Decisions
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
2d ago
Happy Leap Day! One of the better books I’ve read in the last 6 months is James Clear’s Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, which provides a great framework around habits. It’s worth a read, whether you’re talking about business habits/routines or personal ones. This isn’t a book review, but quickly while I have you – here’s a summary of his “laws”: HOW TO CREATE A GOOD HABIT The 1st Law: Make It Obvious The 2nd Law:Make It Attractive The 3rd Law: Make It Easy The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying HOW TO BREAK A BAD HABIT Inversion of the 1st Law: Make ..read more
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Book Short: Less is More
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
2w ago
Subtract: The Untapped Science of Less, by Leidy Klotz is a great read, and in concert with the philosophy of the book, this will be a short blog post. The book’s basic premise is that less is more, addition by subtraction. The author’s examples range from the genius of the Strider Bike (bike without pedals) that allows 2-year olds to ride bikes to the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Many people don’t remember that that road used to be called the Embarcaro Freeway, a massive, ugly, two-tiered structure that blocked out the views and waterfront, and that the opportunity to tear down the whole thi ..read more
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The Dowry
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
1M ago
Here’s one to keep in mind – we did this a few times at Return Path, and I was just reminded of it when I was coaching another founder who is doing the same thing right now. Sometimes when you’re doing a strategic acquisition and it’s an all-stock deal, you can insist as a term of the acquisition that the target company’s investors invest more capital into your company. That’s right, not only do you not have to put cash OUT for the deal, you’re getting additional cash IN. Think of it as a contemporary corporate version of the dowry. Why would the cap table of the target company agree to this ..read more
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Signs your CBDO isn’t scaling
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
1M ago
(This is the third post in the series… The first one When to Hire your first CBDO is here, and What does Great Look Like in a CBDO is here). The metrics for understanding whether or not your CBDO is scaling differs from other functions like Sales, People Ops, Customer Service, and Finance because throughout the scaling process the CBDO team is likely to be small. So how do you know if your CBDO is scaling if they’re essentially the same size regardless of what the rest of your company is doing? I have found that CBDOs who aren’t scaling well past the startup stage are the ones who ty ..read more
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Fighting Confirmation Bias
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
1M ago
I was mentoring a first time founder the other day who asked me, “How do you know what advice to follow and what advice not to follow?” (For the record, it’s a little ”meta” to answer that question!). I talked about looking for patterns and common themes in the advice from others and exercising judgment about how to pick and choose from competing pieces of advice. But then he asked me how I fight confirmation bias when I’m exercising judgment and incoming advice. Fighting confirmation bias is both incredibly important and incredibly difficult, and I’d never articulated my thoughts on that befo ..read more
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Family vs. Team?
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
2M ago
I used to describe our culture and our employees and our leaders at Return Path as a family. That was a mistake. It was just plain wrong. It served us well in some respects, but it bit us in the ass on others. Great groupings of people at work are teams, not families. You can have a highly functional family. But you don’t have high performing families. Work teams need to be high performing. Here’s what I mean. The family metaphor worked well at Return Path around the principles of caring for people and lifting each other up. Those elements of a culture are absolutely critical. I don’t regret t ..read more
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When it’s Time to Hire Your First Chief Business Development Officer
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
2M ago
(Post 1 of 4 in the series of Scaling CPDO’s). For most startups the idea of hiring a CBDO is a pipedream, it’s a role that only global corporations have, right? After all, strategic partnerships and M&A are rare events for a startup and can be handled by the founder/CEO, or potentially by someone in Sales.  If a startup is partner or channel heavy, those areas may be the focus of the Sales team in general.  Or, if there is sporadic M&A activity that can be handled by external advisors or bankers. So how do you know when it’s time to hire your first CBDO? You know it’s time t ..read more
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Camera On, Mic On
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
2M ago
At my last company, we used to occasionally attend a giant meeting at one of the large ISPs — Microsoft, Yahoo, and the like — and it always annoyed me to be presenting to or engaging in a discussion with a room full of a dozen people and having all of them there with their laptops open, clearly distracted and doing other work. I’m increasingly finding annoyance with the Zoom equivalent, which is being in a meeting or attending a presentation, but turning off your mic and camera. It’s impossible to know as the person leading the meeting or speaking if you’re actually there. And if you’re there ..read more
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You’ve Seen One, You’ve Seen One
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
3M ago
Like all CEOs and VCs, I’m a big believer in the power of pattern matching. I just wrote a whole blog post about the limits of pattern matching after hearing the quote above at a board meeting recently. But then a little alarm rang in the back of my head, and realized that I wrote about the value and limitations of pattern matching here years ago with an even better quote from my father-in-law: When you hear hoof beats, it’s probably horses. But you never know when it might be a zebra. So rather that rewrite that entire post, I thought I’d just add onto it a bit here with a current example i ..read more
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Why we use inferior software products
The Startup CEO
by Matt Blumberg
3M ago
We all interact with dozens of software products every day. Even people who aren’t in tech or don’t have a job that has them staring at a screen all day are constantly using software. I’ve noticed over time that people, myself included, end up using some god-awful pieces of software with terrible design and user experiences and in many cases lesser functionality than competitors. How can this be?  Isn’t software cheap and ubiquitous at this point?  What’s the excuse for poor UX? Here are four themes I’ve noticed that cause people to use inferior software products.  I am sure the ..read more
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