The Great CEO Within, by Matt Mochary

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  • Team
    • Cofounders
      • Get a cofounder. Emotional burden is way easier with two
      • Do not do an equal split. Setting up for failure — need a clear decision maker
    • Team
      • Scaling is hard and costly. Information asymmetry quickly happens.
      • Do not grow beyond 6 until you are truly at PMF (defined here at 1MM ARR). Resist the temptation to do, despite advice from people to hire quickly.
        • This is better for morale, speed, and communication
        • Many startups fail from growing too fast
  • Product
    • The first versions of a product will be messy and in "prototype code." The feedback from customers will dramatically alter what the product is, so you can take that feedback and incorporate it into the core experience.
  • Organization
    • Find a system that works to stay on top of everything.
      • Every day go through your inbox. If it takes less than two minutes to complete, do it then. If not, write down the item and place it on a list:
        • Next actions - specific actions
          • Computer (access to computer)
          • Calls (phone calls)
          • Outside (errands)
          • Home (errands)
        • Waiting for - things that you are waiting on
          • List of task and person that it is delegated to and the date that it is expected
          • Aging ones go to the next actions
        • Someday/maybe - list of someday
        • Agenda
          • Batch all your questions and issues in that conversation
        • Projects
          • Write out all the actions and put them into the Next Actions list
        • Goals
          • Review regularly for next actions list
        • Review
          • Review the lists above
    • Then find time in your calendar to input the next actions
  • Top goal
    • Schedule two hours a day on the most important thing
  • On time and present
    • Be on time, and if you are going to be late, give a headsup that you will be
    • Schedule 25 m meetings so that you have buffer time
    • Listen in the meeting. Be present.
  • When you say it twice, document it for the team
  • Appreciation
    • Positive feedback really works
    • When you feel grateful about someone, let them know
    • This small act of putting coins in the relationship bank adds up
  • Energy audit
    • Figure out who gives and doesn't give you energy. Ruthlessly cut those who don't.
    • Review your calendar every week and figure out who they are.
  • Sales
    • Alex McCaw shares about how sales is not something that can be automated away. After 2MM in ARR, he found it challenging to scale. He got customer success and that helped boost revenue.
  • Health and well being
    • Work out. Exercise. Take care of your mental health. Join a support group and get a therapist. Sleep.
    • Sleep hygiene:
      • If you have trouble sleeping, keep a notebook by your bed and write down to dos. During the day use the GTD system which knows that it's recorded and there.
      • Darkened room
      • Memory foam bed
      • White noise machine
      • Have a ritual like a journal
  • Financial health
    • If you are successful you will be rich on paper but cash poor.
    • Two numbers matter — 10M and 100M. 10M gives you financial security for you and your family for life and makes you feel "secure". Once your net worth goes beyond 100M, people begin to want to sell more for other projects. But beyond 100M, each dollar doesn't really matter.
    • Invest in a mutual fund for a balanced portfolio. This has been proven to be better performing than most financial analysts and fancy wealth managers. This is the recommendation of David Swensen (Yale fund manager, the top performing endowment in the world). It's also lower risk than investment banks, commercial banks, etc.
  • Decision making
    • Creating buyin. Three methods for decisions, with different buy in:
      • Method One: Inform team of decision and answer questions. Fast, but little buy in. Appropriate if it's a crisis or an urgent situation.
      • Method Two: Create strawman and discuss in a meeting, and then decide. Not as fast, but more buyin. Most decisions are made this way.
      • Method Three: Completely discussion based with no strawman. Decision maker then decides after the conversation. Slowest, but most buyin. Appropriate for very big decisions like values, vision, 10 year plan.
        • As a CEO be careful about not sharing your voice ahead of others. You will probably tip the scales more than you realize. At Amazon the most junior people speak first.
    • Encourage people to write things up ahead of time for efficiency. Amazon has a memo culture where people write ahead of time, read them in the meeting, and then decide.
    • There is the RAPID protocol developed by Emilie Choi at Coinbase. This is good for seeing stakeholders
      • R: Recommend: the person who recommended it
      • A: Agree: People whose input is needed to approve. Legal is usually here.
      • P: Perform: those who have to perform the task should get heard
      • I: Input: Senior people who may have input
      • D: Decide: If it's irreversible, it should CEO. If not, it should be made by someone other than CEO
  • Impeccable agreeemnts
    • If there is a written agreement (goals, plan, etc.) with a timeline, then it is an impeccable agreement. It should be precisely defined with specific actions.
    • If there is a change to the agreement, it is the person's responsibility to update any changes in the timeline ASAP.
    • If they don't then they have broken the agreement. There should be consequences for breaking them. Otherwise the culture gets sloppy and no one respects written agreements.
  • Transparency
    • Share positive and negative information with everyone
    • Don't share comp plans or performance reviews — otherwise, everything should be fair game.
  • Conscious leadership
    • Lead from above the line: recognize your emotions, motivations and then decide how to act on them.
      • Take radical responsibility — take responsibility for your health and general circumstances. Support others to do the same.
      • Learn through curiosity
      • Feel your feelings. Repression of feelings is considered "bad leadership." But excellent leaders are aware of them and name them.
      • Speak with candor
      • Eliminate gossip - do not tolerate it. If someone is not in the room, intervene and ask where the information came from and encourage people to talk directly to them.
      • Integrity - keep impeccable agreeements
      • Giving appreciation
      • Live a life of play and rest - This will motivate you for life. Take time to think about offsites and encourage people to take breaks. Companies that incorporate play and rest tend to perform better.
      • Exploring the opposite: Question everything. This helps change from knowing to curiosity.
    • Diving into conscious leadership moves you from leading from a place of fear to a place of joy.
  • Issue and conflict resolution
    • Ask everyone to identify the top issues in the company (max 3) to solve in the next 90 days
    • Offsite exercise:
      • Ask everyone to write down what their thoughts are on the company and where they source their joy, excitement, sadness and fear
      • Separate fact, story and proposed solution
    • Conflict resolution
      • People want to feel heard. Repeat what people say until they say that is right.
  • Customer empathy
    • Build trust with customers by asking about their pain.
    • Repeat what they say
    • Use the phrase "I think I heard you say"
    • Have the engineers regularly do customer support
    • The less you speak, the more you sell
  • Culture
    • Culture is created organically from people who work there
    • After 30 employees, then codify the culture
      • The CEO does not set the values. The people do.
    • Then use those values to guide hiring and firing
    • Be fun
      • Host events for your teammates. If people have fun, then they want to spend more time working on the company. Vice versa.
    • Celebrate
      • Acknowledge good work
      • Have weekly demos
    • Hours of operation
      • Impeccable agreements help here. It does not matter what hours employees work or where they are.
      • Lead by example. Be the first to show up, and the last to leave.
    • Offer meals
    • Cross team communication: encourage people to meet others
    • Minimize politics:
      • Do not grant favors to people who reach out to you. Have norms and written policies that everyone abides by
      • When something arises, and it will, intervene. Do not pretend it is not happening.
  • Infrastructure
    • Get a wiki and company folder system
    • Have goal tracking system
    • Areas of responsibility (AORs)
  • No single point of failure
    • Write down all processes and train people so if anything happens there is a backup plan
  • Organization (skimmed this chapter....feel free to add notes)
  • Accountability
    • Makers need uninterrupted time
    • Have one day of internal meetings
      • 1:1s
      • Leadership team meeting
      • CEO open office hour
      • All hands meeting
      • Company wide social event
    • One day of external meetings
    • Three days of no meetings
  • Feedback
    • Receiving
      • Welcome critical feedback and cherish it
      • Ask for it. Lachy Groom asks "What feedback are you afraid to give because you think it might hurt my feelings? Please tell me that."
      • Appreciate it
      • Act on it
    • Giving it
      • Ask for permission
      • State the trigger or event
      • State how it makes you feel
      • State opinions or judgements
      • Make a request of what you would like to see
  • Fundraising (skimmed this, feel free to add)
  • Recruiting
    • Scorecard - create something that describes what you want in a candidate
      • Have outcomes that they need to do
      • List competencies
    • Source
      • Create a list of talented people. Speak to at least one of them each week and ask them about talented people that they know
      • Document everything in an applicant tracking system
      • Create a sourcing party and gamify the process
    • Select: Interviews
      • Screening
        • They need to be definitely an A player
        • Get back to them in 24 hours
      • Topgrading
        • Understand their story and patterns
      • Focused
        • Involve other team members
      • Reference
        • This is where you learn the truth about the candidate. Go off sheet.
      • Sell
        • Fit - share roadmap
        • Family - ask about their family
        • Freedom - no micromanagement and share processes
        • Fun - share what they do for fun
        • Fortune - share the update
        • BE FAST DURING THE PROCESS!
        • Before offering, ask them what they need before they accept. Ask the candidate if they were offered X whether they would accept.
      • Onboarding. This is CRUCIAL!
        • Give this more attention than recruiting.
    • Sales and marketing (skimmed here)