BIJAN SABET

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One size doesn’t fit all

One thing you learn as a parent is how different one child is from another and as result what works for one kid doesn’t necessarily work for another. An example in our house: we have 1 kid in private school and 2 kids in public school.

I think there is a tendency in startup land to believe that what works in one place should work in another.

We see it all the time.

Former Google employees bring their “this is how we did it at Google” to a startup. Sometimes that works great, other times it can be jarring. (I don’t mean to pick on Google alum. I’m quite fond of recruiting great Google people. Many are crazy talented. This is just an example).

Venture capitalists and board members do this as well. They see something work in one portfolio company and they imagine it has to work at the next one. It could be monetization ideas, management structures, leadership styles, interaction styles between board members and CEOs or other such things.

There are other examples but hopefully you get the idea.

The power of startups is their own cultures, ideas and special gifts. Yes, you learn from past experiences but you make your own mistakes as well. You take risks perhaps you wouldn’t have taken in other environments. You hire different sort of teams. Designing software in a founder driven company is completely unique company to company.

You can’t cherry pick good things and try to duct tape them together. Each family is different and so is each startup.