In start-ups that are not tech companies, most of this advice still applies. Substitute “operations” for “engineering” and think of “product” as either a good or a service and you have an idea of best practice. We love the recommendation to keep the structure flat in order to foster collaboration. In reference to Metcalfe’s law and its application to structure, keep in mind that the strength is in connectivity. Structure is but a part of culture that fosters connectivity. In short, think about the impact your structure has on nurturing collaboration and creativity in order to have greater potential for success!

ex post facto

Organizational structure is challenging. Public companies struggle with it as much as startups do. When I was at Google, I was charged with calculating PM/Engineer ratios by team as part of the research into our company structure. When startups ask me when they should hire a PM or what the span of control should be for a sales team, I share this experience.

First, I’ll share two general observations: flatter reporting structures are better and smaller teams are better. These two conclusions have the same root: Metcalfe’s law. The fewer people within a team, the less communication overhead is required to keep everyone on the same page.

Second, a company has one goal but leverages 4 teams to achieve that goal: engineering, marketing, product and sales.  In well run companies, these teams should exert tension on each other. Sales advocates the path to short term revenue growth. Product should advocate…

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Empathy is another key word in the quote. The entrepreneur who has it connects deeply with customers, employees, and investors.

ex post facto

Art is an expression of an individual’s will to society at large.

Design, on the other hand, is not self-expression. Instead it originates in society. The essence of design lies in the process of discovering a problem shared by many people and trying to solve it. Because the root of the problem is within society, everyone can understand plans for solutions and processes for solving the problem, in addition to being able to see the problem from the designer’s perspective. Design is appealing because the process creates inspiration that is engendered by this empathy…

Kenya Hara, Designing Design

Startups aren’t art. They are design. The best products evoke empathy. Users think, “Wow, someone understands my problem and how best to solve it.”

Take the bold sentence above and change one word: The essence of a startup lies in the process of discovering a problem shared by many people and trying to…

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More focus on the components of success that…

More focus on the components of success that are critical to start-ups and their stakeholders would make all organizations more competitive.

Dr. Diane Hamilton's Blog

Wal-Mart recently inspired an unusual entrepreneurial competition. Inventors could submit product ideas, with the hope of having their product available on the stores’ shelves.  Wal-Mart is not the first company to recognize the importance of fostering creativity in unusual ways. In college-level innovation and entrepreneurship courses, one of the things students learn is that organizations place a high value on entrepreneurial thinking.

Wal-Mart initially created the entrepreneurial contest  to create buzz in social media.  The popularity of the promotion led to some creative ideas by inventors who sought attention for their creations. The Wall Street Journal reported that the winner would have the opportunity to sell on Wal-Mart.com as well as in the physical stores.

The idea of organizations recognizing the importance of entrepreneurial talents is becoming more popular.  Check out some of the following articles that demonstrate the value of entrepreneurship in the modern workplac

  1. Forbes: A…

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