One of my favorite bloggers is Fred Wilson. I don't have tons of time to read blogs these days but I still try to make my way to A VC once or twice a week. Some time ago Fred started a series called MBA Mondays. There are about 100 articles in the series now.
As a guy with an MBA and a bit of startup experience I found much of the early content not very interesting (though I suspect it is highly interesting to someone with no formal business education). More recently Fred has been writing about the management team during various stages of startup growth. The last post was on management while building the business. There is a great quote in there:
"The people side of the business is harder and way more complicated than building a product is."
It is. People are messy. But not many entrepreneurs think about this. Perhaps because few get to the growth stage. At Half Off Depot I am right in it. After revenue it is the most important thing I do every day.
After he wrapped up his last post in the subject Fred did something that was brilliant. He had a series of guest posts on management. They are really good, with nuggets of wisdom throughout. Below is a favorite thought from each guest blogger. Something that I personally believe. Anyone that aspires to lead or be a part of a successful startup should take the time to read these guest posts. Because after you build the product and initial user base it really is all about management.
"Surrendering to the demons that torment your organization does not mean abdicating your responsibilities to manage. You are still responsible for dealing with the reality of what is. In some cases, the demon is the wrong vision for the company. In others, it might be that you’ve hired the wrong people. In still others, it might be your own failings—like an inability to admit that you’re wrong."
"Stop thinking of the management team at the top of the organization. Start thinking of the software developers, the designers, the product managers, and the front line sales people as the top of the organization."
"I go on as many sales calls and customer visits as I can. I’ve been told that once I hire a Head of Sales, I should stay out of the process. I totally disagree. I am not going to be the one managing the process, but I want to hear what the market is saying directly."
"Bad news — your generation did not invent sex. It does not have to invent the crafting of companies either. Someone else has also done this before."
“Management teams never scale intact as you grow the business. Someone always breaks.”