Thoughts on execution

When it comes to startups, everybody has ideas, many of which are good. Yet only a few execute like the bad ass entrepreneur we all want to become: faster and better than the other guy working on the same thing. Great execution is hard. Real hard. And while everybody speaks about how important it is, nobody talks about how to do it. So lately I’ve been asking myself what separates the Zucks from everyone else? The list below is by no means complete or comprehensive, but it’s stuff that helps me become better when it’s time to step it up and execute.

For starters, know your objectives like the back of your hand. Most people know where they want to be, but very few know how they’re going to get there. A million members by the end of the year? That’s great. But how are you going to get there? What are your assumptions? What happens if the assumptions are wrong?

Once you know your objectives, use a planning methodology to make sure everyone is on the same page. At Brainient, we use John Doerr’s Objectives and Key Results framework. It helps our management team align the entire company to one main objective.

Build a world class team. The thing is, single-handed innovation is a myth. Steve Jobs was undoubtedly a genius, but he also had an amazing team behind that got things done. I’ve been lucky to have a core team of a few people who’ve been around ever since I started my first company. They are amazing and I know I can rely on them under any circumstances.

Focus. It’s obviously much easier to execute really well on fewer things. The problem comes when you have to decide which ones to focus on, and while there’s no right or wrong answer with this one, it’s always best to focus on the stuff that gets you more traction (whether that’s users or revenue).

Set tight deadlines. At Brainient, all our product efforts revolve around events (presentations, PR events, board meetings, etc). This gives us a hard date that we need to reach whenever we’re launching something. It keeps the team focused on executing as fast and as well as they can.

So that’s it. At the end of the day, the company with the best product has more chances to win than the one with a crappy product. Great products require great execution, which is the most valuable skill an entrepreneur can build.


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