Zaarly: A Cool Opportunity


For those of you that don’t know, I recently helped to co-found, Zaarly (www.zaarly.com). The company was founded in late February and launched a private beta in Austin for South by Southwest. We’re now looking for some help from individuals who want to assist us with rolling out the product.

It’s a great opportunity to work with some very strong people and help take this to the next level. If you are interested, let me know. Success in the role may lead to a full-time role down the road.

——

We are looking for 3-4 top quality individuals for a 2 month contract. This is an opportunity to work with the founding team of Zaarly.com, which has been featured in TechCrunch, the New York Times, Xconomy, and dozens of other publications. Investors include Ashton Kutcher, Felicis Ventures, LightBank (formed by Groupon founders) and more.
You’ll get immersed in all the key learnings around a technology startup company — web marketing, social media marketing, blogging, SEO, SEM, hyperlocal activation, public relations, product features and much more. Your role will require flexibility, creativity, attention to detail, hard work and dedication. This is a very time sensitive role and will necessitate working without excessive supervision.
Requirements:
  • Located in Seattle, WA or Kansas City, MO metro areas (where our marketing leads are located currently)
  • Experience with web and online tools
  • Ability to work full-time, to begin immediately (or as soon as possible)
  • Positive attitude and willingness to go above and beyond
  • Experience with social media, blogging, SEO, SEM
  • College degree a plus, but not required
You’ll receive a monthly stipend plus the opportunity for a bonus based on attaining key metrics. This is a contract position, but there is the opportunity for a full-time role following the contract based on exceptional performance during this period.
If interested, please send a resume and statement of interest or cover letter to Adam@zaarly.com. We anticipate beginning as soon as possible.

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Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge: Interview

Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge: Interview


As a part of the Venture Capital & Private Equity Committee of the American Bar Association, I had the distinct pleasure to interview Jeff Bussgang (who I met as a board member of one of my clients). Below is the summary of that interview which will be published in Preferred Returns, the VC Committee Newsletter.

Jeff Bussgang is a General Partner at Flybridge Capital Partners whose investment interests and entrepreneurial experience are in consumer, Internet commerce, marketing services, software and wireless start-ups. Jeff currently represents the firm on the boards of BzzAgent, ClickSquared, Convoke Systems, DataXu, digitalArbor, i4cp, Mall Networks, oneforty, Ready Financial, SaveWave, SimpleTuition, and Transpera and was previously a director at Brontes Technologies (acquired by 3M), go2Media, and PanGo Networks (merged with InnerWireless). Jeff’s book on venture capital and entrepreneurship, Mastering the VC Game is an insider’s guide for entrepreneurs on financing and company-building. The book has been hailed by the Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, TechCrunch and The Financial Times as an essential guide for entrepreneurs. Jeff serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard Business School

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Rhythm and Momentum in Your Business: Appature Day 90

Rhythm and Momentum in Your Business: Appature Day 90


At day 90 at a startup, you are no longer the new guy… and at times I feel like a long-timer. We jokingly say around the office that life at Appature moves in dog years, and I think that is likely the truth. Since you are continually focused on moving quickly and focused on the future, sometimes when you stop and look around, you realize that you’re much further along than you thought.

It’s a good “check-in” point at day 90 to stop and look around a bit. I’ve read lots of books, articles and blog posts about why startups are successful. And I think I’m starting now to see a couple of the key features that help a small team move quickly and accomplish big goals.

So for this blog, I wanted to talk about a couple key concepts I’ve started to notice and how important I believe they are: Rhythm & Momentum.

Rhythm of Progress

One of our key phrases we use in the office at Appature is ‘our biggest enemy is time.’ Why is that? Well, when you are the smaller, agile party like we are, you only have a limited window of time if you are successful before someone takes notice of what you are doing and, potentially, tries to pivot to follow your lead. And, if that ‘someone’ just happens to be a well-funded competitor or another small upstart, any head-start you had could quickly vanish.

So that’s the reason why we are continually trying to push ahead as quickly as possible to capitalize of what we perceive are advantages we have over our competitors.

And that’s where rhythm comes into play. Some may call it your rhythm or your routine or regularity (lots of ‘R’ words). But in general, its the ability to continue to have everyone make progress on their goals without major interruption. And that’s what’s key — avoiding interruption or distraction.

It’s really easy to get distracted in a startup. You can look around and find a hundred things to distract you (or “shiny objects” as I tell the founders of Startup Weekend). ‘Let’s chase this lead.’ ‘Let’s enter into this partnership.’ ‘Let’s restructure our ownership.’ ‘Let’s redesign the product.’ All of these can be valuable decisions or considerations, but the challenge is when these distractions get in the way of your progress, you quickly lose your rhythm and the wheels grind to a halt.

Over the past three months, I’ve started to observe the rhythm of the business when the team is focused and those times when the team begins to lose that focus. We set our goals late in 2010 and now are focused on execution — which oftentimes keeps us focused on what matters. And that focus keeps the rhythm alive.

What I’ve noticed here at Appature is that when we are in rhythm it is almost a quiet buzz — things are happening and you see people making lots of progress, but it feels almost methodical. For me, at those key times I know we are in rhythm, it just seems like you can hear the ‘hum’ of the engine going around you as you are kicking butt on your own challenges… and the next thing I know, I look outside at 8 pm and wonder where the day went. That’s the feeling of rhythm I’ve started to look for.

Whenever you join a new business, it takes a while to find your rhythm, and frankly to be able to recognize the rhythm of the company or organization. It took me MUCH less time than I ever anticipated to start to observe the Appature rhythm and be able to adjust my own rhythm to match the team’s. And when you get into that routine and that rhythm, it’s time to push your foot on the gas.

Momentum and the Early Stage Company

In sports, the announcers often talk about the concept of momentum. Which team has it and how the other team needs to respond to steal momentum away.

Momentum is a concept that seems to also applies to a company or any team of people. As I mentioned above, a business or a person in rhythm helps keep progress happening. That’s probably pretty obvious — distractions distract and take you out of your rhythm. But the concept of momentum is another concept that I’ve seen manifest itself very clearly in our last 90 days.

Our CEO Kabir Shahani is a believer in the Tuckman model of group development that talks about what it takes for a team to start to really perform. It’s an interesting theory and I think it truly applies as a team starts to gel:

“The Forming

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My Top 8 Technology Tools to Manage My Life

My Top 8 Technology Tools to Manage My Life


This weekend, a friend of mine asked what were some of the best ways to use technology to be more productive and get more sh*t done. I thought about it for a bit and came up with a list of the technology tools I use regularly or semi-regularly to help me manage my life.

  1. Odesk. Odesk is number one on this list for a reason. It’s basically a marketplace for contract services — web design, SEO, short data research projects, etc. Whatever you need, simply post the job or look for someone on the site and you’ll get people willing to do it for a fee. You pay Odesk directly and they pay the contractor. It’s amazing on a number of levels — #1 you can assign the right person at the right rate to the job you are doing; #2 there are so many people on the site, you can always find someone; and #3 the ability to send project internationally keeps the prices reasonable. Find a project you are dreading, send it to Odesk and you’ll be amazed.
  2. LogMeIn. LogMeIn is a tool that allows you to quickly move from your work machine to your home machine — all through the Internet. It saves me trouble of having to keep copies of documents on all the computers I work on. On a per-hour basis, I get the most value out of this tool — and it makes me productive from wherever I am, be it home, traveling or in the office.
  3. Tungle.me. Tungle is a great way to share your schedule without all the details. Tungle ties into things like Outlook, Gmail, Facebook, TripIt, and Plancast to create an online version of your schedule that others can view. If I need to schedule a meeting or phone call with someone, my standard operating procedure is to simply send my tungle page (www.tungle.me/erickoester) and tell someone to find a time or times for a meeting. This saves all the back and forth of coordinating schedules over email or phones. Plus, my wife has access and knows where to find me (which is a huge additional benefit!)
  4. Gist. Gist is a tool that aggregates content from your contacts into a single source. If I want to find information on a contact or a company, I usually use Gist. It’ll pull data from Outlook, Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and give me a single view of a contact. There are lots of features, but the one I use most regularly is the dashboard where I can find new blog posts, job titles, etc. for my key contacts and then connect with them on those points. I also use Gist in Gmail — which has created a similar experience to Xobni in Outlook (but not quite as well structured yet).
  5. Xobni. Xobni is a sidebar tool that helps aggregate content for each email/contact in Outlook. Frankly, I think Xobni is still one of the best Outlook plugins out there. I use it on all of my PCs and until I upgraded to Android mobile, I used Xobni on my blackberry. It’s a great way to get a snapshot of a person right in Outlook and keeps things like phone numbers, other email addresses, LinkedIn profiles, etc. all within Outlook.
  6. TripIt. TripIt creates a single version of your travel schedule. All you do is forward your travel itineraries to plans@tripit.com and it combines all the information by trip in its system. No longer do I have to save all my travel documents in a folder or print out things — I just go to TripIt (online or via the mobile app) and everything is right there. It’s another one that has made traveling much less painful. My hope is that Concur (it’s recent acquiror) will find a way to integrate expense reporting into TripIt and then you’ll have a real winner!
  7. Timely. Timely is a Flowtown product that helps schedule Tweets when they’ll have the most impact. For me, I am a late-night worker and tend to get my inspiration late in the day. So rather than blast out a Tweet at 2 am when no one will read it, I drop it in Timely and it’ll schedule it for me when it will have the most impact. And then it provides metrics tracking its results — and yes, I’ve seen many more retweets and clicks on these tweets than before. (In fact, I’ll use Timely to schedule the tweet for this blog post!)
  8. Meeting Wizard or Doodle. These two systems are free tools to help you schedule a meeting. Just list a few times, ask people to register the time that works for them, and you are done. Stop wasting time over email trying to figure out these times — use this and you’ll be amazed at the time savings.

That’s the list of the key things I find myself regularly using to be more productive, organize my time/life, and get stuff done. What are other things I should be using to help me become more productive?

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Reflecting on 2010, and what’s ahead in 2011

Reflecting on 2010, and what’s ahead in 2011


Well, goodbyes are due to 2010 today. Lots of “Wow, hard to believe 2010 is over,” and “See you next year” are being said. And it’s always true that the year seems to go by faster than we anticipate.

But I definitely enjoyed 2010… and am really looking forward to 2011.

Thought in this final day of 2010, I’d write a couple lines about what I learned in 2010 and what I’m most excited about in 2011. So without further ado, a few thoughts to wrap up the year and usher in the new one…

Lessons & Blessings in 2010

For me, 2010 was a pretty packed year. It started off with my first polar plunge with Alli and ended up with me at my new job preparing my 2011 goals, objectives, budget and much more. And in between lots of great experiences with friends, crossing off goals and objectives, running into challenges, meeting new people, closing and opening doors, and feeling ready for what’s ahead.

So what are the key things I learned this last year? Well, here’s a few of the most important lessons (and stories associated with each) I gather in 2010:

  1. It’s the people, stupid. Over the past year, I’ve really realized how lucky I am to have a great family, group of friends, wife and support system. It can be easy to forget how great the people you know are, but I learned that through some great travels and trips (the fateful Rainier summit attempt!), through a new nonprofit project, through dinners and holidays, through a new job, through an old job, through trips across the country, and through my regular dog walks with Allison. What I’ve recognized is that I’m fortunate to have people around me that I am inspired to know, am thankful that spend time with me, and am fortunate to be able to lean on whenever I need support. Take an inventory of those people and you quickly realize how lucky you are. So thanks (and I do appreciate everyone… you know who you are!)
  2. Take opportunities (if it matches your passion). This year marked an important career transition for me — leaving Cooley and a legal practice to join a really exciting startup company, Appature. It wasn’t an easy choice (for those that were involved in the decision), but it was definitely the right choice. In my first 2.5 months, I’ve learned an incredible amount, been fortunate to work with really smart people, and am enthused about what is ahead. The real lesson here is that give opportunities a real chance — even if it is risky, or if you are leaving something behind. It seems so obvious now that this was the right choice, but it took lots of thoughtful analysis, discussion and hand-wringing. But the truth is, when all those things align, take the jump — and then make the most of it. I’m so thankful I did.
  3. Life isn’t a spectator sport. If you know me, you’re probably aware that I’m a big fan of Startup Weekend. It’s one of those activities and organizations that I try and really give back to — but what I’ve learned is that this organization also gives back WAY more than I put into it. I’ve even decided to donate the proceeds of Green Entrepreneur Handbook to Startup Weekend and Kiva. The most important lesson from Startup Weekend is that life is most rewarding when you are playing (and not just a spectator). As a lawyer, I got to see startups all the time, but Startup Weekend has given me a platform and an excuse to play. And in the past year, I’ve been able to see one Startup Weekend Project get sold, another continue to be a product that people use and play, and a new project (501k) get launched with outstanding potential (and named a Top 50 Global Entrepreneurship Winner). Whether it is startups, athletics, writing, or more, it’s about trying things and learning along the way.
  4. Set goals and keep setting them. My wife always laughs at me with my constant and growing list of goals. But it’s setting those goals (and working to achieve them) that have helped me to meet some of those goals I’ve had. I’ve always been a big fan of metrics (setting goals that have measurable results, so you can see progress). It’s amazing at when you set a target (lose 10 lbs. in 3 months or read 12 books in 2011) that you are much more likely to hit those goals. In my job and personal life, I’ve become an even bigger fan of setting goals.
  5. Riley is tuckered out after a dog walk

    Go on dog walks (regularly). Earlier this year, Brad Feld wrote a great blog post on how he’s able to find balance with his family. It was inspiring to see how he takes such a thoughtful and organized approach to his personal life and his family. I’ve learned that Alli and I are much more aligned and on the same page when we take Bailey and Riley out for their nightly jaunt. If we forget or get too busy, the dogs get restless — and frankly, so do we. So it’s important to recognize what you need to keep you and your partner on the same track. For us, it’s a walk with the pugs.

Why I’m excited about 2011.

I’ve always been a person that viewed life as a collection of experiences, and that has led me to collect lots of them. And in 2011, I’m excited for a series of new experiences that should make 2011 a great year. I’m looking forward to focusing on growing Appature in a big way, but will continue to recharge my life with things like our dog walks and activities such as Startup Weekend, 501k, ABA and writing a few blog posts now and again. But here’s a list of what I’m most excited about and looking forward to in 2011:

  1. Appature, baby. Appature. Being a part of a startup is a unique experience unlike anything I’ve ever done. On one hand you’re handling things you never expected you’d do (hiring, benefits plans, sales calls, etc.) and on the other hand you are handed an opportunity to build something and create a company to really make a difference. On both hands, it’s exciting… and that’s why I’m excited and enthused to spend 2011 focused on that great big opportunity. As a management team, we spent 2 days together thinking about 2011 and beyond, and I came aware recognizing the size of the opportunity and all the hard work it will take to realize that opportunity. So I’m excited about a year (and more) of continuing the incredibly hard work and realizing successes along the way. I’ve always enjoyed working hard — and it’s even more rewarding/fulfilling when you are doing that with a team all striving towards those same goals.
  2. Great, new people on the bus. One of the great things about my job is getting to help Appature focus on building a killer team. And in the past few months on the job, we’ve brought on some great people and have some people that are going to be awesome that (I hope) will be joining us soon (you know who you are… and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead!) I must say as I look around at our company and more broadly my life, I’m really excited about the people I’ll be able to have on my bus this coming year. It’s a great feeling to look out at 2011 and see who is on my bus (or soon will be) that I’ll get to spend 2011 with. That’s exciting…
  3. 501k. This past year, Ken Kamada, a great friend and I conceived of the initial idea that went on to become 501k. A few months later, we starting building the team that created the prototype for 501k at Startup Weekend, and have since continued to build momentum around the idea and the team. It’s an exciting idea — helping to create a way that individuals can build and create portfolios of charities, share those portfolios with friends and make small, recurring donations to those charity portfolios, all with a few clicks of the mouse. It’s a great project and something I’m inspired by the response and anxious to see the team continue to volunteer their time to build. Look for us to launch by mid-2011 and I’m expecting great things for this idea and team.
  4. Dr. Koester. For the past 4 plus years, my wife Alli has been diligently working on her research, her coursework and her students in anticipation of being awarded her PhD. By next summer, all of those challenges will be met and Alli will be Dr. Koester. It’s really exciting for her and for me to see that time and hard work pay off. Lots more hard work ahead, but it is really exciting to see her nearing the end of this phase of the journey. There will be the excitement and challenge of identifying a school for her to research with and finding that right fit. Fun times (and lots more conversations on our dog walks.) She’s also excited to start getting letters that say “Dr. and Mr. Koester.” I’m less excited… maybe I need to get a PhD at something. (By the way, my wife already asked why this one isn’t #1… however, I quickly clarified that this list is NOT in order of importance!!! Love you…) On a separate note, I’m excited to travel with Alli a few times this year. It’s something we both enjoy and love to do together, so we’re looking for the right opportunity to get away.
  5. Becoming “Superhuman.” I started reading Four Hour Body by Tim Ferris a few weeks back where he jokes about finding ways to become “superhuman” and was inspired to find ways to be the best I can be, physically, mentally, spiritually, etc. So that’s another thing I’m excited about in 2011. What that means is finding ways to continue to be active (maybe another mountain climb), ways to improve my brain (read a book now and again) and ways to have fun doing so (a few more Street Scrambles, Alli?) I sometimes forget how much physical activity helps me be better in the rest of my life — and 2011 is about keeping that all in mind.

So, I say thanks to 2010 for a great year and here’s to an exciting 2011 with friends and family. Lots of challenges ahead, but I’m certainly excited for a great year. Looking forward to meeting those challenges together.

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Getting the right people on the bus (It’s all about people)

Getting the right people on the bus (It’s all about people)


I’m five full weeks in at Appature and have come to realize numerous things (some of which I laid out in a prior blog post here). In these five weeks one thing has become abundantly clear to me — you “win” the startup game based on people.

It’s all about people.

Yeah, it sounds very clique — but the truth is I am even more convinced after living inside of a fast-growing, big-dreaming startup company that Appature will succeed because of the people we currently have and the people we are hoping to hire. We’ll be successful if we convince people that are already successful, hardworking, and dedicated to join us and try and win. We can’t compete with an Oracle or a Microsoft in terms of financial resources, but our hope is that we can get enough people all fighting for the same thing to be able to build something great.

My “Current” Philosophy on People in a Startup…

With all that said, I’ve taken a few key lessons about hiring and people in a fast-growing startup. Here’s a few of those lessons:

(1) Get the right people on the bus. My good friend and the CEO/co-founder at Appature, Kabir Shahani, regularly makes the following statement: “Right now we are primarily focused on getting the right people on the bus. We’ll figure out along the way where is the best place for them to sit, but it’s more important about getting the right people on the bus.” Kabir is spot on. You need people that are aligned with the team — and maybe they will change roles during their first 12 months on the job or maybe they are in the right role for the foreseeable future. But the truth is that you need people that are willing to do whatever is needed to make things work.

(2) Don’t think that a new hire is going to “fix it.” While it is all about people, the truth is that adding a new person, a new position or a new title isn’t going to suddenly fix things. At Appature, we don’t have enough sales people on the ground yet. It’s the reality — there are some great opportunities, but we just don’t have enough bodies to get on the ground and sell our products. Well, the solution is that everyone else has to pitch in to “fix it.” So we all help — that may mean our CTO or product guy spend some time selling; that may mean your finance guy has to do some QA-ing. Truth is that adding a new body helps, but you can’t hold out hope that a new body will be dropped into the organization and fix it… the fixing starts now.

(3) You are always selling (to customers and hires). Because people are so darn important, it is crucial you treat them just like you’d treat a prospective customer. For those of you familiar with Salesforce.com, think about hiring just like a sales funnel. You need to keep getting leads in at the top and nurturing them through the funnel. I was one of the people that spent a lot of time at the top of the funnel before finally moving through and getting “closed” as a new hire. Getting the right people is not easy — nor should it be. I’ve been amazed at how many hours I’ve spent interviewing candidates, finding prospects, selling the company and negotiating offer letters. But when you get the right person, it all seems worthwhile.

(4) Hiring takes resources and time. When I joined Appature, Kabir asked me to really focus on recruiting. As I looked at the big (and I mean really big) list of things I was responsible for, I thought that recruiting would be time consuming… but not such a big responsibility. Truth is, recruiting and hiring has actually been the largest slice of time since I started. We are trying to bring on a half dozen people in the very near term and another half dozen shortly thereafter. And, then if all goes well, we’ll add another dozen. And the truth is to hire one great person, you have to talk to a dozen… so the math starts to get overwhelming (12 x 12 = 144!) That’s why getting us ramped up and focused on hiring has taken so much time — building the “hiring funnel” is a big challenge and something that is even more important with the earliest hires in the organization.

(5) You are never done hiring. Getting a new candidate to fill a position doesn’t mean you are done. In fact, I feel that we’ll always be looking for more of the “right” people. That’s a bit of an overwhelming feeling, but it also is reassuring to think that each new hire helps us grow the business to allow us to hire more. We all see what we are trying to build and each new person on our bus is really helping us upgrade to a bigger bus. That means we are constantly talking to people who may join us tomorrow, in a month, in six months or next year. Hiring is about matching timing — our timing and the candidate’s timing. When those two align, we find a seat and get them on the bus.

People & Appature…

So, with that in mind, I’ll also end with a bit of an “ask”. If you are interested in learning more about Appature, let me know. We’ve got a few jobs currently posted on our site: http://www.appatureinc.com/careers. But I’ll tell you what, we’ll find ways to get the right people on our bus, give them all the tools to succeed, and help us hit it out of the park.

It’s really a cool feeling to be a part of the company and have a stake in its future. That means I care more than ever about getting those people to join us. I’m critical of people that won’t fit our culture and don’t have the right skills to help us succeed. But at the same time, I’m also willing to talk with dozens and dozens of people to find those right people that can help us succeed.

These days I’m all about building our hiring funnel (just like our sales team focuses on building a robust sales funnel). At the end of the day, building a great organization does come down to people… and devoting the resources to get those people on the bus is crucial.

So let me know you you think is awesome (even if it is you) and would love to see if we’ve got a spot on the bus…

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Your Help Requested: Please vote for Tech Move/Hire of the Year


My new company Appature was just nominated for the 2010 Tech Hire of the Year (surprisingly for hiring yours truly… who pulled the wool over their eyes!) Anyways, it would be some great PR for our startup company to win and so I’m reaching out to a few friends and family for some last minute votes. We are up against the guy who invented the Frappucino, so we’ve got our work cut out for us. So any help to take the two seconds and vote for us would be much appreciated.


PS – Thanks again! Up with Appature; Down with Frappuchinos! ;-)

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How to get the most out of Startup Weekend

How to get the most out of Startup Weekend


By Eric Koester
From Yalla Startup!

I

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Learn That Name on Gist: “I

Learn That Name on Gist: “I


Reposted from Gist.com: By Shane Mac

The funny thing about this video is that it actually happened in real life. The first day that I, Shane, met Jen at a coffee shop it actually played out exactly like the video shows. I probably wouldn

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Observations from Week 3 at Appature

Observations from Week 3 at Appature


Earlier this week, someone asked how was my first couple weeks at Appature. I had to stop and think for a second… you mean it hasn’t even been three weeks on the job yet? Wow.

It's like dog years...

But yes, it has in fact been three weeks since I first left the comfort of my big law firm job at Cooley and joined a scrappy software startup Appature. Given that I’ve been at this a few weeks now, have already traveled to the bay area, New Jersey and Philly, have interviewed more than a dozen potential new hires, have been asked questions I’d never thought about, have expanded the job description more than I anticipated, and have started preparing for pitches to new potential customers, I figured I can safely make a few initial observations. Here’s a few initial thoughts:

  • Developers are magical. So I knew our Appature Nexus product was cool and the customers and prospects I’ve spoken to really love it. But I’ve gotten the chance to see our team build the new release up close — I’m amazed to see what can be done with really smart people and a focus on what customers ask for. Truth is, these guys and gals are magical… it’s like they are making unicorns or something!
  • Startups are agile – really agile. I’ve been amazed at how quickly our team is able to identify a challenge, discuss options, and move on the best action. I enjoyed working with lawyers, but getting the firm to start using Twitter was a long process that involved a committee and a memo. It’s great to see a problem and fix it — immediately.
  • Sales drives the engine. While the development team makes something amazing, it still takes someone to go out person to person and sell it. And that process involves building a consensus with multiple stakeholders. You can try and build a product that “sells itself” but you still need someone to pick up a bag and get that product in front of the people that will buy. And that involves airplane flights, drop-of-the-hat meetings, and a passion for the product. It’s much harder than I ever realized.
  • Not everyone is cut out for a startup. As I’ve interviewed people, most everyone loves the allure of building the next Microsoft, Oracle or Google. It’s exciting to think about… but taking that from abstract concept to reality isn’t something for everyone. For example, in one interview, I was asked a question about the career path and mentorship program. Yeah, your career path is “we’ll figure it out” and our mentorship program is “hey, I’m working here too.”
  • I work more; not less. As a lawyer, I worked a lot and was certainly okay with that. My clients were busy and there was always stuff to do. Now, I work more and think about our challenges and opportunities all the time. I used to be able to put each client in a box and when I wasn’t working on their question or transaction, I didn’t think much about them. When the only client is your company, you think about it a lot… which is great.
  • It’s about people. Going from a 1,500 person law firm to a 20 person company may seem incredibly different. However, the truth of the matter is that in both cases it’s about people. The only real difference is we now have to be even more careful that there are appropriate personality and cultural fits. We just don’t have the leeway to make mistakes.

Three weeks in and I’m enjoying the hell out of it. Yes, there are challenges, but at a startup company those just seem like opportunities.

Who knows what week four will bring… ;-)

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