Fred Wilson had an interesting post today on action oriented entrepreneurs/ leaders. While we don’t agree 100%, there are some interesting teasers to think about not only for the companies we study but also for our own. At IP, we have people with diverse backgrounds and some have worked recently at Internet start-ups, and we’ve found that their experience helps us in ways similar to what the post describes (let’s forget for one second that IP itself was a “first-in-Brazil” start-up 21 years ago…). Go inside to see two of our favorite excerpts and our thoughts on the subject.
“Dick Costolo, co-founder of FeedBurner and now COO of Twitter, describes a startup as the process of going down lots of dark alleys only to find that they are dead ends. Dick describes the art of a successful startup as figuring out they are dead ends quickly and trying another and another until you find the one paved with gold. It’s another form of the classic direct marketing technique of test, measure, test, measure, test, measure.“ (our emphasis).
“(…) the benefits of making a strong hire vastly outweigh the costs of making a bad hire. Strong hires can lift an entire organization almost single handedly, especially when you are a small company. Bad hires can be toxic, but not if you recognize them quickly and move them out.”
When searching for more on this subject, we came across a small but useful blog post called Are you action oriented? in the Journal of a Serial Entrepreneur blog. The balance they propose between pondering/ planning and actually executing is tough to achieve (see the excerpt below), but the “sense of urgency” is key. The situation one wants to get to is to have a team composed of people with diverse backgrounds and complementary skills – and personalities – combined with carefully-planned incentives that align individuals and teams with the company’s vision. Easier said than done, but the closer you get to this the better.
Excerpt: “There will always be some people on a team who are constantly coming up with ideas, different scenarios and ways to take the team forward. These are great people to have on a team and are an amazing resource to motivate and inspire other team members. There is a flip side to this coin as well, if this individual does all the talking, without delivering, it can be a serious issue. (…) If this happens continuously, rather than being a source of motivation, this converts into a source of frustration for the rest of the team. (…) There needs to be a sense of urgency for execution, rather than prolonged deliberation.”