Monday, November 12, 2007

Turning the World Upside Down

Ever wondered what the world looks like if were living on the south pole? You'd probably have more respect for the folks down unda....

Thursday, November 08, 2007

How not to Die (Paul Graham)


Another way of saying that is that half of you are going to die. Phrased that way, it doesn't sound good at all. In fact, it's kind of weird when you think about it, because our definition of success is that the founders get rich. If half the startups we fund succeed, then half of you are going to get rich and the other half are going to get nothing.

If you can just avoid dying, you get rich. That sounds like a joke, but it's actually a pretty good description of what happens in a typical startup. It certainly describes what happened in Viaweb. We avoided dying till we got rich.

When startups die, the official cause of death is always either running out of money or a critical founder bailing. Often the two occur simultaneously. But I think the underlying cause is usually that they've become demoralized. You rarely hear of a startup that's working around the clock doing deals and pumping out new features, and dies because they can't pay their bills and their ISP unplugs their server.

Startups rarely die in mid keystroke. So keep typing!
Another feeling that seems alarming but is in fact normal in a startup is the feeling that what you're doing isn't working. The reason you can expect to feel this is that what you do probably won't work. Startups almost never get it right the first time. Much more commonly you launch something, and no one cares. Don't assume when this happens that you've failed. That's normal for startups. But don't sit around doing nothing. Iterate.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Larry Lessig's talk at the TED conference

Friday, November 02, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong

I always wondered what Louis Armstrong's expression would be when he's singing this song...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Spurring Value Creation in IT Services

Excellent article by McKinsey - an interview with Satyam's Chairman (reg. required).

On Org Design:
...traditional hierarchical models will not be effective in a knowledge industry. Rather than focusing the whole business on delivering value in one way, as you might see in a textile mill, at Satyam value was being delivered in many different ways, depending on the services our clients needed. To cater to these differences, we created an organizational design that distributed leadership more uniformly. Ownership of results shifted to leaders who were closest to the relevant stakeholders, which could be their colleagues, investors, clients, or even society generally.

On Value Creation:
... recognition that value creation follows a similar structure irrespective of industry, type of function, or level within an organization. For that matter, philanthropic undertakings also reflect the same value-creating structure. In that sense it is analogous to fractals in science and mathematics. Not to get too esoteric; fractals are self-replicating constructs that become increasingly small, like the sections of a seashell or the buds in a stalk of broccoli. While they are similar, they are not necessarily identical. You can look at a business in the same way and try to find a pattern for value creation, an essential DNA that repeats itself in every area and at every level.
On Leadership:
We consider ourselves in the business of building leaders. The most effective way of realizing our goals and objectives is to grow leaders faster than the competition. Taking a non-India-centric view in attracting leaders from all over the globe and growing existing leaders through focused leadership-development programs is paramount to our success.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Dilbert? You gotta be kidding me

Took a look at my site logs and found that I'm #1 on Google for "Dilbert Product Management". Woo-hoo... but wait... why are so many people searching for Dilbert-ian product management?

Is it because market realities are disconnected with the product management process? and all cries for clarity is impossible to determine such as defining contribution margin of a single product in a bundled sale? Or endless use case writing that the developers never use? Hmm.