More businesses need to be like Chick-fil-A and In-n-Out. The menu is simple, the service is excellent, and the quality is high. Customers don’t have to learn a new menu each month, smile at apathetic employees, or brood over an incorrectly filled order. For those reasons, customers love them.
The majority of meetings are a waste of time. And in my opinion, one flavor of meeting that tops the charts in uselessness is the “status update” meeting. You know this meeting— the meeting where everyone gets together to share what they’ve been doing. It’s ironic that meetings like this exist because it gets in the way of people actually doing something productive.
Modern software companies follow a variety of common conventions to scale quickly and efficiently. For example, most software companies have a defined and documented approach for engineers when it comes to writing, reviewing, editing, and deploying new code. It’s important to settle on some standards and procedures for software development because it means a company can write code quicker, reduce mistakes that are inherent in writing code, and provide a better working environment for software developers. The end result is more and better products delivered to the customer, which in turn is good for the business.
Assuming you’ve determined the right balance of optimization and innovation from the above sections, we can now take a closer look at how to manage an optimization roadmap and pick the “right” experiments to run.
There’s a powerful concept known as “shipping the org chart”. It was brilliantly outlined by Steven Sinofsky in his piece on Functional vs Unit Organizations. The TL;DR is that the design of your org makes its way into your product. In other words, your product is significantly influenced by the nature of the organization you’ve designed within your company.
“Our industry does not respect tradition— it only respects innovation.” That’s what Satya Nadella wrote in his opening email to the company shortly after becoming Microsoft’s new CEO. It was a clear call to arms that Microsoft needed to reignite innovation in order to scale the company after roughly 15 years of stagnation.
Each year, hundreds of millions of kids from around the world are introduced to sports. I was one of them starting back in 1988. My life was designed around sports starting at the age of six and continued, without interruption, until I took off to college when I was 18. This level of involvement meant that sports was more than a game I played on nights and weekends.
When a startup has enough momentum to raise enough capital ($15–20M in the bank), they eventually reach a phase in their journey where they need to hire and onboard their first executives and build an executive team. That’s usually when they have tens of millions in capital and the founder needs to offload responsibilities to functional experts, such as a VP of Product, Engineering, Operations, Sales, and so on.