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).

OKRs are a management performance framework, first created by Andy Grove at Intel and used today by Google, Twitter, and thousands of high-growth startups. This article offers a practical way of implementing OKRs, based on my 20+ years of experience as a founder, and on my many mistakes.


  • 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…

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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

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.

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. …

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

It is 2015 and we are closer to launching the Eternime avatar that will eventually become your digital alter ego, your immortal bits-and-bytes clone. Two years, two pivots, all personal savings invested, a new team, more than 30,000 people waiting for it, and we’re one step further on this amazing journey, ready to launch and start fundraising for the next chapter. The past two years have been “part poetry, part hero’s journey, part weird Tarantino movie” as a friend of mine says, so here’s the story of the Eternime journey until today.

I’m not sure when the dream started. Seeds…

Marius Ursache

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

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