Keith Rabois, the executive with the Midas touch is present to present the lecture on How To Operate ! Before we begin let us assume you have hired a bunch of relentlessly resourceful people, you have built a product that at least some people love, hopefully raised some capital, and now you are trying to build a company. You have been forging a product and now you are forging a company.
“Building a company is basically like taking all the irrational people you know putting them in one building, and then living with them twelve hours a day at least. It’s very challenging. Now there are some techniques for coping with that some people get good at it, some people don’t. But that’s really what operating is all about.”
Operations fundamentally forms the very core of startups, and for effecting functioning you need strong operational skills. Especially to be a startup superstar, you need to know the basic operations of every function in your field, every relevant field and have a strong skill set to fulfill the operations in your key responsibility area.
Related Read: How To Be A Great Founder – How To Start A Startup !
The best possible metaphor to explain the role of operations executive in a startup is to compare it with an editor’s role. Basically eliminating things, the biggest task of an editor is to simplify, simplify, simplify and that usually means omitting things.
- The first thing an editor does is eliminating things, it is to simplify, simplify, simplify and that usually means omitting things. Don’t accept the excuse of complexity. You can change the world in 140 characters, so force yourself to simply every initiative, every product, every marketing, everything you do.
- Second thing editors do, is they ask you clarifying questions. . We try to narrow down to, what are the one two three four things that matter most to this company? And only focus on those things. So it allows us to be more decisive and we can make decisions rapidly. It allows us not to distract you from your day job which is actually building a company
- The next thing you do is you allocate resources. The people who work with you, generally, should be coming up with their own initiatives. So one way of measuring how well you are doing at communicating or talking to your colleagues about what’s important and what’s not, about why some things are important and why some things are not.
- The other thing that is very important that actually isn’t as intuitive to a lot of people, is the job of an editor is to ensure consistent voice. Ideally, your company should feel, on your website, on PR releases, on your packaging if it’s a physical product, anywhere on your recruiting pages it should feel like it was written by one person.
- Next complicated topic is delegating. So just like the other metaphor on editing is writers do most of the work in the world, editors are not writing most of the content in any publication. So that is true of your company, you shouldn’t be doing most of the work. And the way you get out of most of the work, is you delegate. Now the problem with delegating is that you are actually responsible for everything.
- Delegating vs doing it yourself. You basically sort your own level of conviction about a decision on a grate, extremely high or extremely low. There’s times when you know something is a mistake and there’s times when you wouldn’t really do it that way but you have no idea whether it’s the right or wrong answer. And then there is a consequence dimension.
For more interesting analogies and actual examples from successful startups (now most of them are unicorns); Check out the video !
Wanna know how to Manage ? Stay tuned for next week, until then check out How To Start A Startup !
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