Monday, March 10, 2008

Startups can’t afford slackers, need passionate slaves

I was reading this article by Micheal from techcrunch over the weekend. I guess it was triggered by an article from Maholo CEO Jason . There was such a huge outcry for some of the suggestion. I guess in the end, it boiled down to two groups, one that agreed with Jason and the other that differed and were ballistic in their outcry. It is an interesting argument though. So far, I have worked for 4-5 startups. I have experienced/seen some of these firsthand.

Here are some of the other bloggers reactions to this article:
Robert Scoble
Dave Winer
Pat phelen
Duncan Riley

Apart from what these guys have to say, here are some general comments I had about startups:
• I agree u need animals to work in startups. These are the guys who would work their ass off 24 hours. Nonetheless, you need to give them some breathing time and respect their commitment. The moment u start treating them like god damn slaves, they are gone with a wink. So my point is, respect the staff that is giving their heart and sole for the vision of the company. Don’t treat them like real animals.
• Hire the right kind of guy in key roles. If you screw up filling up these positions, god only can save such startups. I mean, these slackers would just de-motivate and screw up the morale of the team. Especially, u need to be careful hiring kiss ass guys. These guys would spend all their energy and time kissing their boss ass.
• Saving money was spot on; my previous company burned around 90 million dollars in less then 2 years. That’s insanity and foolish.
• Use Open Source and free software where ever possible. This saves startups lot of money. I guess for initial prototype or an alpha launch, open sources software is very ideal.
• Create a culture in the company where creative/innovative ideas flow easily from bottom to top. It doesn’t have to be restricted to founders or top level management.
• Start blogging, seriously this should tones of money on PR

However, one of the tips from Jason was way over the limit:

“Fire people who are not workaholics…. come on folks, this is startup life, it’s not a game. go work at the post office or stabucks if you want balance in your life. For realz.”

This text was later changed to “Fire people who don’t love their work”. I still see his point. Startups run with resource crunch and you cannot afford 9- 5 employees. However, You cannot expect every employee to work like the founders do. There is tradeoff between an employee and the founders. I guess this is a bitter truth and the founders need to understand that. Common guys, you can’t expect the staff that is getting less than 50k works his ass off like founders. If the startup succeeds, founders are the guys that’s gone pocket huge sum of money. Its the same old shit hole for all those god damn employees.

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