Category: Links

All or something

DHH: One of the most pervasive myths of startup life is that it has to be all consuming. That unless you can give your business all your thoughts and hours, you don’t deserve success. You are unworthy of the startup call. This myth neatly identifies those fit for mission: Young, without obligations, and few if any extra-curricular interests. The perfect cannon fodder for 10:1 VC long shots. They’re also easier to rile up with tales of milk and honey at the end of the rainbow, or the modern equivalents, “compressing your working life into a few years” and “billon-dollar waves”.

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Betakit’s Open Letter from the Canadian Tech Community

The Canadian tech community comprises many different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, mental and physical abilities, and perspectives. We believe that this diversity is a source of strength and opportunity. On this topic, we are united. Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world. The 21st century will be driven by pluralistic economies powered

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How do I know if I have product-market fit?

The term product-market fit was coined by Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz back in 2007 as a way of describing a startup in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market. Andreessen’s belief is that in a good market — one with lots of real potential customers — the market pulls product out of the startup. Markets with a strong need would be fulfilled by the first viable product that comes along. The product doesn’t need to be great, it just has to basically work; the team doesn’t even need to be great, as long as the

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Turning amateur users into experts

Geoffrey Keating: The question of what it takes to become an expert has occupied psychologists for decades. As user onboarding and customer success have become more important, it’s pre-occupied businesses too. So how do you get users to master your product? Most businesses try in one of the following ways. You can drag them kicking and screaming towards the finish line. Sure, you can successfully push people to do something in the short term, but the minute you stop, they stop. You can patiently hold their hand, and spoonfeed them the answers. Again, this works well in the short term,

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David Heinemeier Hansson on why Writing software is hard

David Heinemeier Hansson: Good software is uncommon because writing it is hard. In the abstract, we all know that it is hard. We talk incessantly about how it’s hard. And yet, we also collectively seem shocked — just shocked! — when the expectable happens and the software we’re exposed to or is working on turns out poor. This is classic cognitive dissonance: Accepting that writing software is hard, but expecting that all of it should be good. It’s also an application of a just-world theory of effort and accomplishment. That despite the odds, everyone who has the right intent at heart, and puts in

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Launch mode vs iterate mode

Paul Adams: We had a really successful launch, with hundreds of customers now using it in production, but we don’t yet have a successful product. We must obsessively work to understand how our customers are using the product, what is working well, what needs to be improved. We need to talk to many prospective customers or customers on trial and understand what they need us to change for them to adopt the product. Launching a product, and iterating a product, are two very different things and they require the team to think and operate in very different ways. We have

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Jason Fried Measures in on what’s in an hour

Jason Fried: When 15 + 15 + 15 + 15 does not equal 60 Remember the first time someone asked you what’s heavier — a pound of feathers or a pound of lead? You probably fell for it. I sure did. A pound is a pound! Duh! But the same thing doesn’t apply with an hour. Every hour may be 60 minutes total, but that’s where the similarities end. [..] Time is the most precious thing there is, yet we split it up and give it away like there’s an endless supply. And whatever time you do have, you have even less attention.

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Six Steps for Startups to Master the Corporate Minefield

Dr. Nicolai Schättgen, writing for the startup grind: Collaborations between corporates and startups are difficult and painful. Corporates are slow, can’t decide, are inflexible, have terrible processes and often even show a bad attitude towards startups. In a recent survey we asked startups about their perception of the corporates – their responses – and my personal favorites were, “cold-war technologies,” “pedantic” or “stodgy.” Still, startups are well advised to understand that a successful corporate collaboration is generally a critical element of success. Corporates might serve as a buyer, as a sales partner, as a supplier, as a strategic partner or simply as a service

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Get the most out of your research with storytelling

The job of research is to distill complex problems so that your team understand the what, the why, and the how of the problem at hand. Yet when presenting complex-yet-eye-opening data to colleagues, a tidy 10-page report can fail to elicit the right reaction. That’s because when it comes to sharing research with your colleagues, presentation matters. The right presentation can transform something that sits on your colleague’s desk collecting dust into insights your team can really empathize with. And one of the best ways to present strategic, complex, controversial, or high-volume data is to use storytelling. We use storytelling

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How About Code Reviews?

Last time, we talked about empathy and what goes into good pull requests. This time, let’s talk about the other side of the equation: what makes a good code review? Why are we doing this? First, it’s important to remember why we’re bothering with pull requests and code reviews in the first place. They offer us an opportunity to share and explain our work. They give us a place for feedback. They demonstrate that we are responsibly managing which code we ship to our users. They give us a chance to teach (by introducing people to a new part of

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