Build right. Not up and to the right.
In a meeting with a repeat founder yesterday, I asked her what she learned from her last company — a successful business that impacted…
In a meeting with a repeat founder yesterday, I asked her what she learned from her last company — a successful business that impacted millions of people and where, at exit, everyone involved got financial wins.
“Time to think…I didn’t give myself time and space to think.”
She went on to say that in her “pursuit of beautiful curves” (and I think implied in that is growth curves future investors would like), she had forgotten about the things that would create step changes/real progress in her business. She was so focused on KPIs and how to improve each one, that she didn’t imagine the next product, marketing strategy or cultural imperative that would lead to an escape from her current orbit and the chance to do something much bigger.
I have seen this in founders and companies before — typically in taking on technical or product debt in an effort to make charts show growth week over week or with ramped up marketing spend or upside down unit economics and longer and longer pay back periods justified by new assumptions around LTV or more aggressive cost savings at scale— but I had never heard it articulated as succinctly.
It is a good reminder for founders. Don’t take on cognitive debt. Make time to think. Build your company, not the graphs you think investors want to see.