Your Grades Don’t Matter as Much as You Think

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology

I read a great blog post by Alexis Ohanian titled Getting Things Done > Grade Point Average

It talks about a point that I always knew: Your grades do not matter as much as getting something done. I intuitively knew this while in school taking computer science. I had friends who had horrible marks, but they were the smartest technical people I knew. Then there were others who somehow got the marks but could not solve simple undefined problems.

I think the biggest benefit of school is that you are surrounding yourself with people that want to do great things (learn, contribute to society) but you can also find these types of people at meetups, conferences, IRC rooms, etc. (you just need to be resourceful).

I have seen so many promotions, new clients acquired, money raised, etc from being resourceful. These people navigated waters unknown and got things done. This quality I strongly feel out weighs a persons marks. If you also have interpersonal skills – you have a killer combination.

On a final note, I love this quote:

“You are the average of your 5 closest friends.”

Surround yourself with great, passionate people and you WILL do great things.

 

New York – A Second Home for Viafoura

Posted on Categories Startup

We announced today that we have a second office in New York. This is exciting news for us, as it is our first second home from home.

New York is a hot spot for media companies and an up and coming investor community as well. I have been to New York about 10 different times, and the size of it always impresses me. I find the people nice and quirky at the same time.

I’m glad I live near the porter airport so a flight is just a walk away!!

 

12 (+1) Steps to Better Code

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology, Uncategorized

Joel Spolsky is a respected software developer turned business owner runs Fog Creek software – a software development shop where his goal is to:

“Build the kind of software company where we would want to work, one in which programmers and software developers are the stars and everything else serves only to make them productive and happy. The theory, which has proven itself over and over again, is that this kind of thinking would allow us to attract the super-talented software developers who would do great things and make us successful”

Continue reading 12 (+1) Steps to Better Code

How Larry Page Leads a “Medium Sized Business”

Posted on Categories Business, Sports, Startup, TechnologyTags ,

I read an interview with Larry Page (CEO of Google) on Wired on how he leads his “Medium Sized Business” (He actually called Google a medium sized business – which I thought was a bit wacky)

He says that he encourages his team to think of products that produce 10X results. Instead of focusing on just incremental improvements or catch up with competitors – create amazing new things. He refers to gmail, which when launched had 100 times more storage than anything out there. He also mentions the self driving car and the wearable glasses.

Continue reading How Larry Page Leads a “Medium Sized Business”

How to Scale to 15 Billion Page Views+ a Day

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology

Tumblr (a tool where you can easily create your own blog, and share other posts from other tumblr blogs) got over 15 Billion page views a month in Feb of 2011. Those are REALLY large numbers and require some creative ways to scale the technology. Each company’s scaling requirements are unique (i.e. what worked for twitter won’t work for Tumblr) because the subtleties in usage patterns matter a lot at scale.

The good news is that these companies that do tackle these challenges share their knowledge and often open source their solutions.

Here is a great blog post on the technical tools that tumblr used to help scale their technology

http://highscalability.com/blog/2012/2/13/tumblr-architecture-15-billion-page-views-a-month-and-harder.html

 

How to scale a startup

Posted on Categories Business, Startup

Being fortunate to get over a lot of the early challenges of creating a company (building the right product, getting customers, sales, raising money, getting the core developers) we are now tasked with scaling a development team.

Almost every CTO I have spoken to in the meetups that I host http://www.meetup.com/Toronto-CTO-Group/ implement some form of Agile. A very quick look on Wikipedia will list almost 100 different development methodologies (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_development_process#Software_development_models). Most are iterations of one core style but there are still a lot.

I found these two articles helpful when I was digging more into this process. We run Agile here at viafoura.

http://blog.chaddickerson.com/2010/08/05/scaling-startups/

http://techcrunch.com/2012/11/17/heres-how-spotify-scales-up-and-stays-agile-it-runs-squads-like-lean-startups/

 

 

2013 – New Style of Blogging, Shorter Insights and More Frequent

Posted on Categories Business, Startup

I read a great piece from VC Charlie O’Donnell that talks about Blogging, and doing it often. I started this blog a few years ago and the biggest challenge I had was to write pieces because I thought they should have to be long and well researched. But after reading Charlie’s post, he says blogging does not have to be like that, you can also write about the stuff you notice, and just make your posts short.

So that is what I am going to do. I put a weekly reminder in my calendar to write short posts on stuff that I have noticed (and I notice a LOT of things). Some might say you can use twitter for this, but 140 characters is just not enough.

Let’s see what happens!

 

Business People: How to Find Your First Developer For Your Startup

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology

In my previous blog post Developers: Running Your Own Company Isn’t Only About Writing Code I talked about developers (a.k.a. programmers) need much more than programming skills to run their own company. This post is for the business people who always ask: “How do I find a good developer to help build my idea”

It’s a good question. Finding the first developer is a very important step in growing your business. This person will likely turn out to be the CTO because you have built a good rapport with them. This person will be the reason why other developers come (or dont come!) to your company. Since developers want to work with other smart developers.

I will highlight some things that go through developers heads so you can be aware of it and address it when you approach them. Then I will suggest some steps on how to find them. For ease of writing, I am going to refer to the business person as Bill and the elusive programmer as Peter.

Continue reading Business People: How to Find Your First Developer For Your Startup

You Need These Four Things to Hire (and retain) the Best Developers

Posted on Categories Business, Startup, Technology

20% of the time I spend is on hiring and HR related matters. This includes attracting new talent and keeping the ones we have happy.

I feel that if you have these key 4 things in your company, you can easily attract top developers and keep the ones you have:

1) Work on interesting technical problems
2) Work with other talented people
3) Provide a friendly, creative environment
4) Work on software that ends up getting used by lots of people

Continue reading You Need These Four Things to Hire (and retain) the Best Developers

Pitching is 90% about confidence and 10% content

Posted on Categories Business, StartupTags ,

After we closed our round of financing, a lot of people asked me how we did it. Out of all the questions we get asked, this is by far the most common.

If I had to summarize one word which helped us get the money, it would be confidence.

Don’t get me wrong, you have to have a great story, traction, product, team and market as well – but if you can’t convey this with confidence, no one calls you back.

Let’s do a role reversal. You have $500,000 in your bank account and you are only allowed to invest it into one startup. Two are presented to you. Company 1 has a story/product/team and traction that is 30% better than Company 2. Company 2 however presents much more confidently. More often, it is Company 2 that you would put your money into (I know I would).

Why is that?

Because confidence is a key indicator of tenacity.

Continue reading Pitching is 90% about confidence and 10% content