Although I seek out personal recommendations for products, services, and experiences from family, friends, and locals whenever possible, I’ve also routinely relied upon online review sites like Yelp to inform purchasing decisions.

Unfortunately, I’ve recently been forced to conclude that Yelp ratings can be dramatically inconsistent with reality. I think most people know to take online reviews with a grain of salt, especially in an era of fake Amazon reviews. Even within the Yelp world, I think most users know that the reliability of reviews can be hit or miss, and a certain calibration is needed to interpret ratings.

However…


It’s easy to miss that your startup might have latent communication problems when all is going well. Unforgivingly, if they exist, they’re likely compounding.

Communication problems sneak up on a startup because the number of potential information flows between team members scales exponentially with team size. If that doesn’t immediately make sense, check out the next few images.

To maintain good communication, startup leaders have to continuously revisit and adjust their communication processes as information complexity rises between their team members.

What works when the team is just 2 people with 2 potential information channels will not necessarily work when…


You may have heard the insight that the very best startups in hindsight often looked like terrible ideas at the time of their Seed fundraises. While it’s an intellectually intriguing framework, it’s not immediately useful to put into action for most startup investors or startup founders. On its own, it’s more like a good coffee table picture book — sort of profound, but not necessarily something you’d make life changes based upon.

However, I thought I’d use it as a starting point to explain a way to think about the world that could very well lead you to spot the…


There’s a lot of content available online about OKRs, short for Objectives and Key Results, a management framework for attaining team alignment, measurement, forward progress, and other benefits. Some of them might lead you to wonder, “Ok, I understand what OKRs are now. Now what?”

“OKRs have helped lead us to 10x growth, many times over. They’ve helped make our crazily bold mission of ‘organizing the world’s information’ perhaps even achievable. They’ve kept me and the rest of the company on time and on track when it mattered the most.” — Larry Page, co-founder of Google

Like Larry Page, I’m…


The narrative around blockchain has shifted over the years, as developers and users continue along the bumpy road to product-market fit. Decentralization, trust-less ledger, governance platform, store of value, means of transfer, fundraising platform, and asset registry have all had air time.

While these are all promising, the concept of by-default redundancy is a subtle and underrated benefit of blockchain.

Although today’s decentralized blockchains like Ethereum are still working to boost throughput, a key component of application availability, they already excel at redundancy. Once pushed to the blockchain, a transaction, which is a record of a transfer, and a smart…


I recently read “My Advice To Anyone Starting A Business Is To Remember That Someday I Will Crush You”, a satirical Onion article written in the voice of Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder & CEO.

It’s a joke, but beneath many jokes is a truth. In this case, the truth is that competition is cutthroat and ruthless.

So how does an ambitious startup founder crush their competition? Focus on your customers, deliver what people want better than anyone else, but architect and execute your customer focus with differentiators that fend off current and future competitors [1].

There are 2 types of…


Blockchain organizations face accelerated evolution

Fred Ehrsam recently observed that tokenized protocols [1] have a key advantage over traditional companies. This is because these blockchain-based protocols can evolve multi-modally:

Silicon Valley itself was borne from the “forking” of Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory by the Traitorous Eight, who created Fairchild Semiconductor. Fairchild was was then “forked” into Intel, AMD, and others. Rinse, repeat.


I recently wrote an email to one of our startup founders with a collection of hiring lessons learned by me and by some of our other founders.

I have violated each and every one of these maxims at some point, and have regretted it each and every time.

Sharing this in the hopes they’re helpful to you too:

  • Hire slow, fire fast, don’t compromise
  • Look for evidence of: being a fast riser in one’s career, going the extra mile, punching above one’s weight
  • Strong mission alignment and good culture fit = long term retention
  • Compensate competitively (as soon as you…

Alex Mittal

Co-Founder, FundersClub (Online VC & investor/shareholder at Slack, Instacart, Coinbase, GitLab & others)

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