Book Review: Dear Founder by Maynard Webb

Dear Founder is a comprehensive guide on how to get your business up and running and launch a successful startup. 

You will be able to both anticipate and overcome everyday obstacles on your way to the top by reading this book, which is packed full of useful tips and actionable advice from seasoned industry pros.

You may be wondering if you should read the book. This book review will tell you what important lessons you can learn from this book so you can decide if it is worth your time.

At the end of this book review, I’ll also tell you the best way to get rich by reading and writing

Without further ado, let’s get started. 

Lesson 1: The most successful startups start slowly and fire bad employees quickly

Webb was asked how he felt about firing someone during his first job interview. Webb believes he could manage it, but he does not anticipate having to do so. The interviewer burst out laughing. It didn’t take Webb long to figure out why.

Some people are simply not suited to their jobs. When asked how many employees he’d hire again after seeing them in action for two years, most managers will say that 80 percent of his decisions were correct. In the remaining 20%, you’d be better off replacing serial underperformers.

Companies with a long history are usually large enough to tolerate some dead weight in the form of mediocre employees. However, not all startups are the same. They can’t afford to waste money on people who don’t contribute because they have limited budgets and resources.

When there is no other option but to fire someone, it is critical to act quickly and decisively. Managers, unfortunately, frequently hesitate before making such a decision. There is an issue with that. Isn’t it true that one bad apple ruins the whole bunch? True, underachievers lower the morale of high achievers, who resent having to cover for someone who isn’t doing his or her fair share.

By acting quickly, you can avoid all of that trouble. Perhaps you can even save the employee by intervening and showing support at the right time. If that is not possible, you will have to end the relationship with a metaphorical axe.

Take your time when hiring to avoid an uncomfortable situation in the first place. Consider hiring a new employee as if you were giving away a limited number of Super Bowl tickets – you’d want to make sure they’re someone you can rely on, right? Consider intangible qualities such as a willingness to provide superior customer service if two applicants have nearly equal qualifications on paper.

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Lesson 2: To overcome stressful circumstances, remember that nothing lasts forever

Entrepreneurs are constantly under pressure. Webb is aware. In one case, he awoke at 5:00 a.m. to drive two hours to San Francisco for a meeting at 8:00 a.m. He quickly emailed a few people in the minutes before he left.

When he turned on his laptop, however, disaster struck: even with the correct password, he was unable to log in to his account. He couldn’t log in even after reloading the page. Webb was also suffering from a severe case of the flu. This added to the stress of an already stressful day.

In situations like these, you need to take a step back and take a deep breath. The simple act of remaining calm can sometimes make things appear better. Webb considered the situation after taking a few deep breaths. He discovered that the problem had been resolved after rebooting his computer.

When you’re the founder of a startup, you’re constantly confronted with stressful situations. It’s critical to remind yourself that whatever the situation appears to be, it will pass – especially if you commit to solving it. Nothing will improve if you panic. You only fall behind when you start acting like a headless chicken.

When you’re in a bind, a simple four-step plan to follow is to slow down, figure out what’s causing the problem, devise a solution, and put it into action right away.

To do so, you’ll need to take a break from your operational work to thoroughly investigate the problem. Furthermore, it is prudent to plan ahead for problems that may impede important tasks. The next step is to make a priority list. Last but not least, give yourself plenty of time to complete these tasks so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to complete them.

Lesson 3: Competition can make fundraising difficult, but it can also keep you on your toes

Yahoo created the Hipmunk search engine several years ago. Google dropped a bombshell that appeared to be the end of the project: it was developing a competing service. Yahoo suffered a significant setback. There’s a reason why fundraising is more difficult when up against a behemoth like Google.

The issue is that such a challenge frightens not only managers and employees, but also investors. It’s usually when they ask if you’re worried that you realize you should be. How do you deal with a rival who invades your territory?

To begin, you should reassure your supporters. This is because a single investor can cause a snowball effect, resulting in a mass exodus. Another piece of advice is to remain calm and patient. Don’t be concerned about raising less money during this period of uncertainty while you determine the extent of the threat.

It may seem difficult to remain calm in the face of a crisis, but remember this: at the time of writing, Yahoo’s Hipmunk still ranks ahead of Google Flights, according to Slant.

Also, keep in mind that when you’re anxiously surveying your competitors, competition isn’t always a bad thing. Think about the travel industry. Existing companies such as Expedia and Priceline banded together to defend their positions as Google prepared to enter the market.

By collaborating with Hipmunk, they put their own financial resources and expertise at the disposal of the latter, transforming a newcomer into an effective agent capable of thwarting the Silicon Valley behemoth’s takeover bid. That would not have happened without Google’s announcement!

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Lesson 4: Making sure a crisis is real and defusing it quickly is the best reaction

Consider a subway system attack. Reacting is necessary, but authorities must also ensure that they react appropriately. To put it another way, the best thing they can do is ensure that they are accurately assessing the situation. The same can be said for businesses.

To effectively deal with a crisis, you must first conduct an analysis: determine whether the crisis exists and, if so, how severe it is. Listening is a critical managerial skill that you must employ in order to achieve this. Your employees are usually the first to notice anything wrong. Keeping an ear to the ground is the best way to avoid problems!

When you hear that ominous rumble, you’ll need to put a system in place to determine how serious the threat is. Webb, for example, used a scale of zero to nine on eBay, similar to how the Richter scale is used to measure earthquakes. Small, low-priority niggles received the lowest priority, while large, complex problems received the highest.

As a result, a user who was unable to access eBay due to a computer bug would be ranked as a one. The issue was minor, and the company was unable to resolve it. When eBay’s backup program failed to run during the power outage, it was a code-red, level-nine issue.

What should you do in such situations? The only thing you can do is sound the alarm, gather everyone, and try to solve the problem as soon as possible. You may be concerned about what will happen if you place a frog in boiling water, but if you place one in warm water and gently boil it, it will remain in the water until it is too late!

Tesla is an example of a company that did not wait for the water to boil before proceeding. In 2015, their seatbelts were discovered to have a potential security flaw. Tesla responded quickly. They began working on a solution after recalling all affected vehicles. They would not only have put their customers’ lives in danger, but they would also have put themselves in serious legal trouble.

As a founder, you’ll never run out of ways to improve your game, whether you’re in charge of fundraising or delegation.

About the Author

Maynard Webb is an investor, former eBay CEO, and chairman of the Yahoo Board of Directors. Everwise, his startup that mentors entrepreneurs, also supports promising startups.

Carlye Adler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is the co-author of several books, including Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics (2017) and Startup Land (2014). She also contributes to magazines such as Business Week and Forbes.

Buy The Book: Dear Founder

If you want to buy the book Dear Founder, you can get it from the following links:

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