When Walt Disney was working on Snow White, the first full length animated movie, he asked his staff to keep thinking of ways they could make it even better. If someone brought him a drawing or design, he would ask them “how can we plus it.”
I was reminded of this while out to dinner tonight. Danielle and I have a favorite local spot where we like to sit at the bar. Our first time there, I was having a negroni in a martini glass. It had been sitting half finished while we talked. Any cocktail served cold that gets to room temperature never tastes as good, so I had kind of given up on it. Without me saying a word, the bartender took out a chilled martini glass from below the bar, and transferred my drink into the cold glass. It’s the simplest thing, but ever since we’ve been coming back regularly. I’ve noticed the bartenders have all been trained to routinely do this, something I’ve never seen anywhere else.
Businesses that take an already great experience and add a finishing touch are inspiring. Next week at work, I’m extra motivated to find ways we can do this in our product.
From the Operators
Two weeks ago we asked for help finding more operator blogs. You all were amazing and sent us several to read. We’ve added even more founders to our swelling RSS list. The operators posts were so good this week, we’ve decided to run with just them. VCs it’s time to up your blogging game 😉
Tracy Lawrence of Chewse writes “I’m starting to believe that truth is the highest leadership virtue.” She lays out common barriers and how she’s overcome them in Losing (and Finding) My Voice as a Leader.
We featured Kevin Hale of Y Combinator last week, and he’s on fire again this week, as he sat down to interview Mike Knoop of Zapier about Product and Design Processes for Remote Teams. Kevin has a great insight about his original company Wufoo and Zapier both fitting into a lifecycle all business face: how do I get online; how do I start getting data; how do I process that data once I get it. Each bucket is probably a multi-billion dollar category, and none of them are fully mature IMHO.
Marie Prokopets of fyi captures The 7 Step Onboarding Process to Get Employees Fully Ramped In 2 Weeks. Something I’d add that’s worked for us: make sure engineers get to commit code on the very first day. This sets the tempo for “hey we’re a startup and we make progress on the scale of days, not quarters or years.” The habit also forces you to keep your developer setup streamlined enough that it’s possible.
Matic Jurglič of Nightwatch ponders If Marcus Aurelius were a software developer. His post struck a chord for me, especially having transitioned from pre-product market fit startup to scaling. Our best developers didn’t complain about hacky code, but rather said to themselves “I’m sure the person who built this had a lot of constraints I don’t know about, let me just see if I can pitch in and make it better.” Hiring devs that do the opposite–complaining and griping about technical debt without action–is a kiss of death for scaling startups.
Richard Ian Porter of IBM answers What PMs Can Learn From Military Veterans. He confront the assumption that hiring veterans leaves you with people expecting structure and strict leadership. Of course startups don’t usually have to adapt and react when a bomb goes off in their office, which Porter’s colleagues did deal with.
We bumped into Fletcher Richman of BubbleIQ on a Twitter thread this past week and heard he had put together a Colorado Early Stage Funding guide. If you’re raising an early round Fletcher’s list is a great place to start.