Focus – What is the real challenge?

David Mandell – Focus – What is the real challenge any startup CEO must understand.

So doing a startup is incredible chaotic and there are so many things you want to get done every day or could be doing. Every day you’re getting emails for customers or investors or friends saying hey you should do this, you should do this or go after this market or why haven’t you go after this market or how can you do this and we need this features and those feature and this isn’t working and fix that and you got HR issues and people issues and I think the real challenge for a CEO or anyone doing start-up is to understand how to focus.

You’re the one who has to have the vision about where the company needs to be on a long term basis and you have to be that cheerleader, and that leader, and you have to get people to kind of follow in behind that vision but at the same time you have to know how to say no and you have to focus on what do I have to get done this week, what matters for the next three months and that’s incredible challenging and a lot of that is the ability to say no. It’s the ability to understand alright, what really matters for these next three months and keeping everybody focused on those issues or those tasks and as a CEO I would say that’s one of your main and biggest priorities right? because everyone has a different perspective of what they should and could be doing and everyone thinks about it differently and you have to get everyone in line. And you have to know what’s the vision, what are we doing this week, what matter this week but not only what matters this week but why what we’re doing this week matters in the long term and where the company needs to be going. And understand your audience, their pain, your positioning, your strategy, your environment, all that is critical… but

knowing how to say no is a huge part of it because you can’t do everything and the problem is if you try to do too many things, you do too many things poorly.

So you have to focus as a team on what matters this week, over the next three months, over the next quarter, the next half a year and keep everyone alive and working towards those same issues and priorities and a lot of that has to do with how you speak, it has to do with how you communicate to the rest of your company, it has to do with how you manage your process from a debt perspective, what’s your script plan, what are the priorities, what gets into product, what doesn’t get into products?

But as a CEO I think one of you single biggest priority is to keep everybody focus.