How to Operate

Lecture 14: How to Operate

Link: How to Start a Startup

(You can find notes to the other lectures here.) 


Keith Rabois (@rabois)

People are irrational.

Building a company is taking all of the irrational people you know and putting them in one building and living with them for twelve hours a day at least.

What you’re doing when you’re building a company is building an engine.

Heroic effort is necessary to keep (the company) together.
Warren Buffett says, “Build a company idiots could run because eventually they will.”

Your job as a manager it to maximize the output of your organization and the organizations around you.

When measuring people focus on the output and not the input.

At first when you start a company everything is going to feel like a mess.

An editor is the best metaphor for your job.

You can change the world in a hundred and forty characters.

Force yourself to simplify everything you do.

Every step you eliminate you can improve performance by 30% to 50%.

The people that work for you should generally be coming up with their own initiatives.

Your goal over time is to use less red ink every day.

The way to get out of doing most of the work is delegating.

Book: High Output Management

Any executive should not have one management style. Your management style should be dedicated by the employee.

When there is low consequences you should absolutely delegate.

What you want to do with every single employee every single day is expand the scope of their responsibilities until it breaks.

Always track the individual slope of an employee and the company’s growth rate.

Most people will solve problems they understand how to solve.

Give people one thing to prioritize.

Build a dashboard.

Create notes for every meeting and send them to the entire company.

You want to look for the anomalies. You don’t want to look for the expected behaviour.

If everybody on the team executes exactly up to the same standard of performance you will have an organization that performs at the best possible level.

What food you serve people matters more than you might guess.

The office environment that people live in and work in everyday dictates your culture, how you make decisions, and how hard people are going to work.

You can’t build a company without a lot of effort. You lead by example.

You want to give people the best possible tools to do the best possible job.

You must have your own office. Don’t do shared office spaces.

Recruits walk into your office and can tell a lot about your culture instantly.

Some things you have to learn by doing.

Treat customer support like a product.

You should have a one-on-one roughly every two weeks (with your employees).

The one-on-one is mostly for the benefit of the employee.

You’re trying to match resources and inputs against priorities.

The key to culture is that it is a framework for making decisions.