Build a Team that Ships

I started my first company 15 years go, and I still can’t manage. I suspect that very few people can. With AngelList, we want a team of self-managing people who ship code.

Here’s what we do:

  • Keep the team small. All doers, no talkers. Absolutely no middle managers. All BD via APIs.
  • Outsource everything that isn’t core. Resist the urge to pick up that last dollar. Founders do Customer Service.
  • People choose what to work on. Better they ship what they want than not ship what you want.
  • No tasks longer than one week. You have to ship something into live production every week – worst case, two weeks. If you just joined, ship something.
  • Peer-management. Promise what you’ll do in the coming week on internal Yammer. Deliver – or publicly break your promise – next week.
  • One person per project. Get help from others, but you and you alone

    accountable.

If they can’t ship, release them. Our environment is wrong for them. They should go find someplace where they can thrive. There’s someplace for everyone.

It’s not perfect. We ship too many features, many half-baked. The product is complex, with many blind alleys. It’s hard to integrate non-engineers – they aren’t valued.

But, we ship.