With $1.67M in 2016 income, here’s what I learned with Technically Media

Harvard University’s Nieman Lab journalism trade publication profiled last week Technically Media, the digital media company I cofounded, for the first time since 2012 (that year we got both a profile and an expansion look).

This new profile, which you should read, seemed like a grand opportunity to revisit the check I made in 2015 when we surpassed $1 million in revenue for the first time. So to supplement my professional accomplishments of last year, I wanted to share a few notes included in the Nieman Lab report I find important.

Continue reading With $1.67M in 2016 income, here’s what I learned with Technically Media

Be a leader, not a founder

The truest goal for starting a company is to grow it to a stronger place of stability.

To battle a generational low point in business incorporation, we’ve built a solid drumbeat celebrating entrepreneurship. To complement this charge, we need a serious dialogue about transitioning founders into leaders, from the one who started a company to the one who is growing it.

As a cofounder of 25-person publishing company Technically Media who has interviewed hundreds of founders and CEOs along the way, I am experiencing this transition myself. To give yourself the best shot at success in business, you must know what your goals are. One of them should be looking for opportunities to make this transition from founder to leader.

That was the focus of a lecture and workshop I led at the second annual Fearless Conference, held by the precocious Melissa Alam, who has developed a wonderful community of (mostly) young women aspiring to build businesses of their own. Below I share my slides, some notes and reaction to my talk.

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Generalists and specialists: when to hire for habits and when not to

When you’re building a team, each role is best filled by someone on a range between generalists and specialists. The first is flexible but lacking expertise, and the latter is experienced but lacking range.

Of course, like the term use among animals, most of us are somewhere on a spectrum, but it still can be a helpful prism to see your applicant pool. Some celebrate the generalist and others honor the specialist but both are necessary and nuanced. And perhaps most important to remember: anyone can move along that spectrum, depending on their willingness and adaptability. But be conscious of your choices.

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Great leaders sit in the audience

There’s a feeling that persists that at some point in your career, you’re successful enough that you get to the stage.

You’re handed a microphone and you begin to share what you have learned, all that you have accomplished. You move from the crowd to the curated. And once you get there, the goal is to never go back.

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Entrepreneurs often start early: here are 5 of my own examples

Entrepreneurship has a legacy of leaders who got started early. That sense of independence, experimentation and motivation to be challenged appears to often be a natural instinct.

When I started Technical.ly in early 2009, I had no experience or real awareness of entrepreneurship. We’ve learned a lot, and in truth, I still remain a relatively inexperienced founder, but I have taken and enjoyed this early entrepreneurial experience.

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You can only succeed in building a business if you know what’s success: ‘Like a Boss’

The hard part of entrepreneurship may not be succeeding, as much as it is about deciding what success if for you. That might be the cause of so much argument about this moment of entrepreneurship — should it be wealth, mission, personal satisfaction, longevity, legacy or something else? More likely, it’s a mixture of them all, with your own happiness the leader, and deciding on that balance is part of the process.

But the point here is you can’t ever succeed in anything (including building your business) unless you know what you want to happen. That way you can optimize for whatever you most want.

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Don’t build a company for 60 days. Try 60 years: SAP CEO Bill McDermott

When you run a publicly-traded company with an $80 billion market cap, it’s easy to focus on the short-term. Strained by a year of declining share price, Bill McDermott, the first American CEO of German software giant SAP, says he’s far more focused on making an organization-wide shift that will better suit the company for the future.

“You can’t build a company for 60 days; build for 60 years,” he said.

I interviewed McDermott as a keynote for the IMPACT venture capital conference held by PACT in Center City Philadelphia last week. Find my coverage of our conversation here.

Every entrepreneur should be building a monopoly: Peter Thiel

Paypal cofounder, public intellectual and global tech entrepreneurship leader Peter Thiel is thoughtful in his perspective on economic growth. An interview with him was on our last Technical.ly podcast and an even longer conversation he had on a different podcast was even more enlightening.

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