Colin Barry

Scaling the Business/Pitching (15.390, Monday, Week 13)


What makes entrepreneurial ventures successful and fun?
-- Alignment => good new ventures usually have strong alignment between customers, employees, managers, etc.
Why? Because if they don't have strong alignment, they don't make payroll.
Life is fun when everyone is on the same page.
-- Passion => "because it's your thing."

Challenge: growth makes alignment more complicated. Is the customer buying from a company or from a person? Early on, it doesn't matter.

"We have a strategic plan around here: we do sh*t." -- Old 15.390 TA
This is exactly right for new ventures. It gets less right as ventures start to scale up.

On hiring friends:
"If you have too many friends and you want to get rid of some of them, hiring them is a good way. Because the odds that your best friend should be your #2 are about 300-million-to-1." -- Howard Anderson
"All those people who were sitting around with you at The Muddy Charles saying 'I'm in, I'm in?' They meant 'part-time in.'" -- Bill Aulet

If you're giving away titles to early employees, the best titles are 'founder' and 'co-founder.' They sounds great, and you won't regret it if you need to hire someone to be their boss when your venture grows.
Be very careful about hiring Chief XYZ Officers.

On pitching your venture:
Don't ever end a pitch with "Thank you for your time."
There must be an ask, and it must be actionable. Money, advice, a spot on your Board of Advisors, a referral to someone else, a follow-up meeting...
This is not a graded academic exercise. You want something, and if you don't then you shouldn't be giving the pitch.