Five Start-up Mistakes Not to Make, Courtesy of Meebo

meebo-logoI’m writing from FailCon today which is shaping up to be an excellent use of a Tuesday.  I have a lot of opinions about conferences and two of the things I look for in a conference are that speakers are forced to prepare relevant, thoughtful content beforehand.  And the dress is casual.  FailCon meets both of these needs. Kudos!

Seth Sternberg and Sandy Jan, co-founders of Meebo revealed five mistakes they made.

1) Don’t try to do it all on your own. You need co-founders.

2) Don’t team up only with people like you. People have a tendency to attract similar people with similar skill sets, which can greatly hurt a team.  Find people whose skills complement yours.

3) Don’t make decisions behind closed doors. Sternberg and Jan described how they would initially make decisions amongst the management team behind closed doors on a Sunday and report the results to the team on Monday without sharing the context.  Much better to include the team in that process so that everyone has ownership.  That said, this is a fine line to walk as spreading decision making power amongst too many people can slow things down.

4) Don’t outsource your hiring. If you want to do it well, keep recruiting and hiring in house.  (Recruiters out there will hate to read this).  Recruiting should be a competency of your own company.   After a miserable experience with a recruiter, Meebo now has recruiters in house and a hiring culture.   People know the metrics they’re measured on as they’re hired – team, culture fit, and talent.

5) Don’t try to do more than one thing well. It’s nearly impossible to do more.  What that one thing is can change over time.

Amie runs Cobblestone Solutions, LLC, a consultancy focusing on business development, marketing, communications and strategy for mission driven companies. Previously, Amie served as Director of Business Development for Viv (a Bay Area environmental start-up), Program Manager for Social Venture Technology Group (a boutique consulting firm focused on measuring social and environmental impact), and Associate Consultant at Bain & Co (a global management consulting firm). She is particularly interested in innovations that reduce waste, altering consumer behavior for good, and leveraging the power of business to solve the climate crisis. You can read more from her on her blog, on, and on JustMeans.

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