing this for 20+ years and to read his 1997 Shareholder Letter (also attached to the 2016) is uncanny in its sheer prescience and then, of course, the fact that he and his team have executed marvelously.

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On Building Momentum

Startups live and die by the velocity and the resulting momentum that they build as they continue to iterate and scale.

And the lack of velocity and momentum is what can certainly kill any organization of any size! Whether it’s engineering, product marketing, sales, or human capital, if an organization doesn’t have and increase momentum then the end is an inevitability.

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Going Back to (Startup) School

Never stop learning” is a trustworthy adage that everyone can agree with. But what I’ve discovered is that there are two types of learners out there, the first are those that are proactive in their efforts to continue learning and then there are those that are less so.

It’s not that the latter group doesn’t continue to learn – they do and they can learn a ton! Most folks fall into this group as they continue to build relationships, grow their career, and encounter new challenges through the work that they already do.

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On Predictive Analytics

One of the things that’s currently “in vogue” right now is machine learning and anything dealing with artificial intelligence and statistical algorithms in software.

In fact, if you don’t have at least one of those things in your startup pitch deck you may be deemed “out of touch” or irrelevant (this is, of course, a joke…).

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