“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

The Hard Thing About Disagree and Commit

Jeff Bezos popularised the concept of 'disagree and commit'. But what do you do when your boss decides to do something that your entire team disagrees with, and you have to do it anyway?


Being the Shit Shield For Your Team: How Much To Tell Your Subordinates

Part of being the manager is protecting your team from the randomness of your organisation. But this begs an important question: how much should you tell them? How much should you keep from them? In this post, we find out.


Copy Your Boss's Information Sources

Say you're new to a team, and you need to build up your toolbox of leading indicators as manager. One trick you have available to you is to watch your boss — because the likelihood is high that they're better at it than you are.


Understanding Your Boss's True Motivations

Everyone you work with has 'shallow' motivations and 'deep' motivations. Understanding your boss's true motivations is the first step to managing up.



More Articles →


Latest Podcast Episodes

#28 Executive Intent: Let Them Read Your Mind

We look at techniques, drawn from the US Army, that help us to give better, clearer instructions.


#27 People Judgment: Beware the Simple Narrative

When we judge people, it's important to resist the first narrative our brains generate. Here's why.


#26 The Hard Thing About Disagree and Commit

What should you do when your entire team disagrees with your boss, but you have to commit to the decision anyway?



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 →