Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Startup advice from Leo Speigel.

Leo Spiegel is a managing partner with Mission Ventures, a hi-tech venture capital firm. He’s been president of Digital Island, and CEO of Sandpiper Networks. He’s also a member of Dean’s Advisory Council of the Rady School of Management at UCSD. Leo says that fast growth startup companies need to pay particular attention to the following top ten issues:

1. Hire great people fast and hire executive management early. Use every possible opportunity and media to find them and when you do, pull the trigger quickly. However, make sure they’ll mesh with the rest of the team and fit in with what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. Be well funded. It doesn’t matter what percentage of the company you own - what matters is how big the pile of money is. Object Design used strategic alliances and venture financing to build its market capitalization to $500 million. Spiegel says, "We figured we'd rather own 20% of $500 million than 80% of $50 million."

3. Purposefully create a company culture that values empowerment, delegation and self-direction.

4. Employees are carbon-based units, not machines. Make each one a star.

5. Understand your own personal weaknesses and have great advisers.

6. Buzz is king - there’s a direct correlation between creating buzz and creating shareholder value. To generate buzz, you need advocates who will validate what you’re saying. And you need to capitalize on news events - use them to get your message out to the right place at the right time. Train your managers to broadcast the right message. Have them look like leaders. Google is a brand and Google is buzz - together, they make the world believe.

7. Know your target market and watch all your competitors. Be really, really aware.

8. Find the boulders. On any given day, there are too many things to do - so prioritize. Push like hell to move the biggest boulders up the hill every single day.

9. Work hard, have a “can do” attitude and be passionate. Make sure that making the company successful is all you think about at work every day. You lead by example – your passion rubs off on others.

10. Focus on keeping a balance between your personal and your private life. Work should only be a part of your life.

No comments: