Ten + one ways to grievously damage your high-growth tech startup, and Silicon Valley in the process:

  1. Only hire, and only train/motivate/incent your managers to hire — don’t optimize efficiency, don’t do performance management, don’t fire.
  2. Founders, sell too much of your own personal stock too quickly, alienating your employees and questioning your long-term commitment.
  3. Let private stock sales by employees get out of hand: create hit-and-run culture and take on burdens of being public before going public.
  4. Dilute the s*** out of cap table: be sloppy and undisciplined w/stock grants to early employees, plant morale land mine for later employees.
  5. Maximize absolute valuation of each growth round: make later rounds harder and harder to achieve, until you trigger a disastrous down round.
  6. Let non-SV investors suck you into terrible structural terms on growth rounds: guarantee massive trauma if anything goes slightly wrong.
  7. Go public too soon, before you’re a fortress, before you can withstand all the assaults: ending in stock price death spiral and train wreck.
  8. Pour huge money into overly glorious new headquarters, signaling to employees “we’ve made it, we’re amazing”, then repeat two years later.
  9. Confuse conference circuit and party scene with actual work. Encourage alcohol and drugs, party culture in company, value ballers over nerds.
  10. Refuse to take HR seriously: allow terrible internal manager and employee behavior to catalyze into catastrophic ethical and legal crisis.
  11. And the one that will actually kill you: Assume more cash is always available at higher and higher valuations, forever.

Source: Tweets – 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11


Business, Startups

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