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Famous venture capital partners: 23 practical experiences and lessons on company construction (I)

2022-05-07 15:52:0536kr

The Bureau of translation is 36 Krypton's compiler team , Focus on Technology 、 business 、 In the workplace 、 Life and other fields , Focus on the introduction of foreign new technology 、 A new view 、 New wind .

Editor's note : Among many start-ups , Only a handful of companies will eventually succeed , There are few companies that can develop into large-scale companies . This article comes from compiling , This article introduces the payment giant Stripe Notes and collaboration tools Notion Christina, who is an executive of the company · Cordoba (Cristina Cordova) To share the 23 Practical experience and lessons about company construction , Hope to inspire you . Because of space , The article is divided into three parts . The first part focuses on taking a more proactive approach in your entrepreneurial career .

Cristina · Cordoba (Cristina Cordova)

In terms of career development , Some start-up business operators have a clear development path . such as , From sales representative to sales manager to vice president of sales ; From software engineer to engineering director to vice president of Engineering ; From marketing manager to Chief Marketing Officer . The career path of others is relatively less clear . for example , There is no obvious law on the career development path of business developers , They are usually the first non engineering employees in start-ups , But have the ability to work on products 、 operating 、 Business development, even data science and development publicity .

If you are an aspiring start-up Manager , Happens to belong to the above category , So planning a broader career for yourself is often very challenging . And from another point of view , All this is not so clear . From the founder's point of view , Recruiting these types of employees marks a new chapter in the development of start-ups . The focus of the company has shifted from the construction of early products to the construction of the company , The organizational structure is also growing . All of a sudden , You have to interview many candidates , And try to manage multiple teams beyond your professional skills .

Whatever your current situation , Cristina · Cordoba (Cristina Cordova) Can provide you with practical advice . She has worked in a number of start-ups , She positioned her duties as “ Between business and product ”. She thinks , Although I learned the professional knowledge of business development and partners , But she also worked as a product marketer at a critical juncture of the company's development , Managed the engineering team , Initiated diversity 、 Fairness and inclusiveness (DEI) Initiative , He has also been responsible for recruiting employees in many positions, including growth product managers and developers .

Besides , Cordoba is also an experienced angel investor . She has invested a total of 50 Multiple startups , Success has helped many entrepreneurs overcome many thorny problems and challenges in the process of company construction .

It's valuable to share these lessons with us in Cordoba's article , Because she has worked in a series of well-known technology companies , stay SaaS、 We have accumulated profound working experience in the fields of financial technology and development tools .

Her career began with news reading application innovation company Pulse( Later, it was acquired by Lingying, a well-known recruitment platform ), As the first batch of employees of the company , She honed and improved her trading and distribution capabilities . And then , She is the first 28 Join as an employee Stripe company , Worked in this payment giant for seven years , Build partnerships from scratch , And set up a new business department , Lead the company's credit card (Corporate Card) And embedded commercial banking services Treasury And so on 0 To 1 Breakthrough and development of .2020 year , She's back in the start-up business world again , Added note collaboration tools Notion, As the head of platform and Partnership , Launched the company's long prepared application program interface (API), And set up a self-help growth team .

Below, we will share Cordoba's experience in creating and expanding the company . Whether you're the founder who wants to grow and create your own team , Or operators who want to plan a high impact career , The suggestions shared by Cordoba have important reference value . in addition , She also shared a lot of practical experience , Help you improve your negotiation skills and create API file , Guide you on how to divide your functions correctly , And the recruitment of new posts . All in all , These contents are worth collecting , For future use .

One 、 I have the final say in my career

1. Challenge yourself , Make yourself more “ Technical style ”

One of Cordoba's strengths is her ability to connect business and Technology .“ Early in my career , I don't like this division of fields , I think there must be a wall between the two . What I prefer to see is , When everyone is sitting together , Some of them will say ,‘ Which department are you from ?’” She said .

This ability is also very important for business development . Cordoba said :“ This may also be a mandatory requirement . But as a non-technical person engaged in product work , Even if you think ‘ I don't need to know technology .’ You'd better and should be able to read and understand API file . first , To overcome this problem , I often remind myself , Although the engineers in the team have advantages in some aspects , But I also have advantages in other aspects , There is nothing we can't learn at all .”

“ The first startup I worked for , At that time, there was no recruitment of data scientists , So in the end, I had to let my colleagues teach me how to use SQL, In this way, I can extract the data myself and expand the group analysis . Slowly, , I became the one who regularly fed back information about group data .” Cordoba said ,“Stripe Patrick, the two founders of the company · Crimson (Patrick Collison) John · Crimson (John Collison) They are good at encouraging employees to learn technical content . stay Stripe company , Some people start out in user support or sales , Later, he transformed into a formal engineer of the company .”

Another useful suggestion is to pay less attention to your skill set , Pay more attention to how to help others in their work .“ When I started in Stripe Working hours , I've been trying to use a typical 、 A way to please , Make the work of engineers easier . When I learned that an engineer was very reluctant to participate in the 10 At a partner meeting , I just wonder if I can try to learn these contents , So they don't have to come .” Cordoba said ,“ Actually , It's not difficult. , You just need to say to them ,‘ I know we've had a lot of these meetings , One day we can Eat together Lunch ? You can give me a brief introduction , So I can better understand the underlying framework .’”

If you are a start-up company, the first batch of business developers , Then you can't be afraid to touch technology . What you should consider is , What can I do to make the product and engineering team easier to deal with their work or reduce their workload in customer meetings and so on ?

“ In my spare time , I will practice how to communicate details in different technical depths , It may include in-depth communication with technicians , Or introduce the general situation to the business personnel . In either case , I will make sure they really understand what I share .” Cordoba said .

Just promote communication and understanding , Cordoba specifically shared two suggestions :

  • Cater to their point of view . Try to understand their job responsibilities , And what they may be concerned about related to a technical topic .“ for example , When introducing new to the financial staff API Interface program , I will focus on the capital flow that they may be more concerned about .”

  • Integrate various skills .“ Maybe you can draw the flow of money on the slide , Or tell a story , such as ,‘ When Uber When a passenger initiates a ride order request , We will call API To ensure that their bank cards can be used normally on our side , At the end of the order , We will call API Deduct money from the passenger's card .’ People who listen to me may not understand API What is the call , But let them understand the whole process through this description , It will help them have a general understanding .”

2. Be diligent in observing others ( And learn from others )

“ Like many women in technology , I haven't received much guidance in my career that is conducive to personal development . Of course , I've worked with some very good bosses before , But there is still a clear difference between a mentor and a boss , The former can provide you with a broader perspective beyond your company and specific position . I'm always timid , Dare not say to others ,‘ Hello! , Can I delay you for half an hour ?’ Based on that , I just started offering career planning courses to friends who are at a critical stage of their career .” Cordoba said .

“ But it's like Stripe Such a rapidly rising start-up , I learned a lot just by being diligent in observing others . I also studied how my respected company leaders run and manage the company , And secretly learned those strategies I like .” Cordoba added .

Maybe your boss is busy at work , There is no time to directly guide you in developing your skills , But it's also helpful for you to observe the rest of the team in private . If you want to learn as much as possible in a startup , You must actively focus on your own growth .

This principle also applies outside the company .“ Early in my career , Especially when I just graduated for half a year , My startup is small , No product manager . There's one on the BBC (BBC) A woman in a senior product position , The follow-up email was very organized . I still keep this email , Not because there's something important in it , Instead, I have been using her communication style as a template for future cooperation and communication .”

In mail ,BBC The lady first expressed her views on the previous talks , At the same time, written contents have been formed for the contents of the talks and the next steps . To be specific , The letter divides these contents into advertisements 、 technology 、 Marketing and public relations 、 Law and other four parts , And made a summary and next action plan accordingly .

3. Ask these questions before joining a startup

“ Because I often have professional conversations with people , The most common problem I find is ,‘ How should I plan my career development next ?’ Especially in today's labor market , There are still many opportunities as a whole , On the contrary, people don't know how to choose . But in fact , The company you choose is the most important factor , This is better than the title 、 Other factors such as scope of responsibility or salary are more important .” Cordoba said ,“ Although venture capitalists and angel investors can invest in multiple companies in a short time , And expect a return from one of these investments , But as a job seeker, you , only one choice .” Cordoba said .

First , Spend more time thinking about whether this company is suitable for you .

Regarding this , Cordoba thinks so :“ I will pay more attention to companies with large market share or rapidly expanding market . In this respect ,Stripe The company is an ideal choice , It has great potential in payment business and e-commerce . Besides , I will also try to understand the market feedback after the release of a product . for example , Through the content aggregation platform HackerNews Many posts about Stripe The discussion of the , Let me have confidence in this company , It's not hard to find , Its products can basically resonate with developers .”

But based on her experience in investing and joining startups , Cordoba often focuses most on the founding team .“ Many things will change with the change of business or market , But usually the constant factor is the founder himself . I also realized , It doesn't make much sense to compare the styles and types of different founders . such as ,Notion Founder Zhao Yi (Ivan Zhao) and Stripe Patrick is very different , But as the founder , They are all very successful .” She said .

For further information , While the founding team interviews you , It's best to ask yourself the following questions :

  • Is the founder one of the best people to create products in this industry ? Do they belong to the target audience ? Or do they know the market customers ?

  • Whether they can be full of enthusiasm for decades ?“2015 year ,Notion The story of founders having to start a business from scratch , It's a case in point .” Cordoba said ,“ Besides , When I first met the crimson brothers , I'm sorry they're Stripe Know nothing about the problems you need to face and deal with , But I was deeply infected by their enthusiasm .”

  • Can they tell the company story well ?“ During the interview , What you need to focus on is how they view this opportunity .”

  • Do they focus on things other than products ?“ Many founders of start-ups are focused on creating a product that everyone loves , This is not unreasonable . But I was Stripe During the company interview , What I found was , The two founders are already considering recruiting 、 Customer retention and even corporate culture are all elements of building a cross era company .”

  • Whether they will cover up the challenges they face ?“ During the interview , The question I like to ask in person is ,‘ Considering the current stage , In which field do you think your company is still relatively backward ?’ Through the other party's answer , You may get some unexpected discoveries , And find some areas where you can help but are not part of the job responsibilities .”

  • If something goes wrong , Can I trust the founders to make the right decisions ?“ If layoffs are necessary , Whether they will be kind to their employees ? Or only part of the team will be treated well ?”

  • Is the other person worthy of my learning ?( Even if this person's job function is completely different from mine , It's worth asking .)

  • When I'm with this team , Do I think I'm the smartest of them ?( The answer should not be .)

4. Be a vacancy filler

“ Serial entrepreneur elard · Jill (Elad Gil) Put forward ‘ Fill the vacancy ’ The concept of , I've always liked this expression very much .Stripe The company developed very fast before , Therefore, someone is needed to fill the vacancy in the organization . It is worth noting that , You should grow with the company , Instead of letting the company grow around you .” 

Regarding this , Cordoba specifically shared two suggestions :

  • Don't just look for help , You should take the initiative to be a helper .“ It's easy for us to fall into a mode of thinking , Just when things don't go well , Start blaming , under these circumstances , It's even harder to find a way to make things better . Do you often look for new ways to help people around you ? Don't get frustrated because your boss has been too busy lately , You should think from another angle , Think about what you can do to help them ?”

  • Undertake other work .“ My focus is on dealing with partnerships , But in addition, I will take on other responsibilities . Before , After an engineering manager left , I temporarily assumed the management of the engineering team . Besides , Someone is specially responsible for DEI Before initiating related work , For more than a year , I have also been leading this work .” Cordoba said ,“ These experiences have also helped me build a reputation , Expose me to more functions , Promote your own development . To get a promotion , Often requires cross departmental work experience . Final , With the continuous development of the company , I also got the opportunity to lead a new business unit .”

In the workplace , You should try to take on more other work , For example, help form a new Department , Or supervise or lead a new project . These jobs outside my own job responsibilities , It just provides me with more opportunities that are more conducive to personal development .

Extended reading :

translator : Junyi

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