The Most Common Mistakes Made By Startups Throughout The Hiring Process

In the venture capital industry, we talk a lot about the importance of the founding team. But we might underestimate, especially in the early stages, something that might be as important as their drive, soft skills and strategic sophistication: their ability to recruit an A-class team. So I wondered, what are the best practices out there? I knew that I couldn’t find the golden formula, … [ Read more ]

10 Hiring Hacks For Nailing Culture Fit From New York’s Top Tech Recruiters

Each month General Catalyst brings together leading technologists from New York’s top startups for a brainstorming session on an industry challenge or theme. Through an exchange of best practices, our goal is to move the collective tech ecosystem forward. This month, we focus on company culture. We hosted Chief People Officers and recruiting leads from New York’s pioneering startups and here are some of the … [ Read more ]

The Cognitive Distortions of Founders

Cognitive behavior theory says automatic thoughts color and distort our observations, our judgments, and our actions. These automatic thoughts come to mind without even trying. They reflect deep beliefs about self, past experiences, and expectations for the future, and they have a profound impact on judgment and behavior. I’ve met thousands of founders over the last decade or so and I think many of them … [ Read more ]

5 Cheap, Old-School Hacks for Building Company Culture

Building culture doesn’t always have to entail a huge cost or commitment. In fact, some of the most powerful culture-building tools are essentially DIY hacks. Here’s a look at some of the most effective tools Hootsuite has found over the years.

8 Principles of Great Leadership

As a founder, learning how to launch your startup is incredibly important. But as your project grows, you will have more and more people following your lead. Many founders are inexperienced at the art of leadership and lack the management principles necessary to build an enduring company. History ー even the history of Silicon Valley ー furnishes many illustrations of skillful leadership and of principles … [ Read more ]

Effective Value Messaging: The Definitive Guide

Companies do not pay enough attention to strategic messaging. Message effectiveness is not easy to track and to report on. This isn’t an A/B test with which you can get exact results in a matter of days, if not hours. The effects of great messaging and story comes later and usually results in shorter sales cycles. When you tell a consistent story and communicate a … [ Read more ]

How To Improve Content Distribution Strategy

Creating great content is just one piece of the puzzle of a successful content marketing strategy and even an amazing content doesn’t guarantee huge audience. Content distribution is typically an afterthought for many marketing teams. It feels like by the time teams have a solid piece of advice to share with their target audience, they’ve already forgotten about distribution. But posting on your blog and … [ Read more ]

How To Track Customer Acquisitions: Customer Lifecycle, Sales Funnel, and Content Strategy

This article will walk you through the customer acquisition funnel. The primary goal is to help you design, analyze, and optimize your customer acquisition process. The secondary goal is to present different perspectives on moving customers through the lifecycle stages and to show how marketing, sales, and customer success teams should collaborate and where each team’s responsibilities lay. Hopefully, everyone will find at least one … [ Read more ]

Robert McKee

… what attracts human attention is change. […] if the temperature around you changes, if the phone rings — that gets your attention. The way in which a story begins is a starting event that creates a moment of change.

All the Public Startup Pitch Decks in One Place

Andy Sparks and Joshua Levy have assembled a list of reference pitch decks for founders to view when building their own. Some notable inclusions: YouTube, LinkedIn, Mint, BuzzFeed, AirBnB, Tinder, Foursquare, Moz, and Buffer.

Ben Horowitz

Every time your company gives someone a promotion, everyone at that person’s organizational level evaluates the promotion and judges whether merit or political favors yielded it.

Steven Sinofsky

Business is a social science which leads to lots of crazy advice that arises from doing whatever seems to be working at a given moment for a visible and successful company. […] Conversely, if something isn’t going well then it won’t be long before the collective wisdom concludes that you need to go with the other end-point of the pendulum.

Steven Sinofsky

If there is one thing that consistently amazes me it is that org changes are made without clearly and deliberately identifying what problems will get solved by the new structure, new leaders, and new resource allocation. In fact, most every org change I ever saw that didn’t work started off not with a problem statement but with a goal of putting a certain person in … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

When you create an org chart you are creating your product — the seams in the org get reflected in the product; the depth of feature work gets reflected in resource allocation; the coordination across job functions gets reflected by the leaders you choose, and so on.

Steven Sinofsky

In practice, there are few hard and fast facts that govern the sociology of organizations. I would go as far as to say that anything can be made to work for any structure. In fact, since there is no optimal or perfect organizational structure (if there was, then this post would be unnecessary) then the most important thing is to know the weaknesses of your … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

As was well-documented back around 2006, things had not been going well in developing the next release of Windows and so naturally one might ask if the organization caused the problem, if there was just a leadership/management problem, or the problem was in some process that could be addressed. That is always the issue with an org-centric view of execution problems. Is it the physical … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

[Mike Maples] spent many years watching people fight to move expenses to other teams, claim revenue for their own team, or even fight against the price of shared corporate services. This “allocation” dynamic is extreme “finance gymnastics” that grows exponentially complex as the business cross-dependencies grow. Ultimately the meaning of P&Ls derived from allocations becomes the undoing of most rational thought in an organization — hiring, investing, … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

Going back to the history of accounting, a P&L is a tool used by executives to inform decisions around resource and capital allocation, pricing, etc. In a large organization, it is very difficult to assign revenue and costs to a specific unit within a company and even more difficult to offer true span of control or accountability to a unit leader. The creation of P&Ls … [ Read more ]

Steven Sinofsky

By far the biggest failure risk of a unit org is that the unit is created to solve a problem rather than create a business. While problems deserve attention, the unit structure implies much more than a technology or GTM problem but a focus on all 4 P’s of bringing something to market. Invariably, a unit that is a problem will struggle to “define itself” … [ Read more ]