It’s crucial we’re on the same page before starting our journey through 500— really, truly on the same page. All elephants out of the room, pain points alleviated, and with a solid plan for how we’ll succeed.
This starts with me and my ability to lead and communicate. I’m vowing now to do a better job keeping us aligned as a team. This as a large piece of my job and responsibility. I’ll put in the work and I need you to do the same. We should keep an open mind and understand this will be a period of growth — not just for the company but for each of us personally. With growth comes discomfort, so let’s embrace it.
This is rough but covers what’s on my mind. It will evolve. Add to it what you feel strongly about, and let’s refine down to a list that guides our behavior/growth through the program. Guiding principles? We’ll only go through an accelerator once, so let’s make the most of it.
We’re here to accelerate our growth, so let’s plan to be uncomfortable as hell.
1. Think long-term
Constantly thinking for the long-term will turn seemingly tough calls into easy ones. It’s not about where we are in the next few months — it’s about where we are in 10, 20, 30 years. We’re playing the long game.
Let’s celebrate small wins but not forget we still have years of work to do.
2. We’re gonna fuck up
We’re new to this and we’ll make mistakes — lots of them. Let’s make them, learn from them and move on. Help each other: if you weren’t the one to get us into the bad situation, be the one who gets us out.
3. TOE: Team Over Everything
It’s us against the world. We should spend our cycles fighting the forces trying to kill us, not fighting each other. The habits we form now will be picked up by everyone who joins us as we grow.
Let’s constantly ask, “are things uncomfortable between us?” If the answer is yes, that’s our trigger to have a discussion. Brushing issues under the rug jeopardizes what we’re creating in the long-term. Let’s “hug the elephant in the room.”
4. First rule of improv: make others look good
Wade — this is my favorite business lesson you’ve taught me. Always make the others look good. Always have each other’s back. This is especially important during 500 where we’ll meet a lot of people and won’t all be present for every conversation.
5. Play to our strengths
Do what we do best; hire for the rest.
We’ll continue to provide value wherever needed, but it’s important we recognize our strengths and develop our roles towards them as we grow, hiring great people where we’re weak.
6. Invest in ourselves
A company is no more than an aggregate of people. So to grow our company, we have to grow ourselves. That means keeping our minds and bodies healthy. If you need a day to clear your head, take it — we’ll cover for you.
We’ll be doing a lot of chair-sitting, caffeine-drinking and screen-staring. If you feel shitty physically, you’ll feel shitty mentally.
Go for runs, do walking meetings, whatever feels right. Get comfortable. Let your quirks develop.
7. Don’t get caught up in the SV circle jerk
Lots of shiny things will beg for our attention. Let’s not forget why we’re here: to build an impactful company. Let’s be uber-supportive of our batchmates but avoid getting caught up in doing what’s trendy. We’ll raise when we’re ready; we’ll hire when we’re ready — regardless of what everyone else is doing or saying.
Let’s have fun but let’s stay focused.
8. Listen to everything, but act selectively
We’ll be surrounded by smart people with great ideas. If we listen to them all, we’ll drown. We each have to choose what to use and what to ignore.
Let’s be exceptional listeners but pride ourselves on doing only what’s important.
9. Always be recruiting
The three of us are just the seed. The most impactful way we can ever spend our time is convincing the smartest, most well-aligned people we know to join our journey. Let’s never let recruiting be “outsourced” to a team in the corner.
If we successfully build this into the DNA of the company, it’ll be a competitive advantage in the long-run.
10. Trust our instincts
Data is important and we’ll rely on it plenty. Equally important though, is vision. But game-changing ideas don’t come from micro-experiments.
Trust the future we see. Testing and user feedback will only help optimize the route we take to get there. We know our business will change so let’s build for the mission, not just today’s iteration.
11. Stay proactive
If we let them, the daily firefights will steal our cycles. Let’s allocate time to get ahead — and protect it.
Let’s dedicate time for talking about the future. Pulling our heads out of the weeds regularly and letting ourselves dream will prove tremendously important.
12. Do it for the story
Whether we succeed or fail, the time we’re spending now, together, will be a chapter in our life story. Let’s fill it with things we’ll be proud of later.
It’ll be hard. We’ll mess up. Let’s keep our heads up and our grind on and we’ll accomplish exactly what we’re after. It’s just a matter of time.
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