Sunday, April 29, 2007

Energy of Startup Teams

You have heard me talk about how I love the energy of Startup teams.

I want to share some thoughts about how to cultivate and grow the startup team energy.

Everyone who has been with a startup as an entrepreneur or an employee in early stages knows how the speed of the environment and limitlessness of the air, sometimes frustrates with too many directions.

As startup founders, we all go about alone or huddling with co-founders in rounds proving the viability of our concept, building prototype and raising money, then the fun begins as you start scaling the team.

Its amazing every time how the dynamics changes with each new person brought on board - new ideas, new energy, lot of chaos with communication and direction.

There is a growing up for startups which has to be done with awareness to let the startup energy burst open. I see 3 areas particularly:

1. Founders get used to being every employee for the startup doing all work and when new employees come on board, its hard to transition work to let go efficiently. I go back to my favorite advice of making a milestone chart for different functional areas so you can scale each separately and let go as you find the resources for each.

2. Founders and initial employees are used to be internal focused, pitching their vision, focusing on building product to showcase the concept that when the time is right to switch to a market facing mode, it is hard on everyone. A startup that operates in stealth mode and opens up with a friends and family beta and launches formally gets time to grow organically out of the internal to the external phase.

3. The real energy of the teams come through when they face a common goal, not an internal date, but one with feedback from outside, be it users or customers, so commit a date to your investors proactively.

It is so immensely beautiful when the team starts acting like a team when they meet a common goal and start responding to the real market. This phase is usually preceeded by a lot of friction, obvious and not so obvious ones, about direction, about the speed of the company, specific areas of scaling responsibilities, formal and informal communication styles.

If this phase is handled with patience and the common goal to make the startup successful, it will bloom with the full energy of the startup team, which will take care of these and all other growing pains to achieve amazing results breaking barriers with utter creativity and great respect for each other to a great nurturing environment and the startup will truly grow beyond the original entrepreneur to its own living entity.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Web 2.O Community Roundtable (Web2Open)

I am at the community roundtable of Web2Open, the barcamp inside Web2.0 led by Tara Hunt all day.

Very smart, open people, including Eric of bloglog.

I can't do justice to the whole event as its been going on from 10 am till 5pm.

What defines a comunity's success?
Scale, about being awesome, keeping community happy.

Nice disussion about Citizen participation community, NGO model. Real metric is how many times we are pushing people into real world.

Summary by everyone is about
- how great it is to have an open honest discussion about community building online,
- re-affirmed about their belief about trusting your community,
- been part of online communities and now world is open to it, challenge how all communities can co-exist and open source where its going
- learning the difference between what B-school taught about market and community and real communities by today's discussions
- Cool thought! Imagine a s set of tools that would enable a community to form + move across the net (Community registration by scott).
- Comparison of geek community (barcamp LA compared to Miami)
- a user walked in by accident, wowed! compared to bloggercon
- passionate person from LA inviting people to LA, will host a geek event. (The Purple Tornado)
- glad people are still talking about it and making it better.
- a user watched the community roundtable online,
- involved mac, tech and sports communities.
- Dave winer scripting news summarized the keynote for us.

Venture Capital 2.0 Panel by Mike Arrington At web 2.0 Expo

I am sitting at a panel at Web 2.0 at SFO.

Mike Arrington is the moderator, panel is full of VCs, Jeff Clavier of SofTech, Mike Eisenberg of Benchmark, Josh Koplman of First Round Capital, David Hornik of August Capital and Chris Moore of Redpoint Ventures.

This is one of the very select panels I decided to attend trusting Mike Arrington and he has not let me down :-))

I've sat thru VC panels at so many panels in past conferences and THIS IS THE BEST!!!

Updated: Video of the panel is here. Its a here and we are riding high with more web.20 ideas not bubble 2.0 yet!

Mike Arrington has nailed it well that startups are able to start and grow with little money (200 to 500K) which is led by smaller fund of $300Mil and the rest of larger VCs have to scramble to get into the deal for companies in second rounds.

The VCs are talking about value-add, and saying everything is hunky dory.

I am impressed that Mike Arrington has lived up to his self-earned special space in Web 2.0 world, as the absolute subject expert on the web 2.0 startup world, bringing in good data to substantiate his questions.

An interesting point I heard from Dave Hornick is that VCs are avoiding Bubble 2.0 by building incentive to build real businessed. Hmm! Would love to learn more about this an check this out!

I'll post a video of select portions of this panel later.