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#128:

Super excited to take over the reins on this newsletter! 
I've been lending a helping hand with the content over the last few months and Sera asked me (well, practically forced) to take over the driving seat this time around. 

But Sera obviously loves to get her comments in, so on this occasion, I'm sharing an excerpt I know she'd like to get in here (it also makes me sound kinda interesting) :P

Maanav, who works with us as an associate, fit into our team like a glove. He would have his own learnings to share, but to make it crisp for you I'll just write up his resume:
  • Cleaned ship decks in the middle of the ocean for three years
  • Navigated and planned transocean voyages for five years
  • Started his company and ran that for about 2 years
  • Successfully failed with a lot of learnings
  • Now is helping us grow by leading our communities function
I look forward to getting to knowing you better, and would love to hear from you! 
ज्ञान
There’s no debating that the most important asset of your company is your team. So when building your team, why wouldn’t you want to approach it with the same rigor that you approach building a product. With every new job requisition you create, it’s critical to create a unique sourcing strategy to attract and hire the right candidates. 
What exactly is a “sourcing strategy”? The process of finding candidates for a specific role. Different strategies will attract different types of candidates. Once you have a sourcing strategy defined, you will be able to measure how efficient your strategy is and make adjustments to improve the results. Recruiters use a combination of sourcing strategies for a specific job requisition. There is not one single way to approach finding the right candidate. Most searches require a combination of both inbound and outbound sourcing. The more niche/specific the search, the more outbound sourcing the search will require relative to inbound sourcing efforts. 
Building a company? You’ve got one very important decision to make, because it affects everything else you do. No matter what else you do, you absolutely must figure out which camp you’re in, and gear everything you do accordingly, or you’re going to have a disaster on your hands.
The decision? Whether to grow slowly, organically, and profitably, or whether to have a big bang with very fast growth and lots of capital.
The organic model is to start small, with limited goals, and slowly build a business over a long period of time. I’m going to call this the Ben and Jerry’s model, because Ben and Jerry’s fits this model pretty well.
The other model, popularly called “Get Big Fast” (a.k.a. “Land Grab”), requires you to raise a lot of capital, and work as quickly as possible to get big fast without concern for profitability. I’m going to call this the Amazon model, because Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has practically become the celebrity spokesmodel for Get Big Fast.
In 2015, Colin Huang founded his third company, Pinduoduo (PDD). By June of 2020, it had become China’s second largest ecommerce company and was valued at over $100 billion in the public markets. How did a company that helped farmers sell fruit on the internet rise so fast in a market dominated by Alibaba and JD?
Pinduoduo, meaning “together, more savings, more fun”, eliminated layers of middlemen and flipped the retailing model from being supply-driven to demand-driven. The team used a mobile-first approach that gave it a fundamentally different product DNA than incumbents. It used fruit as a wedge to combine consumption with entertainment and created a vertically integrated gaming company. It took advantage of down payments from suppliers and used stretched payment terms to create float out of customer transactions. It used that float to fund customer acquisition, and then leveraged clever growth tricks on an emerging distribution channel (WeChat) to acquire hundreds of millions of overlooked customers for practically free.
I’ve been lucky to have been part of building, advising, or investing in 40+ tech companies in the past 10 years. Some $100M+ wins. Some, complete losses. Most end up in the middle. 
One of my main observations is that there are certain companies where growth seems to come easily, like guiding a boulder down hill. These companies grow despite having organizational chaos, not executing the “best” growth practices, and missing low hanging fruit. I refer to these companies as Smooth Sailers - a little effort for lots of speed.
In other companies, growth feels much harder. It feels like pushing a boulder up hill. Despite executing the best growth practices, picking the low hanging fruit, and having a great team, they struggle to grow. I refer to these companies as Tugboats - a lot of effort for little speed.
What is the difference between these two types of companies? This is a question I’ve pondered for a long time and have pieced together a framework to explain the difference. The framework has many implications for how you seek out growth and build a company.  I hope it helps. 
Elsewhere
Quotable
Different roads sometimes lead to the same castle.”

― George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
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