“Essays was not written in neat order,
from beginning to end.
It grew by slow encrustation, like a coral reef” 1
Why do the most interesting bits of startup stories always get airbrushed out?
Once upon a time
So many of the things we believe about what it takes to create and grow a successful business are wrong.
How to Scale
What a founder in one of the poorest areas in Kenya taught me about how to start and how to scale
How to Be Wrong
There are only three ways to be wrong about our impact: neglect, error and malice.
Leap of Faith
Don’t confuse risk with uncertainty - be clear about what we know is true and what we hope might be true.
The Far Side of Complex
How do we get beyond complexity?
How do we build on Paul Callaghan’s vision for New Zealand, and update it for our current reality?
Building An Ecosystem
How can we build an ecosystem of innovative technology startups in New Zealand?
How do all of the programs designed to support startups actually help?
To encourage more people to work on startups, we often try to make them fun. How does that hurt?
Rather than complaining about how difficult it is to raise venture capital in New Zealand, can we be honest about why it’s hard?
When a startup is sold, in part or in full, it is just a trade. As a country that is entirely dependant on trade for our prosperity we should understand this better.
People, People, People
Ask the best startups what’s holding them back and they all point to the challenges of finding and keeping great people.
How do we create an ecosystem? We plant a seed and let it grow!
Working on a startup is much more like racing a BMX bike than riding a roller coaster.
Being Spartan with Ideas
Do you leave your ideas to fend for themselves in the wild or keep them in a safe place?
Try to complete as many loops as possible, getting a little bit better each time.
Here is some unusual advice for people working on a startup, or thinking about it: swim.
The Pit of Success
It’s not what the software does, it’s what the user does that matters.
Unit of Progress
Be specific: Where are we going and what will it take to get there?
Show Me the Money
Trying to decide how to fund a startup? It’s important that we ask the right questions.
How to Pitch
We realised that the most effective investment pitches all start with the same two words…
A portfolio approach to early-stage venture investment doesn’t really help and probably hurts.
How can we be more explicit about the sort of feedback that is useful, right now.
Machines & Phases
There are so many different ways to measure a startup. It’s easy to drown in metrics. How do we separate the signal from the noise?
M3: The Metrics Maturity Model
Use these simple steps to improve how we measure and report our progress.
How to Get Old
We only get to be each age once. How many will we waste trying to be something that we’re not?
What do we gain and what do we lose when we treat the world as binary?
What can rugby teams and rowing squads teach us about building and managing diverse teams?
Why is it so hard to articulate and document shared team values?
A startup that goes well can be very rewarding. How do we ensure that everybody involved gets their fair share?
How We Win
How well does your team understand your plan to win? When was the last time you wrote it down or said it out loud?
Pining for the Fjords
Be honest: Can we get to the next milestone with the resources we have?
The myth of the lone genius is pervasive. It obscures the way that any interesting work actually gets done through collaboration and teamwork.
Anything vs Everything
How do we choose what to focus on, and have the conviction to say “no” to everything else?
How would treating time as a variable that we can influence change the way we behave and the choices we make?
The expression “world class” gets casually thrown around, like a frisbee at the beach. But what does it really mean?
Head first, then feet, then heart
What could we be great at? What are we willing to take responsibility for? Combine those two things and maybe we can change the world!
How can understanding our relationship with pain help us conquer challenges?
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Stay curious about how things work, and how you can use them to make things of your own.
Perception vs. Reality
When we lie, cheat or spin, we create a gap between perception and reality.
All That Glitters
Don’t be scared to stand out from the crowd. But fight the urge to present yourself as more successful than you are.
Rich vs Famous
If you had to choose, would you rather be rich or famous?
How do we break luck down into its component parts, so we can create luck for ourselves and for others?
We Are Still Divided
The world is still divided, between you and me, baby, you and me.
Lessons from #RedPeak
Let it go. It’s what you learn, after you know it all, that counts.
To be considered successful we just have to do those things that most people don’t.
Here are four simple but uncommon ideas about investing…
Those without naturally want more. Meanwhile, those who have a lot want less. How do we all decide how much is enough?
The Size of Your Truck
As we grow, take the time to understand unit economics.
Imagine objectively selecting companies to receive government support, without the bureaucrats or consultants?
The Mythical Startup
Can we update the fairytale version of how a technology startup becomes a success?
Video Call Etiquette
Simple polite rules we can use to improve our video call experience.
1. Sarah Bakewell on Montaigne … or these essays too.