It takes a full team

One of the great misconceptions in working to build a startup from scratch is that you need only be great at one thing – typically product development – and then you can wing and learn the rest.

Why do I think it’s a wrong approach?

First of all, you’re essentially working on a wrong assumption about what’s needed to become really successful. Because just as innovation, product development and delivery takes skill and experience, so do the ‘boring’ business parts.

In essence it may actually be more difficult to build a business than develop a product; when you’re developing a product you can get very far with your own skills (provided they’re good enough), but when you move out into the market, the whole world goes into flux, the interdependencies are huge and the risk as well. And it just takes a pretty steady set of hands to work that infinite space.

Second, you risk spending your time, energy and ressources on the wrong things. If you’re a stellar developer, you should be focusing on development. Full stop. You should now water down and defocus your unfair advantage by taking on tasks, you don’t feel confident in and – lets face it – basically care very little about.

You should leave all those things to people who have the same qualities as yourself – but within the business/market facing aspects of your startup.

In summary, the key message here is that it ALWAYS takes a full team to succeed. And since you cannot by everywhere and bring your A game to every aspect of getting a successful business up and running, make sure that you get A players in all positions and show them faith and trust that they’re capable people who knows what’s needed to be successful.

That’s the best way for you to maximize your chances of success.

(Photo by Guille Álvarez on Unsplash)

The ‘naked’ online presence

More than 10 years ago when I was dating, I made it a habit to always Google my date ahead of our first meeting in person. Given what I was doing on an everyday basis at work it just felt natural to try to get a bit of insight beforehand and satisfy part of my curiosity.

It was fun.

Until they started doing the same with me.

Then all of a sudden I learned what it actually means to be visible online and to never have shied away from putting your ideas and comments out there in this vast digital space.

Because there were a ton of things you could find out back then with very little effort. And there’s exponentially more today.

Which to some extend makes it such an intriguing opportunity to organize.

I was reminded about this when I encountered SpoonBill; a service that allows you to get insights on the updates, your Twitter contacts have been making to fx their bio over the years.

Digging into those is a fascinating thing, and if you allow yourself a bit of time to do it, it is actually quite revealing about peoples personalities.

Some may call this snooping, and to some extend it is. But it’s still information people have put out there themselves. Actively. It is there own words. How they like to see themselves at any given moment in time. It is not something that is collected behind the scenes.

The ability to get an overview of how people change their self-image or perhaps even identity over time is a perfect complement to the long-seen practice of trying to perfect the image, you convey using various social media platforms.

And Twitter is a great tool to start the forensic analysis with given that it is a platform where professional and personal interests collide in one big hodge-podge of things.

For that reason I also think that SpoonBill is at the aventgarde of a plethora of tools and services, we’re going to see going forward that tried to address the same issue; getting a sense of who people really are behind the smoke and mirrors of SoMe and personal branding.

Getting behind the scenes and to the core of people is a fundamental human need on which all kinds of trust and enduring relationships are built.

Thus, my best guess is that getting this right is going to be a huge business opportunity for those, who want to engage.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Capturing learnings

One of the things I am trying to do while we work to get our new MedTech startup off the ground is to document my learnings so far.

I do that in a mindmap using SimpleMind. Because when taking notes and reflecting on things the easy of speed of getting it down into some sort of structure beats trying to get the format right from the go.

Anyways, the learnings I am documenting serve a couple of purposes;

First of all, I am trying to get the learning myself. Reflect on the things we have done as a team and I have done as an individual and try to use the instances, where we could have done better or been more efficient, to become better and more efficient in the future.

Second, I am trying to document whether there are some patterns in what we have done that we can put on formula for later use and thus make the next startup startup process a bit more smooth.

Looking at the latter point, two things have already become abundantly clear:

There are a lot of learnings around process; when to do what in order to create a flow where everything around establishing the team, the corporate structure, strategy etc can happen at a pace, where people are in it and don’t risk feeling either overwhelmed, not heard or just straight out of the picture. I think those learnings are universal and can be directly applied to other future cases.

On top of that there are a lot of learnings about people; what’s important, what’s not important, how to interact in ways that builds a great degree of trust, which I think is absolutely key for a future long term corporation to work. Some of those learnings are directly applicable to future cases, but as it relates to people, and people are inherently different, some of them will have to have major adjustments on a case by case basis.

Basically, two things are fascinating for me in jotting down those learnings:

The sheer volume of notes, thoughts and reflections is just daunting and is both a reminder of the process so far and the sheer amount of work, we have put into making our new startup work for everybody. But it also has immense value in itself as a future (part) blueprint for how to do these things.

The other thing is that I will be curious to see what will end up being the differentiator for future cases and the applicability of our learnings to them? Will it be predominantly the process parts of the people parts.

The jury is still very much out on that one and as such the journaling continues.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Trust in difficult times

One of the things that really strikes me about the work-from-home way of dealing with the corona virus is the way it potentially stress tests the trust between employer and employee.

There are companies that are fearful of sending their employees home to work for fear that they won’t get any work done. And – luckily – there are companies where they have no issue in trusting their employees with doing their bit from home because they know that the relationship is healthy.

My bet is that those who are going to see and experience big issues here are the companies, where employees have been treated like little more than cogs in a big machine. While it may make weird sense to executives in good times to nurture the bottom line, it could effectively break them now.

And then I haven’t even mentioned all the employees who will now have time away from the office and amble time to think about whether they actually want to go back when this lockdown clears.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)