Have Focused Fun!
Traklight is the second startup for me but the first I have founded. That being said, it is no different than other places I have worked in that fun at work is mandatory. However, I am not your twenty-something founder and I have no time for negativity or passive aggressive behavior any more than I have time for people who just think a startup is a place to hang out all day.
Get stuff done
The number one mistake I have seen with startups is the inability to follow through and GSD (get "stuff" done––insert a stronger word if you like.
Whether you are paid or working for sweat equity, remember that the founder and/or investors have put in real time and money. This is a business, not a social club. You still have to remain on task. Fun is not folly; It's important to know when to be serious and get stuff done.
This gets back to culture and having values that integrate work and fun. I believe it is possible but it is not about balancing the two; it’s an integration of fun with work. For example, meetings can have funny moments but they cannot be huge chat sessions. We are trying to run our company like the sustainable grownup company as we scale.
We ran into problems earlier this year when a lot of time was wasted with people working together on projects all day long without an overall plan. This merely led to a lot of good-work effort being wasted. Also, remember during a big push, you must discard or say no to anything that is not core to your mission.
Meetings should have purpose. If you think that startups do not need meetings, then you may have some serious challenges scaling your business. Start with the purpose, have a list or agenda (it can of course be electronic or on a post-it), and do a next steps or recap after each meeting. You can adjust the level of formality for your culture.
I have starting only scheduling meetings (over than our product development meetings) for thirty minutes. Start with the intent of finishing early and honor others’ time by being on time. And never take calls or allow interruptions during these meetings. Focus or fail.
Startups are scary but so rewarding. I have worked in both corporate Canada/America for over 25 years but I have never had this level of enthusiasm for my “job.” I hope you can find that too.
Thanks for reading this blog series. Subscribe to our blog for future blog series and these updates straight to your Inbox!