Startups in the Early Stages are Super Unglamorous

It is always nice to see when some one leaves a big pay check, a prestigious job with one of world’s biggest companies and ventures out into the unknown. It takes a lot of conviction, grit and perseverance to make it. Nest Co-Founder Matt Rogers explains why careers can be made on taking on the challenges and projects unloved by others.

A few notes from one of the most inspiring startup stories.

  • Growing up with technology at a young age changes your mindset and how you interact with the world.
  • Doing end to end in technology is really complicated.
  • The best teams are the ones with a culture that gets going when things go wrong.
  • For startups, PR is the best means of early marketing.
  • Growth metrics are very different for physical items. For  apps it may be  downloads in millions. For physical items, a few sales from each store is good.
  • The early stages of a startup are fun but may be very glamorous – lots of market research, cold calling, talking to people to hire, white boarding, sketching, prototyping, brainstorming, trying out different things and building.
  • To be a good startup, you need to have an intentional processes, deep technological integration and great design.
  • You need to build things that are really easy to use.

I enjoy listening to ETL (Entrepreneur Thought Leaders) podcasts. They normally get good speakers and the audience ask great questions. I hope you enjoy this podcast as much as I did.

 

Learning Agility

I stumbled into IdeaCast from HBR a couple of weeks ago. First of all I love the title “IdeaCast”. You can’t pass up a pod-cast series with such a title. Like Knowledge@Wharton podcasts, this is an invaluable source of information. One of the pod-casts I listened to recently is about the Changing Role of Leaders. In this podcast Marshall Goldsmith talks about five of the new traits of a Future Leaders. Then Marshall goes on to add another (saying that he got it from one of the readers who commented on his blog post). He calls it Learning Agility.

The term appealed to me and I immediately Googled it and found this link.

It describes the common traits of learning agile people.

  • They are critical thinkers who examine problems carefully and make fresh connections with relative ease.
  • They know themselves well, leverage their strengths effectively and know how to compensate for their weaknesses.
  • They like to experiment and are comfortable with the discomfort that comes from change.
  • They deliver results in first-time situations through team-building and personal drive.

The author identifies a set of related characteristics, agile people may have:

  • Mental Agility -Ability to separate action from strategy and vision
  • Results Agility – Personal drive and presence
  • People Agility – Ability to build teams which includes Conflict Agility

I think Learning Agility is an important trait, for companies – especially startups. Most of the founders have it. A bigger challenge is to make it an essential ingredient of the startup culture.

Resources: Technology Podcasts and Videos

I am always on the lookout for good podcasts to listen to. Here is an opportunity to listen to thought leaders in the tech industry.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Interviews with Innovators by Jon Udel from ITConversations Network. ITConversations also hosts some interesting podcasts on Social Innovation and other interesting topics.

Talking with Talis is one of my more recent discoveries. In their own words, it is:

conversations with thought-leaders at the interface between Web 2.0, Libraries, and the Semantic Web…

Inside Silicon Valley from PodTech News is another one of my favorites. I became aware of PodTech when Robert Scoble moved there from Microsoft.

ScobleShow is another one of my favorite ones. Since Scoble is no longer at PodTech, I wonder whether this series will continue.

Channel 10 is a great source that covers products and innovations at Microsoft.  I have watched some really grate videos and podcasts there.

Google Engineering Edu and other Google tech talk videos is one of the best sources of technology information. Google often invites thought leaders, developers, language designers to their campus. They make these videos available free.

A talk a day is my motto. A technology or Science podcast or an audiobook is a great companion when I take my walks or sweat it out on my treadmill.

It is a River…

“It is a river, not a reservoir” from A guide to the overwhelmed: Part-II.  Rob articulates what most of us feel, so well.

One of the greatest and most depressing moments of enlightenment that ever dropped itself on me was the realization that I was not going to learn everything I wanted to learn in my lifetime. I was not going to do all the things I wanted to do.

I stopped worrying about it now.  I read a bit, blog a bit, talk about it a lot and think about it.  I feel happy when I get a few ideas and dream about a day where I can implement them.

via Stephen’s OLDaily.