Request for Feedback: scaling up to a larger founder team


(Disclaimer: x-posted from my blog)

I think a Silicon Valley founder team could scale up to 4-6 founders if it followed these guidelines:

  1. Adopt an authoritarian style, so you can make decisions quickly despite your larger size.
  2. Take screenshots randomly during the day. At periodic intervals, each founder then walks the rest of the founder team through his screenshots, using them as visual aids to explain what he's been working on. This allows the other team-members to understand his activities and make suggestions. This also provides more opportunities for team-members' work to be recognized.
  3. Everyone agrees to work 70 hours per week, to reduce social loafing, and also to reduce tensions and conflicts over perceptions of unfair workload distribution.

Thoughts? Also: have some of these been tried before, if so what lessons were learned?


asked Nov 18 '09 at 16:30
The Rational Entrepreneur
43 points

2 Answers


I agree with James here. This sounds like a bootcamp and not a startup.

Putting up such controls may temporarily boost efficiency but it will stifle creativity. One of the major reasons why individuals startup businesses is to free themselves from the confines of stringent rules and regulations usually found in the corporate world.

One needs to stop thinking about controls and figuring out how you are going to sell your next product/service. Focus on the things that really matter.

answered Nov 19 '09 at 07:11
Usman Sheikh
1,728 points
  • +1- On your bootcamp comment. :) – James Black 14 years ago


I would love to see the discussion as to who is the actual boss. I think (1) will be flawed.

(3) is flawed, as working 10hrs/day for some indefinite period will lead to incredible burnout, and anything that gets developed will have serious problems, which will doom the company.

(2) would be annoying, as, I may be deep in thought, solving a tricky problem, when it is time for the snapshot, breaking my concentration, and then it will take me a while to get back to where I was when I was interrupted, hence annoying me more.

Why not just have 4-6 people that are passionate about the product, have a common vision that they are working toward, and everyone does what they can to achieve that, realizing that it is more important to get something released quickly and add new features in a timely fashion than spending longer trying to get a perfect product.

I may be at the gym exercising, or sitting on the beach reading, but that doesn't mean I am loafing, but, I may be solving some tricky problem by moving to a place that is more relaxing, so I can concentrate on the problem with fewer distractions.

I would be annoyed under this system, and would probably be out the door before you got done explaining the third requirement.

answered Nov 18 '09 at 16:46
James Black
2,642 points

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