October 22, 2015

Blitzscaling From A Family To A Tribe

Assignment #2 for CS18C. See Assignment #1 for details.

In the business start up context, a tribe is a group of families that are motivated by  a vision and  common goal. The time has come for you to add more members to your business and user community  to make it a tribe.Big Beyond 6380

A few topics resonated with me and one in particular was  the two types of teams. Allen Blue defines these  as team 1, which helps scale, and team 2, which helps team 1 scale. This makes sense to me as I have always categorized people as pieces of the engine or grease for the engine to help it move faster. Our team 2  has been responsible for assisting and systemizing HR, which many of the instructors seem to also discuss.

HR and recruiting is something we felt needed attention in order to scale and it seems to be helping greatly in finding talent and on-boarding them while minimizing the learning curve. I will say it was surprising to hear Eric Schmidt say that it is best to hire for passion and strategy over experience at this stage. I always wondered if that was the case but his detailed story of how Google handled its hiring gave real insight into what was one of the variables of their success. I do understand the course disclaimer that there is no cookie cutter solution to blitzscaling. We are told to think about these lessons as frameworks but I do believe this is something we will need to consider in our next round of hiring at my company.

During interviews we do attempt to analyze how candidates react to our vision and how  well we can sell them the dream. This was something that was brought up by a few of the instructors. I have noticed when presenting that if I only talk about pragmatic execution, it absorbs a lot of the energy. I always have to remind myself to sell the vision and get everyone excited about what we are doing. Vision and dedication is important, not just for new employees, but also for building a user community. Users that love us is a standard metric we use in our dashboard, and it has been great in helping with company energy.

Also I found that the right kind of dashboard metrics for each department is pivotal. Overall we have general metrics that the company looks at together as a whole, but our internal portal reports KPIs specific for management, as well as,  each team and their goals/objectives. Mariam Naficy mentioned that she loves data and I can definitely relate to that, however it was enlightening to understand the importance of having a supplier within the ecospace. Even though we do not have a business dealing directly as a middleman or in a market, like Uber or Minted, it makes sense to give attention to suppliers. The last thing you want is someone  unable to find a  cab nearby or not enough designs to purchase from.

Overall the take-away for me was don’t forget your users or product, energize employees with your vision, create metrics and systems for your new staff. I do think that I have made the mistake of building systems that are too thorough, so I have to remember to make sure they are enough to scale. Growth always trumps procedures so don’t let creating systems suck up the energy. Keep your tribe committed even if there are still fires.