I have been a very active reader in this community, I have noticed some things that many seem to have an issue with, but it became more clear during this month when I started looking for a new position as Vice President of Engineering in startups. So I’m writing this.
**(Please note that the content written in here is solely based on my experience as, and have proven to be very successful, specially with teams working remotely)**
Understand a few things.
* **Understand that you will have to sacrifice your time.**
* Other than usual corporate jobs, working on your startup will require more than your 9 to 5 work. Of course you can work that way, or even less, but you will have a really hard time trying to succeed in the market you are trying to target when other startups are putting 10-15 hours a day.
* **Understand that you might push your loved ones (or those close to you) away.**
* If you are putting the extra amount of hours on your idea, you will realize that you won’t have much time to spend with those close to you. Specially your girlfriend/boyfriend.
* **Personal example**: during my first startup, I was leading a team of 38+ people and would work 15 hours a day on average. During that period of 2 years and 7 months, 3 girlfriends told me they couldn’t continue dating me as I would see them only a handful of times per month.
* **Understand how hard leading a startup is.**
* Running a startup in a competitive market feels ***like you are in a knife fight in a prison yard***. If you are a weak leader, your startup will be weak. Not just physical strength, but mental strength too and most importantly, your strengths/skills in leadership and negotiation.
* **Understand that you need the most excited people to work with you, on board with you.**
* This might be confusing, so let me explain. When you are recruiting your co-founders, if their answer is not “**FUCK YESS!**” then its a no. Co-founders are the basement of your startup. You and they are the foundation on where your startup is built. If the thought of working with you and your startup doesn’t generate a response of **FUCK YESS!** then it it should be a no. Don’t waste your time dealing with someone that kinda wants to add value to your start-up.
* This also can be applied with advisers and investors.
With that being said, here’s some things you can apply to your start-up.
* **Goals and Objectives**
* Always have goals and objectives for everything you want to develop. Lacking objectives and goals will make developers disorganized and they will lose interest in the development very quickly.
* Having goals helps to maintain developer presence and keep them busy with their own tasks. It cements the path for a goal-driven development for the future.
* Having long-term goals without small goals and objectives in between will lead to the exhaustion of the developers involved. (This is risky and can break the development and push your team apart)
* Objectives should be specific, measurable and have a short time frame. Their purpose will be to achieve your goals.
* By setting a deadline, it gives the people involved a sense of urgency, which makes all the members more productive. It also allows newer members a way to prove themselves and be useful.
* Deadlines should be strict but reasonable. Their purpose is to help you reach your goals and objectives, but they shouldn’t be final. As everyone can get caught up with life and can’t reach them in time. If that happens, then try to understand what was the reason for their delay, try to be affectionate with your developers. See if you can help to reduce their stress or work overload. They will recognize this and love you for it.
* **Manifesto and your start-up virtues & spirit.**
* Write your start-up manifesto to specify your company’s intentions, motives or views. This way you can attract like-minded people and form a stronger bond with people working with you.
* Know what the spirit and the virtues of your start-up are and apply them. You will create a better work environment for your co-workers, and they will love you for it.
* **What, Why and How**
* Always know **What** you want to do, **Why** you want to do it, and **How** you will do it. This will make your vision stronger, and make you be seen as a strong leader who knows where he’s leading the team in the long run.
* Simon Sinek has a very good video about this. (Not sure if I’m breaking Rule nr.2 with this, but please let me know if I am so I can edit it out).
* **Mentor your people**
* When mentoring people, don’t show them how they can do it, but help them to understand the issue better, and how they can solve it.
* If you are mentoring a group of programmers/developers, **NEVER** give them the solution in a plate, but instead try to appeal to their solution solving skills with ideas on how they could do it, and let them figure it out. You might be the best programmer in the company and the solution is easy for you, but they won’t learn it good that way. Teach them how to solve the problems, not how to write the code for it, as you can find many things online who have a better solution on how to fix your bug, but they more than often, don’t teach your developers how to figure out the solution is.
* Personally, I would hire someone who is a 3/10 programmer/code writer, and a 8/10 problem solver than a 8/10 programmer/code writer and a 3/10 problem solver.
* **Never micromanage your development team.**
* Just don’t please, you won’t be helping your developers.
I could write in this on-and-on for days, but I think these are some good examples.
Hope you had a good read.