Today we speak with Women Innovate Mobile mentor, Anne Libby.
Anne is the founder and owner of Anne Libby Management Consulting LLC. Anne brings over 20 years experience as a general manager, and an advisor on general management to founders, business owners and senior leaders. She’s a member of the Women in Wireless mentorship committee, and is a founder and leader of the Wharton Women in Business Alumnae Group. She’s also an infrequent and regular blogger.
What’s the worst mistake a founder can make?
Choosing the wrong partner or partners. Yes, compatible personalities and skillsets are important. Shared work style, financial goals and time horizons are also important.
What’s the most common startup error?
Hiring quickly, firing slowly. On a related note, failing to have a disciplined process for making hiring decisions is the first mistake.
What does “fail fast” mean to you?
I originally planned to pursue a career in science, and like to think about projects and products as experiments. Develop a hypothesis and test it. If it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t, let it go and move on.
If you could fix one thing in the startup ecosystem right now, what would it be?
I’d love to see more startups recruiting from the huge talent pool of mid-career people who’ve been cut loose by larger firms.
Yes, I know that there’s a cultural gap between large firms and startups. Some people can leap that gap. (And a disciplined hiring process would help you to identify them.)
What should startups be focusing on in 2013?
The notion of “making” is very powerful.
When you’re starting a company, think about “making” the company, itself. It’s going to be a community. Make a community that you – and the good people you want to attract – want to live in.
When’s the right time to seek funding?
That’s not my bailiwick! I’ll leave that one to your experts in that area.
Thoughts on crowdfunding?
Most of us ordinary humans should be heavily invested in index funds, especially if we’re in early-stage companies. Founders and early employees already have enough risk in their financial portfolios. Or at least, that’s what I learned in b-school.
Prospective founders considering crowdfunding would be smart to start off by creating a project they could fund via Kickstarter. This would serve as an experiment for what it would be like to execute on a project with a crowd of outside stakeholders watching.
Best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Send a thank you note.
Guess who’s coming for dinner. Who would be your dream dinner guest(s) and why?
I wish I could have shared a meal with the FDNY’s Captain Patrick Brown, who died on 9/11. Pat’s life exemplifies triumph over hardship, servant leadership, compassion, a commitment to excellence and the value of building strong, lifelong relationships.
Anything else you’d like to add?