$10,000 for a mural. Two things happen a lot at companies that just raised a bunch of money, especially a seed round. They start spending crazy amounts on things of no value (here: the mural.). And they do so without the proper approvals in place. It takes time for many Founders to understand that must be approved BEFORE they are committed, not after. And that establishing budgets are a good idea for startups too, considering they’re always running out of cash.
TechCrunch Disrupt (TCD). The major tech and VC event at the time. TechCrunch holds many such conferences all around the world. As you will later see, “battlefield” means that startups pitch a jury one after the other, and one of them wins a monetary reward.
Corporate culture. This one may not look significant, especially when things are just getting started. Still, studies on hypergrowth have shown that corporate culture is one of the factors in holding the Company together when so many recruits arrive, and complexity increases manifold. That being said, imposing an Hooli-type culture at an early-stage startup like Pied Piper may be overdoing it.
Turning down $10 million. Although Richard’s naïveté is touching and not uncommon, Founders need to keep in mind they are often misaligned with VCs. For one, investors manage a portfolio of shareholdings while Founders have all their eggs in the same basket.
Scrum. This and other techniques are necessary as the team becomes bigger, and the projects they handle more complex. Speed of execution and productivity are critical in startups because they need to add value to raise the next funding round to finance their growth.
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