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MIT IDM Lessons Learned

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MIT IDM Lessons Learned

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In this presentation, created for MIT's Integrated Design & Management (IDM) program, I cover some of my lessons learned from past jobs.

Topics include startups, entrepreneurship, recruiting / team-building, a little bit of angel investing and advisory, and a couple of case studies.

In this presentation, created for MIT's Integrated Design & Management (IDM) program, I cover some of my lessons learned from past jobs.

Topics include startups, entrepreneurship, recruiting / team-building, a little bit of angel investing and advisory, and a couple of case studies.

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MIT IDM Lessons Learned

  1. 1. PRINCIPLES OF INTEGRATED DESIGN Yoav Shapira / May 2016
  2. 2. WHAT HAVE I DONE?!? Yoav Shapira / May 2016
  3. 3. OBLIGATORY BACKGROUND • Software engineer -> product + eng -> company builder • Started in Big Consulting, then medium- size pharma • Serial entrepreneur: built and ran product/ engineering @CarGurus, @HubSpot, @Happier, @Jana • Advisor / investor in numerous companies • Occasional slow runner, weird sports enthusiast • Get in touch: www.YoavShapira.com
  4. 4. PLEASE INTERRUPT. I don’t like hearing myself talk.
  5. 5. STARTUP1, DAY 1 • Imagine a nice late winter morning in the Harvard Square Starbucks • Me:“I’m excited, let’s go to the office!” • CEO:“Great idea! We need an office! Where would you like to work?”
  6. 6. CLEAN CANVAS • I quickly learned about commercial real estate, leases, insurance. • Bought and personally assembled a handful of IKEA desks. • I don’t like assembling furniture. But I like starting companies from scratch because… • You create the culture, the values, the norms from day 1. • These matter more than product or go-to-market.They are your company.
  7. 7. SCRAPPINESS • A trait that I (and others) value highly. • Equally important whether hiring colleagues or investing in founding teams. • Scrappy does the best s/he can with limited resources (it’s a startup) without complaining. • At scale, sometimes scrappy needs a new challenge or a replacement.This is a good problem to have. • With an MIT (or similar) degree, you may need to prove you’re scrappy (still).
  8. 8. SUSTAINABLE ADVANTAGES • Remember that nearly anything about a product can be copied, often quickly. • Code, user interfaces are competitive advantages, maybe, but usually not sustainable. • Speed of learning / iteration, however, is sustainable.
  9. 9. SPEED WINS • Construct your culture, including every process, to minimize time through the loop. • Learn about user research, split testing, etc, but also look hard at internal processes. • Meetings, especially, are insidious time sucks.
  10. 10. WORTHTHEIR OWN SLIDE • Time is the only true zero-sum game. You can’t “grow the pie.” • Be ruthless about it, but clear, consistent. • Can you share knowledge asynchronously, e.g. via a wiki? • Note: I’m talking about regular / recurring meetings.Ad-hoc time at a whiteboard / similar is excellent, encouraged. • “Long twitch” vs “slow twitch” time
  11. 11. “I AM NOT A DESIGNER” • “I’m not a designer because I can’t draw anything.” That’s overly simplistic, naive. • Meetings, for instance, are designing people’s time, calendars, schedule. • How do you react to a late Friday evening or early Monday morning meeting invitation? • You will all be designing things at a startup: products, user experiences, etc. • Just that the “user” might be a colleague, a job candidate, an external partner…
  12. 12. LEARNTHE CRAFT • Spend time chatting with actual designers and other specialists. • Shadowing (or actual apprenticeship!) is under-rated in general. • Take a support call, try to sell, do a user interview, build a screen, run a web split test, buy an ad… • You don’t need to master the skill. Specialists still have value. But know enough to be credible, hire.
  13. 13. “LEVEL 5 LEADERSHIP” • Jim Collins “Good to Great” concept. Maybe best part of book. (Much has aged poorly.) • Read the whole definition, In particular: • Set the target at building an enduring, world-class company • When giving credit, look outside the window; when blaming, look in the mirror.
  14. 14. FINDYOURTEAMMATES • I joined CarGurus and HubSpot for people, not ideas. • I’m OK with cars, OK with marketing people like, but neither was a passion or life-long interest • I joined Happier and Jana for missions more than people. • Missions don’t have bad days, but companies and people do. • If I had to pick one, it’s people first.
  15. 15. TYPE II FUN? • Every single startup has many days where it feels like it’s going to die. • Some have wildly positive days, too. • The rare successful one is a guaranteed rollercoaster. • Don’t look for stability. • Don’t do it because it’s this decade’s sexy job.
  16. 16. DATA FOR DEBATE, SUNSHINE
  17. 17. HIRING • Everyone’s job & potential sustainable competitive advantage. • Here, too, speed wins: pick target # total days per candidate, make it happen. • Again data: track your funnel meticulously, split-test sources, ads. • It’s hard, takes a long time. • Religion, Pied Piper, etc.
  18. 18. RIDINGTHE ROCKETSHIP • If you’re lucky and the company is growing, things will break often. • Separate “high quality” or “good” problems from bad ones. • Question conventional wisdom. Even old problems can be fixed in new ways. • “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
  19. 19. SMALL,AUTONOMOUSTEAMS • As small and autonomous as possible, so they can move forward unhindered. • Avoid inter-team dependencies as much as you can.They shackle everyone. • Don’t just have a designer, engineer, and “business person.” • Include whoever is generating revenue (e.g. sales), whoever is marketing, whoever is supporting the product, etc. • At scale: Spotify’s squads maybe? • Avoid “conventional” shared service teams
  20. 20. AUTONOMY, MASTERY, PURPOSE • Watch Daniel Pink’sTEDTalk or short video. • This is the key to hiring and retaining the best people. • Design your organization accordingly, be it a team, department, division, or entire company. • Example: OKRs, budgets
  21. 21. SMALL, QUICK STEPS • Ship (software, processes, and anything else you can) all the time. • Continuous Delivery is magic. • Forces the entire organization to have efficient processes and culture.
  22. 22. PAY IT FORWARD • The entrepreneurial community is huge, active, and welcoming. Reach out! • Help people however you can. It takes time, and it’s not always fun, but they remember. • It’s also a small world. Reputation / karma matters.
  23. 23. FINALLY: BETRUETO YOURSELF • Do what it takes to sleep well at night: a clear conscience is key. • Don’t compromise on your values, be they personal or professional. • When you do this consistently, you have zero regrets. • This sounds cheesy, but it’s been crucial to me.
  24. 24. QUIKFORCE (THANKS @KEVIN) • “Hiring movers has never been easier.” • Simple site + app to describe your move, book movers quickly and easily. • Rapid B2C growth, now receive B2B interest from corporate movers. • Thoughts?
  25. 25. JANA (THANKS @KEVIN) • A current challenges: portal vs constellation. • Jana’s mission is to make the internet free for the next billion. • Users in emerging markets, e.g. India, with (low end) smartphones. • Browsing, messaging, photos, apps: make free in one place? • “Chinese Mobile App UITrends”

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