The blog.

CEOs and Love

As I evaluate the prospects of a startup, one of the key aspects I look for is whether the CEO is in love or not.

You see, to be a great CEO, you need to be in love with the company. Enthusiastic about your products. Passionate about your people. Fanatical about your customers. This is critical because the entire company reflects the speed, values and commitment of the CEO. Every day, every employee of the company is carefully – many times even unconsciously – observing the actions of the CEO to understand what the acceptable patterns of behavior are. As these patterns are repeated over time, they develop into the corporate culture.

Startups: Risk, Growth and Friction

When I work with a startup, typically one of the first exercises I help them go through is a visioning exercise that starts with a simple question:

“How big do you want to be five years from now?”

What matters in the answer is not the first digit of the number, but the quantity of zeroes after it. The mindset of companies that aim to grow to $5M, $50M or $500M in revenue after five years is totally different. They indicate different points in the risk/reward continuum and imply very different requirements for growth speed.

Applications, Platforms and Layers

Over the past 15 years we have evolved into the growing Digital Neighborhood. I think a particularly interesting effect is the transformation of applications into platforms, and platforms into layers.

The connected footprint: see the expansion

As I mentioned in my last post, over the past few years we have become part of a growing Digital Neighborhood that already features over half a billion people. Here’s an interesting data point and a great visual that help understand just how fast the expansion is happening and the rate at which it is accelerating:

Let me introduce you to 600 million people… wait… 601…

Over the past two years, “Gamification” has grown to be one of the hottest buzzwords. A Google search on it today returns well over half a million results, and it was the central topic at last month’s South-by-Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) conference in Austin.