On Real Agility and Competitive Advantage

The Scrum Alliance recently released their yearly report (download here) which gives a broad-sweeping overview of how organizations of all sizes are applying an Agile-based approach to building software to not only remain relevant but to innovate and create true, long-lasting competitive advantage.

And what they’ve found is that the agile methodology is not only being applied outside of the immediate world of information technology and software development but now also around business practices as a whole. The philosophy Agile Frameworks and Scrum clearly allow for these creative applications!

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Pinning Culture

For starters, let’s just put it plainly: We’ve been busy. Actually, very busy. And it’s the good kind of busy, if you get what I’m saying.

Sure, we’re still building product and finding digging in deeper into what will really resonate with early customers. And yes, we’re working even closer with some of those folks and giving a deeply empathetic ear to their needs and desires and struggles that we believe we can solve.

Same old, same old.

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We Believe in Remote

One of the larger news stories to break today is the behemoth IBM telling their staff of nearly 400,000 employees that if they want to keep their job that they have to now show up, physically, in an IBM office:

As part of the new policy, employees who work remotely will need to pack up their laptops and everything else and return to a company office if they want to keep their jobs.

Yikes.

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On Doubling Down

I’m not a card player and I barely know the rules of poker, but, I did share a room with someone who was super-serious about his game while in college and because he hosted many game nights in our small room I picked up a thing (or two).

In blackjack the term “doubling down” is a move that can promise a larger reward and outcome but only if the player is willing to also take a larger risk. If the player feels confident then you have the option to double your bet and then you pray and hope for the best.

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A Logo in Action

As our product matures and as we start working closely with early customers, it’s high time that we figured out how to best represent ourselves.

More specifically, we’ve been dialoguing as a team what our brand icon and typography might look like and we had an extended conversation last night as we walked through a few concept pieces.

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An Open Source Company Handbook

One of the things that I’m very excited about it is growing our team beyond the founders. This is something that I had the very special privilege of doing in my last venture where I hired the first 40+ folks to the team.

To add a bit more flavor and context, I hired those folks within the span of 12 months and our retention rate was 13%, which is phenomenal compared to what typically happens in hyper-growth startups where the retention/attrition rate is greater than 40% per year, generally speaking.

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The First of Many

We’ve got a busy week this week as we work on product, work through early customer feedback, and even chat with a few venture partners for what we know is an exciting opportunity to seriously impact software companies of every single size.

It can get so busy at times that we easily forget to appreciate the small things, be grateful for all that we have, and I have to be explicitly reminded of how great of a pleasure it is to build something that I believe matters.

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On Building an Audience

One of the most competitive things that you and I can do as builders and creators of products and companies is tell the story of not only what we’re building but also why we’re building it.

This allows you to do many things that end up being a major competitive advantage for you and your growing business, especially if you’re starting from scratch (i.e. early-stage startup).

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On Growing the Culture

We’ve been building a lot of momentum around the product and we’ve been very fortunate to land on something (iteratively) that deeply resonates with folks, especially our early customers.

This means, of course, that we’ve attracted a little bit of attention with financial parters and venture capitalists and we’re honored and humbled for that type of attention. The conversations have been fun, enlightening, and very challenging – just like any good relationship should be, right?

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