TL;DR: Your management board should work with lagging metrics. Your team should work with leading metrics

People say I’m a process freak. This means that if a process works, I try to break it to make it better (it doesn’t always work out this way). It’s an obsession with quantifiable stuff, outcomes, and data visualization-regardless of whether I work with my team or help other startup founders. I track all sorts of data, have a detailed OKR process that works (and continuously changes) with my team, and have a business partner, friend, and co-founder (Vlad) who is as obsessed with data as I am. Or more. …

TL;DR: A startup can eventually pivot to a better market or a different product. It can get funded, can hire better people. However, without a healthy culture, everything will crumble. The healthiest culture is a culture built on accountability and operational excellence, not on fancy values. One way to build accountability and performance from the start, and define the right culture, is to use Objectives and Key Results (OKRs).

Image for post
Image for post


  • Everything is about Phase Two
  • Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)
  • Yearly goals to quarterly OKRs
  • Quarterly OKRs to weekly priorities
  • Weekly priorities to daily tasks
  • Routines
  • Tools
  • Lessons I’ve learned

Everything is about Phase Two!

Building a startup is much more difficult than building a traditional business. Any tech founder knows it. The tough part is that, in most cases, the startup not only faces uncertainty, but insufficient resources, entrenched competition, lack of experience, and many other challenges. Still, there is hope! Uncertainty can be fought through experimentation, resources obtained, go to market strategies devised, more experienced people hired. …

Accelerators live and breathe startup metrics. They set the KPIs (key performance indicators — the most important metrics) that startups should report and try their best to teach them how to execute everything based on metrics. But how do accelerators fare on this themselves? How do they measure their success and report it to their stakeholders? What are the important accelerator metrics KPIs?

The status quo of accelerator metrics KPIs

Accelerators that track startup exits, funding, survival rates, and others, as part of their KPIs, depend on tracking startup progress after a program. Tracking and reporting are easy for those taking in small cohorts and offering them office space. They are in constant contact due to proximity. Consequently, not having a system in place is rarely an issue. Keeping track of five startups’ progress with spreadsheets works just fine. …

Startup is a word that gets tossed around a lot and its definition takes on many forms. It’s a state of mind, a disruptive business, a new budding venture, and many other things. Yet there are no set of rules to the game, no magic recipe for success, nor scientific approaches, in spite of all the thousands of books and gurus (including us :-P) that address this topic. That’s why we’ve decided to take a deeper look at the most popular and widespread approaches to building innovative companies.

Startups are anything but traditional businesses

First, let’s do a brief comparison of how building a startup is different from building a traditional business. …

Republished from How to Web

Prior to speaking at the How to Web Conference, Valerica Dragomir asked me five questions about my views on entrepreneurship. Here is what came out of it.

Image for post
Image for post

HTW: How would you define an entrepreneur? What makes one more of an entrepreneur: the mindset, the skill set, or the network? How do you see entrepreneurship: more like a sprint or more like a marathon?

I don’t believe in recipes — not even in the kitchen since I love cooking (maybe this is the reason why my baking experiments are anything but edible). I believe that we (humans) are changing, evolving, slowing down, shifting focus, falling in love, obsessing over some things while completely ignoring other more important ones. …

As an entrepreneur, we should first be very good at finding the right problem, before spending weeks, months or even years building solutions. Sometimes, despite the fact our solutions are amazing technologies or superbly-written code, they fail because they don’t respond to real market needs. We only come to this realization after having built a product that doesn’t sell.

We can tackle this by doing thorough customer discovery, by building MVPs or by planning carefully. Yet we keep failing, getting up, trying again, and failing again. …

The number one cause of startup failure is the lack of a real need in the market, according to a recent post-mortem on startups. This reminded me of probably the most important lesson I’ve learned from my mentor and friend Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of the Disciplined Entrepreneurship books:

“The single necessary and sufficient condition for a startup to succeed is a paying customer”
— Bill Aulet, MIT

I’ve worked with Bill for the past few years, helping to spread the Disciplined Entrepreneurship approach, also teaching and coaching teams at the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, MIT Enterprise Forum, Singularity University, Future Innovators Summit, and many other acceleration programs around the world. During all these years, I saw a recurring pattern among startup founders, which is their obsession with the solution. They are so driven by their vision of a better technology, that they forget the most important things about startups, which I annoyingly remind every founder I talk to (including…

Eternime is launching its avatar service to first 100 users out of 30,000 on the waiting list, starting December 2015. The company aims to create the first network of personal Artificial Intelligence avatars.

Image for post
Image for post

The goal is to preserve thoughts, stories and memories for eternity, into digital clones that could perform natural conversations with other people. These avatars could become the oldest living digital entities known by the 22nd century and beyond.

Started as an experiment during the Entrepreneurship Development Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014, Eternime attracted interest from all around the world (more than 30,000 people signed up for the private beta) and became a controversial topic covered in hundreds of news in international media. …

Image for post
Image for post

Could an AI avatar collect all your thoughts and memories, then become a digital clone of yourself and “live” forever?

I’m not sure when the dream started. Seeds were planted in my mind by watching Blade Runner, The Final Cut or Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror, by reading Philip K. Dick’s Ubik or end-of-life rituals in Mircea Eliade’s works, and by experimenting with Alice bot and AIML as a conversational web interface back in 2001. …


Marius Ursache

CEO @ Metabeta (data-driven portfolio management for early-stage startup investments).

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store