Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
By: Rand Fishkin
Portfolio Penguin (February 26, 2018)
Lost and Founder is such a brave book. I mean, Moz co-founder Rand Fishkin just lays it all out there. The book is both instructional and autobiographical. Fishkin weaves stories of his many years with Moz with points on what he, or you, might do differently. He touches on best hiring/firing practices and finances. And also addresses working with family and learning propriety in the workplace. In all, this book is an extremely assessable and transparent roadmap to the startup tech world.
Two of my favorite quotes:
If there’s an underperforming person on your team, it’s easy to ignore him for a while and hope his manager either helps him improve or fires him. It’s much harder and more uncomfortable to thoughtfully process why you’re unhappy with him, document instances of unwanted behavior, have a direct conversation with the team member, and, if necessary, coach him or work to find mentorship/coaching/classes (whatever it takes to give him the tools to get better if he has the desire). It could still end up that you (or his manager) may have to ultimately fire him. That’s the thing with transparency: sometimes, the outcome is the same, but how you got there, and the downside risk, is remarkably different.
Real values are truths you hold to be more important than making money. They will come into conflict, and you’ll have to make that hard decision and show everyone on your team why you’re choosing that path, not just once, but over and over in order to instill the idea that values mean something at your organization. Because, usually, they don’t. People who’ve been in the professional world for even a few years get pretty jaded about “company values.” That means you have to go above and beyond to prove that you take them seriously. If you’re not willing to sacrifice and to make money-costing and painful decisions that bias to your values, don’t bother having them. Say, instead, that your core values are financial growth and monetary success. You’ll attract like-minded people who appreciate your honesty.