Top three things I want to remember from this book and hopefully follow in work and life.
- It is not easy to build a team on top of honesty and candor. This is not because people are bad or not trustable. We slowly lose the honesty and candor as we grow big. We all try our best to avoid hard conversations/feedback. We all want to keep things the way it is. We need to put a ton of steps in the right direction to build a team of honesty and candor.
- One needs to put the right steps in place to protect the ideas in the early stage (aka “the ugly babies”). If you’ve read the book “The Mom Test: How to Talk to Customers and Learn If Your Business is a Good Idea when Everyone is Lying to You”, then this is completely against what everything you might have read in that. It is always hard to ‘predict’ which idea is going to win and which is going to lose.
- Planning for failure is hard. Harder than all of us think. We all are optimistic. Especially founders are horribly optimistic. I wish I get better at this one. Even while reading the book, I was more focused on avoiding failure rather than going through one.
This book is an amazing read for early founders, managers, and HR folks. The book explains the way how to build the culture in a company.
The only caveat is to avoid the temptation of doing the same things mentioned in the book (like removing the big table in a board room or creating a group like Braintrust). Every company builds its own culture. Taking inspiration from other successful companies and copying from other things are two different things.
Similarly, a company that creates a movie operates differently than a SAAS company. You get one big launch for a movie after months of hard work. And there is no way to fix bugs after the movie is launched. We ship code at least twice a day. We can (even though we avoid to) ship a bug in the morning and fix it by the evening.
Still a great read. The book had the right mix of stories, technology and culture.