“Managing people is hard, and I don’t have time to get better at it.”


Most managers at startups don't start out as managers.

You joined a startup when it was tiny and became one of its earliest, most valuable members. Now, that startup is not that tiny. Somewhere along the way, you found yourself responsible for the output of other people’s work.

Congratulations! You're now a manager.

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But then ... you realise that management is difficult.

It feels like you're always dealing with an internal problem, when what you want to do is to focus on the business, or on your work — the external-facing bits of doing a startup!

You also realise the difficulty with management is unexpectedly different:


  • Your tasks never seem to end, and your schedule looks like it was drawn by someone from hell. Your days are filled with random tasks. What garbage is this? How do you know that the busy-work you're doing all day has done any good?
  • Every once in awhile, a subordinate quits at the worst possible time, and you wonder if it's your fault.
Illustration of a calendar with a nuclear explosion in it

Management For Startups is for people like you!

Management For Startups is for managers on the startup treadmill. We cover the practice of management in an environment where things are always breaking, where you never have enough resources, and where managers won't have much time to improve.

Let's get started:




Latest Articles

Getting Process Change to Stick

You see some changes coming up in your org, and you want to initiate a process change before the pain hits. But your process change doesn't take. What do you do?


The Manager's Job Revisited

I've written many times on this site that understanding the manager's job is to 'increase the output of the team' has fundamentally changed the way I practiced management. This is a small update to that view.


Book Summary: Radical Candor

A summary of Kim Scott's 2017 management book, Radical Candor, focusing on the three novel techniques that she introduces as part of her framework for effective feedback.


When Delegating, Explain Why

It's easy to forget that context and intent matters a great deal when delegating a task. You don't want to be a bottleneck when something unexpected turns up; communicating executive intent is one way to free yourself from constant micro-management.



More Articles →


Latest Podcast Episodes

#22 Being the Shit Shield for Your Team

When you're protecting your team from outside events, how much is too much?


#21 Discovering Career Conversations by Accident

Thoughts on implementing Russ Laraway's Career Conversations in my management practice in Vietnam.


#20 When Delegating, Explain Why

Why providing context and communicating executive intent is important if you want your subordinates to make decisions on your behalf.



More Episodes →


Keep Your People: The Startup Manager's Guide to Retention

Keep Your People is a book about keeping your best people in the startup context. Out in April 2019.

Learn more →