It does not matter if you work in a company of 5 people or on a team of 10 in a 400k employees corporate, start-up mentality could be created anywhere, and this culture is what differentiate one team from another. In addition to the hard skills I wrote about in How to become an all-round software developer, adopting the right culture is crucial for getting valuable results(or any results).
Here are the 10 core principles of a startup culture wherever exists.
- A Sense of Urgency – the team needs to create value and to deliver it to the market quickly enough in order to stay ahead of the competition
- Risk Aversion– doing something that has never been done before. Something big and meaningful! Not playing it safe. Willingness to try new things.
- Teamwork – dropping everything else and getting up to help a teammate asking for help – including over the weekend.
- Willing to take Extreme measures – Over night delivery – we call it white night:)
- Learning – this is the fun part. In other words, assembling the parachute on the way diving!
- Optimism – it may look and smell like a sausage, but will make it work!
- Volunteering – pull vs. push system.
- Dictatorship of the Mind – The best idea wins regardless who came up with it. The team will rally around the best idea!
- Commitment to the product, the team, the company- Time estimates are always wrong and underestimate the effort. The last reaction to slipping is to move the date and the first one is to stick to one’s commitment.
- Generosity and Serving – reusability, building frameworks, information, tools, and tricks.
- Yea, right- overachieving!!
These principles should be reminded every time a new person join the teams. If there is a mismatch between the team and the new teammate, there is a risk of the entire team loosing the startup mentality. This is the time to bring these principles back to the team’s awareness. This is when the expectation that any team member must have only positive influence on the rest of team should be communicated and set as a goal.
Did I forget a principle?
It seems like the world of web site in alpha and beta phase is booming. Invites, private or public, spreads all over the web-sphere, help getting new online service a try prior to going live, .
I’m looking for a web site that shows what products are now in alpha or beta phase. A place where you can see what service opens its product for the small or large crowd. If you know about this kind of service please let me know in the comment below. In the meantime let me fantasize how it should work.
Every start-up that is working towards releasing a limited or general availability of his product and like to get people involved in testing, providing feedback and suggestions should fill up a small registration form on this web site.
The information should include:
- The name of the service
- The company information
- The URL
- A short description of the service (try to fit it to a listed category or create a new one)
- The development cycle phase: alpha, beta, limited availability (e.g. for only English language support)
- The method: private (#of invites) or public
- Phase starting date
- Estimated phase end date
- Any other relevant information (open text section)
The service should provide the company with login to be able to update the development status.
This site will list all the companies and their product information
This site should allow search
This site should allow ordering the products under testing by date
The site could aggregate blog posts and news relevant to the company and product (if you choose to drill down).
Now in the spirit of everything social (aka Web2.0):
- People can rank, and comment on a specific product
- Subscribers can offer their service as alpha and or beta testers to available products in a chosen category (they can get alerts from the web site that something in their domain of interest/expertise just listed) .
- The company can invite its devoted testers to celebrate the launce
- The company can rank different testers based on their feedback, bugs, creative suggestions
- And like any good web2.0 service why don’t invite/follow your testers friends or the actual entrepreneurs to share something
The site can follow up with some success story and news (RSS feed, newsletter).
What is the value that this kind of service provide? To whom?
- VCs – some visibility into their current or future investments
- The start-up – visibility and access to experienced resources that can help improve a premature service
- The tester – finally someone can see who we are:)
- Business development – visibility for opportunities to join forces and integration
- positive: convincing someone to join a start-up that is making good progress
- negative: picking fallout
- Job seekers – knowing what company is looking for employees and some information about the place you’re may end up at.
- TechCrunch – it may save Michael Arrington some cycles and allow him to rest a little bit:)
I did a very quick search and all I could find is this site. Again, if you know about a place tracking this kind of information in an organized way please let me know.
Even if you don’t I would like to hear your thoughts? Do you agree with me here? Do you see a need?