Commandments for Scaling Your Company



I have always been fascinated with understanding how a company can scale. When I first started my company Netlan, I was awed by Cheyenne Software, which went from 12 to 300 people in one year! This article by Molly Graham is an incredible “how to” about scaling a company.

Here are some of the lessons learned I would like to share:

  1. If you want to grow alongside your company, you have to give your responsibilities and duties away to move on to bigger and better things.  At a scaling company, giving away responsibility — giving away the part of the Lego tower you started building — is the only way to move on to building bigger and better things.
  2. Graham emphasizes that high performers who can adapt to the chaos and insecurity of adding new people is the key to a successful, fast-growing company.
  3. A great technique to get people through the changes and anxiety of scaling a company is helping them see the bigger opportunities that are in front of them.
  4. When a company cannot fit around a round table, things will get harder. The best thing to do is start writing the company’s core values, philosophies and mission. Over communicate who you are as a company and it will help answer questions about the organization.
  5. The first 100 people you hire will define the next 200. Early hires set the tone and groundwork of the company so it is important to weed out those that do not fit.

Some of the advice Graham offers in a simple checklist for founders eyeing rapid growth include:

  • Write down your vision. Make a list of the qualities you want your company to embody. Who do you want to be? How do you want it to feel to work there?
  • Communicate these things again and again and again. You can’t over-communicate these ideas.
  • Focus on hiring quality people rather than speed.
  • Fire people. Just do it!
  • Hire amazing leaders as early as you can and help them grow their capabilities as the company grows.
  • Prioritize principles over process.
  • Keep giving away your Legos! And tell everyone around you to do the same. It’s going to be okay.”

With my experience in growing my own company, I know how important Graham’s points are. You have to make sure your employees know that the emotional chaos they feel is normal. Communicate your company’s mission clearly so that all employees have a guideline to follow. Most importantly, constant communication between leaders and employees is necessary to keep the company strong and growing.


Read the full article here:

Send Less Emails and be More Productive


I’ve recently read an article about how overwhelming our inboxes can be and what Alexandra Samuel did to tackle this issue. Every morning, your day begins with an inbox number. A productive day meant you were able to get the inbox to zero by replying, reading or filing.

The inbox dominates your day but it should not. When you factor the countless of emails being read and sent, people spend dozens of hours a week on this. If your sense of success is dependent on inbox zero, it is time to make a change to this habit.

Alexandra started by making sure her top goal wasn’t an inbox of zero and was able to refocus on the tasks that are essential to her professional growth. Traditional emails comes along with the idea that they need to be read and responded in a timely manner but that only applies to a handful of messages. Most emails are sent as an FYI, a mass CC, or as a promotion.

New technologies have made it easier to get in touch and collaborating on documents easier. Tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote or Feedly help us share various resources digitally in a more time efficient manner. Using these platforms allow us to be more conversational and operate in real time while letting ideas unfold naturally. Instead of concentrating on the inbox, target your goals first and use collaboration tools to access the people and information you need to support each task.

With that being said, there will always be a place for e-mail. Using the email is appropriate when you need to make the initial first contact, confirming meetings and sharing links of documents that you put on the collaborative platforms.

With my experience, the number in your inbox does not reflect your productivity or success. Adopting new tools that help make sharing information with colleagues simpler and better organized is key. In doing so, you can clearly focus on the important tasks in hand to help grow yourself and business.

Read full article here

The Relationship Between Corporate Culture and Work Performance


Studies have shown that corporate culture has been strongly linked to company performance. In this article, we see how these two are exactly related. A positive corporate culture that engages and motivates employees will boost a company’s performance. On the other hand, performance alone does not create positive corporate culture.

Corporate culture can vary from one company to the next but it refers to the values, behaviors and beliefs that determine how managers and employees interact and handle situations.

In one particular study, companies that were rated highly by their employee saw higher profits at the end of the year. The payoff of a positive culture in the workplace does not happen immediately but the influence does carry on throughout the years. In another study, companies that are well off financially and score low on employee surveys, eventually become less profitable.

Experts in organizational change say it can be hard to do an overhaul on large corporations with multiple work places and a complex office dynamic.  A company’s culture can also vary across different departments. Even so, David Grossman, a Chicago-based leadership consultant explains it is important to strive for a better company culture because it provides the business a competitive edge.

In my experience when management and employees  interact with shared values and create a positive culture, the bottom line will more likely be positive and the company will have greater staying power in its marketplace.

Read full article here

The Apple Case Will Impact Your Future

Stuart Goldenberg

Apple is currently in a standoff with the United States government over unlocking an iPhone from one of the attackers in the  mass shooting in San Bernardino, California. The F.B.I. requested Apple to create an alternative operating system for the one phone that would allow them to break into the device. Apple argued that the government’s request could lead to a slippery slope in regards to privacy and civil liberties for all.

We are in an age now and forever where digital technology will continue to ask for more and more personal information and we, as consumers will have little or no choice to give in. Try downloading an app unless you agree to its terms and  conditions whatever they are.The  personal data our current smartphones contain will grow astronomically with new technology. I believe we are just now  at the tip of the iceberg, as we crave  more tech-savvy phones, better smart assistants, cars that drive themselves, and cameras, microphones and sensors that gather data and analyze our every action

With this ever  increasing amount of personal footprints we are and will continue to  leave when using digital technology, tech companies and users should consider  the consequences of the Apple case. Law officials believe that with a valid court order, the authorities  should never be locked out of a device. In this particular case, the FBI did have other ways for gathering information about the shooters, but for whatever reason were unable to maximize that effort, and so they turned to Apple to do the work for them.  If Apple is forced to break its own security to get into one  phone in this specific case, a precedent is set, and then the question is where and when can that precedent be used again and again, which begs the question as to whether we will ever have privacy again in our ever increasing digital world?

In my opinion, it is ever more important to hold our privacy to the highest regard  in a surveillance-enabled world.  New technologies will have access to more personal information than ever before. Companies that offer these devices should not be complicit in allowing  their products to violate our privacy.


Read full article here

Start-Ups Remain Believers Despite the Warning Signs


Silicon Valley has been disrupted. It appears that technology stocks are spiraling downward and some very heavily funded start-ups are already downsizing and some have even shut down. Yet with all this happening, many unicorn start-ups are dismissing the shifting economic environment claiming to make little or no changes.

Many start-ups are still operating at their usual pace keeping hiring and expansion plans in place. Some even argue that the downturn will have a positive effect, as less venture capital money should lead to fewer competitors and a less crowded market. The message that entrepreneurs should be more careful is often ignored.

On the other hand, the message of being more cautious is not completely lost, as some companies have made careful decisions to cut back and find ways to grow sustainably. Even so, many start-ups may still be over confident that they can make a compelling case on how their product or service will make an incredible impact in the market.

What is the lesson to be learned? As an entrepreneur, a business owner and a management consultant who has experienced the ups and downs of the marketplace many times, I can readily advise that if the warning signs are there, you should pay attention. Take the time to understand the market and make the adjustments that are necessary to keep your business thriving. Focus on making your product or service stand out in the saturated market. Make cuts where you need to, but make investments where you need to as well. The goal is to succeed despite and because of the economy.

Read Full Article Here