Startup Shortcuts, Week of September 14th


What is the secret to a successful startup? That is a question with many answers. Via Techcrunch, this article offers three lessons learned from working with the Kogi BBQ company, a pioneer in the food truck industry. The main takeaway? Creating a culture that your employees and customers embrace.

Speaking of culture, this piece from the New York Times about Amazon is worth a read, if you haven’t already. The writers, Jodi Kantor and David Streitfeld describe a cutthroat workplace where dissension is encouraged and grueling hours are expected. Will such a Darwinian environment survive into the future? The folks at Fortune Magazine think not. “The fittest cultures today are human-centered, high-trust workplaces.”

Ever wonder why so many Unicorns grow in Silicon Valley? LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman has an answer. “The reason,” he says, “is the best Silicon Valley startups understand that so-called first mover advantage only gets a company so far. To win the game, it has to be the “first mover at scale.” This movement at scale is known as Blitzscaling, another term to add to your startup dictionary.

Looksery, a company founded in 2013, serves as a case in point for Hoffman.

After a successful kickstarter campaign, Looksery launched its face-modification app in October 2014. Even with its innovative technology, Looksery was not the first “mover at scale” in the video chat network and was acquired by SnapChat on September 15, 2015. Not a bad move, considering it netted them a cool $150 million according to one source. While they didn’t win the game, Looksery sure made a profit.




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