Last year I wrote an article on GigaOM about the ultimate lesson [learned] from my last startup: Knowing what matters to everyone involved is the most important thing when founding a company.
Knowing what matters requires you to:
- Think through your own values. Few people do. Ask yourself the really hard questions, and be brutally honest.
- Make sure you understand which values your fellow co-founders and early employees consider non-negotiable, and screen for them in yourself and others. If these values can’t be reconciled, it’s a showstopper.
- Make sure you understand which values your co-founders consider important but notnon-negotiable. Talk through what the lack of alignment means in practice: What types of issues may arise and how do you deal with them? Make sure everyone has the same expectations.
Several people who thought this made sense contacted me, because they weren’t sure how to operationalize the advice. Having learned from past mistakes, we created a set of “Value Alignment Questions” before starting Otelic.com. I’m sharing them with you below in the hope it will eliminate a lot of “WTF?!” moments for you down the road — whether you already have or are about to start a company.