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Spotlights on Two Atlanta Startups Growing Through Regulations

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What You Do During Interims Drives Success

Desire for achievement is best demonstrated during in the “interims”. What happens during interims have the greatest influence on results.
What is an interim? An interim is the moment between two moments, activities, or events. A moment, activity, or event could include: When a bodybuilder is working out in the gym.When a marketer launching or in the middle of a campaign push.When a singer is on stage. An interim then, is the in-between period between workouts at the gym, marketing campaigns, or on-stage during concerts. Interims are when desire shines greatest. This is where success is created.

I thought about this as I was leaving the gym the other day. As I left, I saw folks who had just arrived sitting on a couch. Clearly, they were waiting for others. If they sit there for 5-10 minutes, that’s 5-10 minutes they could have spent warming up. That’s 5-10 minutes they could have put their things away in the locker room. This, of course, does not include the time at home with diets, s…

Take-Aways from a CEO of a Startup From 5-50 Employees in 12 Months

I attended a meetup recently with a Q&A session with George Azih CEO of LeaseQuery, a company that has grown from 5 to 50 employees in the last year. His company is solving a real pain-point. In fact, what his tool provides addresses a mandate by upcoming financial reporting regulations -- specifically, lease accounting.

Having spent several years growing the business largely alone, he de-risked much of the business by proving traction. The company has been able to grow at rocket-pace all while still being bootstrapped. Nice.
A couple points that he attributes to the company’s success so far: The product is a SaaS application that helps companies comply with new accounting regulations around lease accounting. Read: This is a MUST-have.He has a strong leadership team that he regards as the three legs of a stool – he runs product and has two partners, Chris and Brendan, running sales and engineering, respectively.The company sells and collects 3-year commitments upfront. This reduces…

Coaching Themselves Out

“Coaching members out.” I heard this phrase a few months ago as a euphemism for firing or terminating. I thought it was a good way of sharing how leadership and managers ensure smooth transitions out of a company, beyond just “getting rid of an employee”.
Then, I heard a twist to the phrase – “coaching themselves out”. In this case, it’s the member of an organization who is removing him/ herself by subtle environmental/ cultural cues. This doesn’t necessarily mean a company is ostracizing a team member, or otherwise explicitly motivating a team member to leave. That’s bad.
I heard this phrase from a company who was recently voted as one of the best companies to work for. Folks here coach themselves out because they feel they are the “wrong fit”. Their values, ambitions, and the like do not align with that of the company’s.
The company is enthusiastic about living out the mission and values. Here, team members are encouraged to speak up to other team members when they are not living …

Learning from the Hedgehog and the Fox

There’s a Greek parable I heard recently from a VP of Sales about the Hedgehog Concept. The parable goes, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”

In essence, the fox uses his cunning to pounce, sneak upon, play, etc. to attack the hedgehog. However, the hedgehog needs only do one thing and do it well – defend itself. Against the cunning fox, the hedgehog simply rolls into a ball with its spines pointed outward in all directions.
Jim Collins, author of From Good to Great, took the parable and related it to organizations. He suggests companies should find the one thing they’re good at to beat competitors. There are three factors to consider what a company is good -- illustrated below. The VP of Sales I spoke with goes on to share how his sales organization must also be the fox. I couldn’t agree more in today’s age where companies are rising from every corner of the internet. In fact, Chief Martec posted last year its annual Marketing Technology Landscape. They…

Thinking About Joining a Startup? Don’t Overlook These Elements

I get a lot of folks asking me about joining a startup. Most have spent many years in the large corporate world. They start off by asking for recommendations of startups nearby and contacts I know. They think they know what they’re looking for. At least, they know what they are looking for right now. Rarely do folks take a hard look at what they want to achieve longer term. Then, how do they figure how a potential move now fits into the longer goal(s).
Before I go name-dropping startups, I always ask folks to think about the larger picture. There’s a lot of attention to startups because of the glitz and glamour media portrays. But there are big companies that can offer the right opportunities many startups can’t. It’s best to start with what your vision is – what drives you. Cue: Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.
Then, there are other elements oftentimes overlooked when considering startups… The stage of the startup can influence the roles available. Generally, company growth can be spli…

Book Review: Hit Refresh

I’ve always been a Microsoft fan even with their Vista debacle. It’s been sad to see for many years Microsoft lose its position as a dominant company losing market share for… complacency.
But, I’ve been impressed the last several years as Microsoft has re-emerged as an innovative company. So innovative that several developers and engineers I know have shifted from Apple’s ecosystem to Microsoft’s recently. Microsoft’s re-emergence from several lackluster years have been spearheaded by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s 3rd CEO who took the reins of the Redmond corp in February 2014.
I recently read Satya’s book Hit Refresh to learn about the CEO and hear how he has steered Microsoft’s ship into a bright future. Again, I’ve been impressed with the corporation’s recent changes going against its long-gone dogmatic approach from software licensing to hardware.
The book is a deep dive into how Satya views Microsoft’s role in the world. This book was written just several years into his tenure. He …