The Incumbents Digital Dilemma: Why Digital Disruption Demands New Skills in the Boardroom

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on LinkedIn here Competing in a digital world requires companies to recognize a simple fact: we are rapidly moving from an era where systems support humans to one where humans will support systems. No company is immune from the inevitable disruption that digital technology is bringing. Forget about software “eating the enterprise.” Software is fast becoming the enterprise. The pace and scale at which this change is happening is mind-boggling and unprecedented. Whether we like it or not, the foregone conclusion for directors is that we are now all in the technology business. Not only have the ways in which customers purchase products, consume services, and interact with organizations shifted (although they have, radically), but human expectations have also altered irrevocably. Consumers now expect their experiences be seamless and their products intuitive and customized. The demand for everything to be mobile, transparent,
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Diversity in Tech: How can the innovators crack this code?

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on LinkedIn here A few months ago, I spoke about culture and microbehaviors at a tech company’s conference in San Francisco. To illustrate what “microbehaviors” are and how they can cause a feeling of exclusion, I described the difficulty I often have as an Irish person—unschooled in American sports—contending with the baseball metaphors my colleagues use all the time. As I relayed my frustration, the audience started to giggle. Since the group included plenty of non-Americans, I assumed I had touched on a common experience. However, as the laughter continued, I glanced over to the side of the stage and noticed the CEO blushing. Unbeknownst to me, his big kick-off speech right before my session had been full of “hit it out of the park” and “swing for the fences” baseball sayings to rally his employees now that their company was “playing in
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How to Hire at a Product Led Company

Product led growth is behind the rise of some of the largest SaaS companies including Slack, Expensify and Dropbox. To learn more about not only this go-to-market strategy, but how to hire for product roles at a product-first company, I spoke with Jack Shay, VP of Product at Pipefy. Below, some key takeaways from our discussion. The following has been edited and condensed for clarity. Amanda Walker: What is the role of product growth? Jack Shay: At the basic level a product owner should always be thinking about growing their product. The growth role just puts extra emphasis on being more of a cross-functional leader who can communicate how to think about ways the product grows the company. He/she thinks about how to engage other functions and teams about the philosophy of product helping to support growth all day every day across the business. It requires perhaps a bit more
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How to Keep Candidates Engaged through a Long Interview Process

The duration of the hiring process has steadily increased in recent years. In fact, research from Glassdoor shows the process has lengthened by a day from 2014 to 2017, with a 15% increase in the time to hire from 2009 to 2017. While the increase in time may seem like a mere inconvenience to recruiters, it can also negatively impact the candidate experience. In fact, more than half of candidates surveyed in 2016 agreed that when the hiring process takes too long, they lose interest and move on to other opportunities. One solution to keep candidates engaged is to reduce the time between interview steps, and therefore keep the overall hiring process shorter. This can often be difficult, especially in the summer months when hiring slows down, or if your interview process requires multiple steps. Instead, there are a few ways recruiters and hiring managers can keep candidates engaged
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Why Diversity in the Workplace is More Important than Ever

In today’s competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever for companies to find ways to gain a competitive edge. The fight for a competitive advantage begins with your hiring practices. However, when evaluating the quality of their staff, employers often fail to consider one important factor: diversity. Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, diversity in the workplace is more important today than it has ever been. As our country becomes more open and diverse, so too does your company’s need to find ways to appeal to those groups if it is to survive.

Encourage a Learning Culture

There are so many things that people from different generations, cultural backgrounds, and walks of life can learn from one another. Older employees have decades of wisdom and lived experience. Younger generations have a fresh perspective and a firm grasp on cutting edge technology. An employee raised in poverty
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The Art of Management Team Rituals

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on Medium here. As your company grows from 10 to 200 people, new challenges begin to pop-up every day— like structuring your management team, sharing information internally, aligning your board/managers/employees while also keeping the team focused on the right goals. Do you recognize any of these?
  • Lack of alignment between C-Levels
  • Unclear key milestones for the next 2 quarters
  • No clear understanding of your budget constraints
  • Requests from your board for things you are unable to provide
  • Difficulties convincing your managers and employees
If so, then, you need to read the following article and build your own management rituals with your team. To be honest, I have experimented with a lot of methodologies over the past 20 years— first, as a CEO/COO of different software companies, and then as an operating partner at Serena (OKRs, holocracy, fully asynchronous communication, holding one-on-one meetings). One of
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Looking to hire sales & engineering talent? Open your next office here.

Selecting a second headquarters is a complicated decision – just ask Amazon, which is in the midst of a massive and widely publicized search for a second HQ now. According to The New York Times, economic growth and quality of life make Denver the clear winner. While Bloomberg used ATTOM Data Solutions to pinpoint Raleigh, NC. With so many opinions and data sources, it’s crucial to know what factors actually matter most when you’re looking to expand the physical footprint of your business. For a startup looking to expand to the US, selecting a location that will attract the right talent is a must. And both time-to-fill for an opportunity and compensation required to be competitive are at the top of the list. In order to determine the size of a location’s talent pool, it’s necessary to first prioritize hires that need to be made. According to LinkedIn’s Recruiting Trends
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Unbiased Hiring: Tactical Tips to Help Your Build Stronger, More Diverse Teams

Editor’s Note: The following article is based on a recent episode of OpenView’s BUILD podcast. You can listen to the full episode featuring Kate Glazebrook, co-founder and CEO of Applied here. Building a team that embraces diversity and inclusion can be challenging for any company, and some might say particularly challenging for tech companies. It is difficult to eliminate the hidden biases that exist in the traditional hiring process, but I recently had the chance to talk with someone who is a pioneer working to solve this exact problem. Kate Glazebrook is the co-founder and CEO of Applied, a technology platform that uses behavioral and data science to remove bias from hiring decisions. In layman’s terms, it’s a hiring platform that helps you find the best person for the job, regardless of their background. Kate started her career as an economist in the Australian government. While the connection between
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Five Tactical Tips to Improve Diversity for Pitch Event Organizers

Editor’s Note: The following is an abridged version of an article written by Rei Wang, Director of Dorm Room Fund at First Round Capital, after her experience as a judge for the entertainment and content category at the 10th annual SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event. From that experience, where not a single entrant was a female nor underrepresented minority, Rei noted that much of the writing around diversity and inclusion is about why it’s important. Yet, there are few resources for event organizers on how to actually improve diversity at their events. The following is Rei’s advice to them. Each tip below is accompanied by an interaction with Chris Valentine, Event Producer of SXSW Accelerator, to serve as inspiration for other event organizers. You can read Rei’s full article about her experience at SXSW here.
Here are five tips inspired by conversations on Twitter, research on the internet, and my
Dorm Room Fund voluntary diversity questions
List of black women in VC
Christie Pitts
Paradigm diversity consulting
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How to be a Manager

When I graduated college, I felt the insatiable pull to join a startup. I became Chief Operating Officer at a bootstrapped tech startup in Boston and stepped into the role with the overconfidence that only a naive recent-grad could have. Not surprisingly, everything I tried to do to build our business was much harder than I could have possibly imagined. I found myself bombarded with internal questions such as:
  • How do we build a qualified sales pipeline?
  • What do we do when a customer is upset?
  • How do we make sure to pay the right amount of taxes?
While these questions kept me up at night, perhaps the most difficult question that I faced was: how do we build a great team and manage people effectively? I’m not unique: most founders or newly promoted managers have no formal management training and instead are learning by trial and error. Needless to
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