I’m not sure I’m a great giver of golden advice, but here’s my list of the best golden advice I’ve been given over the years. And the advice holds as well today as when it was given:
- Manage People — In General, and Earlier. The earlier in your career you can learn how to manage people, the faster you can excel in learning to scale. Managing people isn’t always fun. But embrace it if you want to be a CEO, a founder, and/or be a part of something bigger.
- Listen to “Audibles” and Act on Them. Your best bosses, VPs, mentors, and others will give you “audibles” — quick bits of micro-advice during pitches, customer meetings, interviews, etc. While you are in the process of working. 🙂 They’ll see where you could improve in real-time. Take this real-time feedback and leverage it and act on it immediately. If someone else great is in the room with you, these audibles can make the difference between a positive outcome and a negative one.
- Celebrate Your Wins. This is tough to do right for most of us. There’s always the next quarter, the next milestone. But you have to truly celebrate the wins. Especially as founders, we tend to go heads-down after a win, because it’s just one step in a bigger plan. But the team needs to celebrate the wins, and maybe you do, too.
- Spend 20%+ of Your Time Recruiting. Recruiting isn’t fun. But nothing is more important once you have something. Force yourself to spend 20% of your time doing it. If you aren’t investing 20% of your time, you’re doing less important things with that time.
- Go Visit Your Customers In-Person. Often. Go visit your customers, partners, and prospects. Relationships aren’t built on the phone or a Zoom. If you are going long, you gotta show up for the important ones. And while Zooms aren’t the same, do more of them. Do 5-6 customer Zooms a week. And then somehow, really meet all your top customers.
- Slow Down the Biggest Decisions. Speed Up All Other Decisions. Actually, I never got this golden advice but needed it. Big decisions — slow them down. If you are risking the company, it almost always can wait a week. Get more advice. Sleep on it. Mull it over. But everything else? Push those decisions down and move faster. As long as you can fix any mistakes later.
- There Are Only a Handful Of Great Co-Founders and VPs. Go All-In on Them. You will interview 100s and then 1000s of folks over your career, and hire many very good, pretty good, OK, and less-than-great folks. But just a handful will truly be able to move the needle for you. Go all-in. Let their weakness go, and backfill them. Support them when they make mistakes. Let them grow and hire and scale as far as humanly possible. Only a few will truly make a difference. Hire them immediately, over-compensate them with equity, appreciate them … and get out of their way. Let them run.
And the worst advice 🙂 here:
(note: an updated SaaStr Classic post; mentor image from here)