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All companies are startups until they aren’t. Many struggle to find their way back, too. It’s not the days of constrained resources or terrible pay or the heart-stopping uncertainty that they’re missing, of course. Instead, the problem is that it’s a lot harder to implement change at an “established” organization, particularly one that’s making money. Yet the smartest companies know change is crucial. As journalist Alan Deutschman wrote a dozen years ago, including in a book of the same title: “Change or die.”
Because that’s easier said than done, CEOs are always seeking out new ideas. Enter the brand-new book of engineer and entrepreneur Eric Ries, whose last tome, The Lean Startup, became an instant best-seller when it was first published in 2011.
In his latest effort, The Startup Way, Ries says the way to stay on top can be traced to two things: treating employees like customers, and treating business units like startups — replete with their own constrained budgets, and even their own boards. Ries offers fairly concrete suggestions regarding how to implement both, too. “A lot of people write manifestos and basically say, ‘Do what I say,’” says Ries. “I try to get away from that. The details matter a lot.”
We caught up with Ries earlier today to learn more about the book, which will be available to buy beginning Tuesday.
TC: You established a name for yourself with The Lean Startup, which basically told founders to get a minimally viable product into the market, then fix it. Can founders still do that in an age where big companies are getting bigger and moving faster to either copy products, or else acquire their teams?
ER: People said that years ago about Microsoft, too, that it was going to dominate the internet with its monopoly power. Disruption still brings new power players to the fore. But today, because Facebook and Amazon and Google are so good at what they do, startups do need to up their game. There was a time when you had one innovation that you could ride for decades. That’s over. Continuous reinvention is crucial now. Otherwise, you’re toast.
TC: What about the giant financing rounds of today, even at the seed stage — do they signal the death of the so-called lean startup?
ER: “Lean” never referred to the size of a round. It’s about lean manufacturing and using resources more effectively. Also, huge rounds are really for the privileged few. I’m in Columbus right now, and [local startups] aren’t experiencing the jumbo seed round.
I will say that one commonality that Silicon Valley has with corporate innovation is that we often overfund things, which can be just as lethal as underfunding them.
TC: How did you move from advocating for lean startups to writing this new book?
ER: When a lot of small early founders heard about the lean startup, they were excited about minimal viable products and about pivoting and learning, but they didn’t pay close attention to more boring parts like management and the need to do continuous innovation. In some cases, as these companies passed 100 employees, or even 1,000, they’d ask me to come help teach lean startups to people who work for them. You go from the person who is making innovation decisions, to supporting entrepreneurs who work for you, and they might not be as good as you or you’d be working for them.
These were my friends and I was happy to help them. At the same time, big companies were asking how they could recapture their innovative DNA and I realized how similar these issues are and thought it was worth exploring.
TC: Obviously, the need to innovate continuously isn’t a new concept. How is your advice to companies different? Is this about pulling in opinions and ideas from a more diverse group of people, either internally or externally?
ER: I’m a big believer in that thesis — diversity. But in this book, I tend to focus on structural changes: who gets promoted, how we make product decisions, the general accountability layer of a company. [In other words] how do you figure out who is doing a good job and who isn’t? Because there’s a lot of B.S. at the higher levels otherwise that distorts the decisions that are made and consequently makes it hard to attract top talent.
TC: Give us some concrete examples. Who in Silicon Valley was doing this wrong and figured it out?
ER: I talk in the book about Twilio and Dropbox and Airbnb; they all had to go through a metamorphosis to empower their internal innovators.
Dropbox, for example, had some failures and was willing to admit that some products didn’t work. Some of its product development was happening internally and some externally, but it doesn’t matter if you plant in the wrong soil. But it has since developed a much better process that looks closer to entrepreneurship.
TC: By doing what differently?
ER: You first have to look at whether you’re treating the people who work for you like entrepreneurs or something different; if you’re expecting your product managers to achieve instantaneous success, that’s not [the standard] to which you were held in the early stages of your company.
Along the same lines, if you aren’t [giving teams] clear, metered funding, how are they going to have that scarcity? It’s that mindset, that hunger, that let’s you say “no,” [to delaying product launches]. [Companies have to fight] that entitlement funding because the more money you have, the less you want to expose yourself to risk.
TC: Interesting idea. How else do you recommend that companies treat their teams like startups?
ER: We also talk about creating a growth board.
Right now, most corporate employees exist in a matrix management structure, reporting to different people and having lots of different managers who have veto power over what they do. But each time a middle manager checks in, he or she exerts a gravitation influence, and most product mangers who I meet with say they spend 50 percent of their time defending their existing budget against middle manager inquiries. That’s a massive tax on most product teams.
So we treat [these units] like a startup and create a board of [say] five execs who they report to infrequently. That way, if any middle manager has a concern, [the head of that unit] can say, “Talk to the board.” It’s like at [ venture firm] Andreessen Horowitz. It has something like 150 employees [yet] not every person who works there gets to call a portfolio company founder. Not every limited partner who has invested in Andreessen Horowitz gets to call its founders. There are well-defined processes in place so that founders [aren’t fielding calls all day.]
TC: Of course, the downside to that is that VCs often don’t know when things go off the rails at startups. How do you convince executives that they aren’t running that risk by giving these teams so much autonomy?
ER: It only works if you do limited liability experiments. Often asking, “What’s the worst that could happen?” is like a death sentence, but you have to think through the possible downsides to mitigate them. So you only let 100 people buy the product [at the outset] and add in extra provisions and securities to ensure they have a great experience and you’re smart about the liabilities.
TC: Say that works. What happens to the already oft-maligned middle managers of the world?
ER: There haven’t been any layoffs at the companies I’ve worked with. Companies still have to run their core business; there’s plenty for [middle managers to do] Most are horrifically overworked. Others become reborn as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial coaches. Intuit and GE have a whole program for coaching and mentoring, and that becomes part of [managers’] job description.
This all culminates in preparing a new org chart, one that treats entrepreneurship like a corporate function that’s owned and managed. Right now, if you ask [many executives], “Who is in charge of the next big innovation,” they’ll sometimes say that everyone is in charge of it. Can you imagine if they said that everyone is in charge of marketing or finance or HR? Entrepreneurship is no different. Someone should have operational responsibility for it.
TC: Do you run into much resistance when you talk with CEOs about empowering employees in this way? It’s easy to imagine that some feel threatened, even as they know their companies need to keep innovating.
ER: What distinguishes really good CEOs is that they care about their legacy, and they’re committed to the long-term health of their organization.
But you’re right. Most CEO are not serious about change because it requires senior managers to change their behavior. You know how corporate bosses can be. This is not always a very welcome method. I’ve been kicked out of plenty of boardrooms.
The final trailer for Stranger Things 2 is here. The world turns Upside Down on October 27. Watch Stranger Things on Netflix: …
Is obesity a good thing and how is obesity a good thing? It may sound odd and contrary to general beliefs but there are some obesity advantages out there. A few of these can’t be met while at normal weight or even overweight. Let’s find out what these five obesity advantages are.
1) Certain types of work are only catered to the obese:
There are jobs where an obese individual is suited for more than a normal weight person or someone who’s just overweight. An example of this could be an acting job. Say there’s a story with a character who’s obese playing a big part. The only person who’ll probably fill the role of that character is… someone who’s obese.
2) Stronger Bones/Muscles:
This can be considered as one of the advantages of obesity. The reason being that any attempt at exercising, even a casual walk can contribute to this. Certain gym activities such as lifting weights also help with obese people having strong bones and muscles.
3) More warmth is possible:
This is due to the excessive body fat alleviating heat loss from an obese person’s body into the air especially in cold environments. The fat has a tendency to keep some blood from getting closest to the skin where it can lose heat rapidly. This is why excessive clothing is worn, to trap body heat for constant warmth. As an extension to point 2 above, putting on more muscle provides a similar benefit where it can be a heat source while exercising and provide great insulation while resting.
4) Size… does it matter?
This seems to be more of a feature than one of the advantages of obesity but there are some people who are proud of their hugeness and put it to some use. That makes it an advantage for them.
5) Even the obese can lose weight:
The most important when it comes to obesity advantages is that the weight can be lost. It’s more important than all the previous advantages listed combined. Even overriding the disadvantages of obesity but only if this losing weight obesity advantage is consistently applied. Obesity mostly results from consuming more calories than required consistently. The excessive weight can be lost over a period of time by frequently burning more calories through exercise while not consuming more calories than your body needs.
Obviously if you aren’t obese and are at normal weight its way more beneficial health wise to keep yourself that way. Exercise and healthy eating are still essential for maintaining a healthy body. Of all the obesity advantages listed, number 5 is the most important. If you don’t bring your weight down significantly, many health dangers resulting from obesity will set in sooner or later.
TORONTO (Reuters) – A U.S.-Canadian couple freed in Pakistan this week, nearly five years after being abducted in Afghanistan, reunited with the husband’s family on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
Joshua Boyle and Caitlan Coleman arrived with their three children late on Friday in Toronto, where the husband said one of his children was murdered and his wife had been raped.
Citing an email from Boyle, the AP reported the family had “reached the first true ‘home’ that the children have ever known — after they spent most of Friday asking if each subsequent airport was our new house hopefully.”
Boyle, a Canadian, and Coleman, an American were kidnapped while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012 by the Taliban-allied Haqqani network.
Pakistani troops rescued the family this week in the northwest of the country, near the Afghan border. The United States has long accused Pakistan of failing to fight the Haqqani network. The couple had three children while in captivity.
Boyle opened his Friday media statement by saying he was delayed due to a medical emergency involving one of his children.
AP, citing Boyle’s email, said his daughter had a cursory medical exam and hospital staff were “enthusiastically insistent that her chances seemed miraculously high based on a quick physical.”
Boyle made a brief statement at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport late on Friday, calling on the Taliban “to provide my family with the justice we are owed.”
“God willing, this litany of stupidity will be the epitaph of the Haqqani network,” he said.
Reporting by Maggie Parkhill; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Bill Trott
Bob Weinstein dubbed his brother, Harvey, a “predator” and said he hoped the disgraced Hollywood producer “gets the justice that he deserves.”
Bob Weinstein, 62, who founded Weinstein Co. with his brother Harvey, 65, told The Hollywood Reporter in an intense interview released Saturday morning the situation was “a waking nightmare.”
“I find myself in a waking nightmare. My brother has caused unconscionable suffering. As a father of three girls I say this with every bone in my body — I am heartbroken for the women that he has harmed. I’m a fighter,” Weinstein told The Hollywood Reporter.
“This hurts, but I don’t feel an ounce of remorse coming from him, and that kills me too,” he continued. “When I heard his written, lame excuse. Not an excuse. When I heard his admission of feeling remorse for the victims and then him cavalierly, almost crazily saying he was going to go out and take on the NRA, it was so disturbing to me. It was utter insanity. My daughters all felt sick hearing this because we understood he felt nothing. I don’t feel he feels anything to this day. I don’t.”
Harvey Weinstein came under fire after The New York Times released an expose on Oct. 5 that detailed decades of sexual harassment allegations made against the Hollywood producer by actresses and employees. On Tuesday, the New Yorker reported the movie mogul had sexually assaulted three women.
Following the bombshell allegations, a number of A-list stars came out to condemn the producer and some, such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, told their own uncomfortable experiences with Weinstein.
When The Hollywood Reporter asked Bob how he did not know of his brother’s misconduct, Weinstein said he had spoken to Harvey only a few times “on any personal level” in the last five years. However, Bob said he was aware of Harvey “philandering with every woman he could meet.”
“I was sick and disgusted by his actions. But that’s the extent of what [I knew]. I said, “Harvey, you’re just cheating. Why do you constantly cheat?” I could see it. But I wasn’t in the room with him,” Bob Weinstein said.
“For me, I thought he was literally just going out there cheating in a pervasive way,” Bob said. “It wasn’t like he even had a mistress. It was one after another and that I was aware of. But as far as being in a room and hearing the description in “The New York Times?” No way. No f—–g way was I aware that that was the type of predator that he was. And the way he convinced people to do things? I thought they were all consensual situations.”
“I have a brother that’s indefensible and crazy,” Bob said. “I want him to get the justice that he deserves.”
Bob went on to say his brother was a “bully,” “arrogant” and “treated people like s—t all the time.”
Bob said employees would come into his office in tears due to something Harvey said to them.
On Sunday, Harvey was fired from the Weinstein Company. Bob confirmed he was on the board that fired his brother. Harvey planned to fight the firing.
“Anybody can do what they want to do. I cannot control other people’s actions. But he was fired by the board, okay? I was on that board. I fired him. He can fight. It will be a losing fight,” Weinstein said.
Weinstein said he was going to change the company’s name and he was still planning on the future of the studio’s shares.
Bob Weinstein told the media outlet he was personally going to write a letter to the Academy to get Harvey booted and would be cooperating with police in their investigation.
Weinstein concluded that he felt “mortified” and “disgusted” by Harvey’s actions and he was “sick” for the victims.
“I’m mortified and disgusted by my brother’s actions. And I am sick for the victims. And I feel for them. I feel for them.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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This is when Ken and I went up to see Peggy and family on Halloween. It was a cold mofo out there I tell ya.