Not long ago I had referenced a media article about Google’s partnership with Barnes and Noble. It came to mind while reading some of the media articles about Amazon opening up a physical store to enable same-day pick up of online orders placed through its Amazon.com site. It’s not the first time that Amazon has laid the foundation for integrating its online offerings with the offline world, but it certainly sparks excitement and ideas for innovations and technologies that connected the online and offline consumer market. For startup entrepreneurs and investors, this is a great arena to watch. There have been multiple new startups in the space and we can likely expect more to come in the future.
We often hear about the exciting, invigorating and fun elements of owning a startup business. In reality, startup business can mean a great deal of stress, strain, fears, and a range of other challenges for entrepreneurs and executives. This only increases as companies attempt to reach critical outcomes, be it funding, scaling, IPO, acquisition or pivot. Burnout and other challenges are very real, and have the potential to hurt the company and staff if gone without notice or addressed. But as with any issues at a company, this can also be managed — even avoided — with a few specific steps.
First, understanding that both you and your staff can get run down or overwhelmed is an important part. That doesn’t mean you want to see personal days and time off escalate — but knowing it can happen can go a long way in successfully avoiding and managing it in your organization. Second, keeping in tune with yourself and your team is key. Have you been working 14 hour days for several days in a row? Is your staff regularly waking up early to tackle issues or problems, on top of the typical 8-10 hour day? While this can be common at a startup company, no one (not even you!) can sustain or endure it long-range, no matter how great the benefit might be once the work is done. By noticing fatigue and other issues at their onset, you can better assess and work around them.
Third, set the pace for yourself and all in the organization. You absolutely need to work hard, and get work done. But working hard and getting work done does not necessarily mean a frenetic, stressful pace is required. It can mean extra hours or time at work during crunch times or development pushes, but it can often mean a need for more streamlined or realistic expectations and processes. Keep an eye on how things are going, and what it might take to complete projects, at all times.
Last, you want to make the job easier where you can. That doesn’t mean installing a foosball table to give everyone a chance to have fun and improve morale. Rather, ask yourself and your staff what might help relieve stress, strain or prevent burnout — it might be as simple as shifting work hours to a different format than the traditional 9-5, hiring an assistant to handle personal tasks and errands, or other unexpected means to solve the problem.
VentureBeat had a recent article that discussed data regarding women at VC firms. The continued effort to increase diversity throughout the tech industry is great for women, but also great for the business and this includes VC organizations. While men bring talent and skills to the VC industry, women possess unique insight that also has value. We often have a touch to women-centric or targeted technologies and solutions, as well as a pulse to the overall female market and consumer. With women said to make up nearly half of the technology business today, and 74% of women consumers overall using social networks and other technology, there is without question investment potential and opportunity. Not only can women in VC investment bring benefit here, but in management, leadership and more across all of an investment portfolio. I hope to see more women take interest in careers in venture capital and other areas of technology finance.
I participated on a great panel about mobile data at the 2014 Kairos Global Summit this past week. The panel discussion took a look into mobile data and its dynamic role in both the present world we are in and the future, as well as where opportunities might exist for young people to get involved and what solutions may be needed. Thank you to the Kairos Global Summit for having me participate. Photos by Getty Images.
I’ve shared thoughts about how colleges can grow women participation in computer science programs this past week on The Huffington Post. I was among the early group of women to participate in a university science program years ago at Berkeley. It’s led to so many wonderful opportunities and experiences. I’d love to see more people enter the field, including women. You can read the article here.
I graduated from Berkeley, one of the first universities in the country to draw women into computer science years ago. It regularly includes a lot of great startup events of all kinds on its website for entrepreneurs, innovators, executives, students and more. The listings include both at the school campus as well as throughout the country. The value of attending events can go far beyond learning to connecting with peers, new opportunities and more. You can view its ongoing startup events and other listings here.
I participated in a great article about women in technology business in ENTweak this past week. The article discusses and explores the roles that women are currently choosing in the technology industry, along with what might help increase and drive further growth among women in technology careers. It’s a good read with some outstanding insight from several others in the industry. I’ve talked further about how to take women in tech to the next level here as well. Thank you to ENTweak for including me in the article this week.