“Essays was not written in neat order,
from beginning to end.
It grew by slow encrustation, like a coral reef” 1

0. Foundations

1. Why

2. How

Scar Tissue

Working on a startup is much more like racing a BMX bike than riding a roller coaster.

Being Spartan with Ideas

Do you leave your ideas to fend for themselves in the wild or keep them in a safe place?

Product Management

Try to complete as many loops as possible, getting a little bit better each time.


Here is some unusual advice for people working on a startup, or thinking about it: swim.

The Pit of Success

It’s not what the software does, it’s what the user does that matters.

Unit of Progress

Be specific: Where are we going and what will it take to get there?

Show Me the Money

Trying to decide how to fund a startup? It’s important that we ask the right questions.

How to Pitch

We realised that the most effective investment pitches all start with the same two words…


A portfolio approach to early-stage venture investment doesn’t really help and probably hurts.

Feedback Loops

How can we be more explicit about the sort of feedback that is useful, right now.

Machines & Phases

There are so many different ways to measure a startup. It’s easy to drown in metrics. How do we separate the signal from the noise?

M3: The Metrics Maturity Model

Use these simple steps to improve how we measure and report our progress.

How to Get Old

We only get to be each age once. How many will we waste trying to be something that we’re not?


What do we gain and what do we lose when we treat the world as binary?


What can rugby teams and rowing squads teach us about building and managing diverse teams?

Inconvenient Values

Why is it so hard to articulate and document shared team values?


A startup that goes well can be very rewarding. How do we ensure that everybody involved gets their fair share?

How We Win

How well does your team understand your plan to win? When was the last time you wrote it down or said it out loud?

Pining for the Fjords

Be honest: Can we get to the next milestone with the resources we have?

3. Who

4. Everything Else

1. Sarah Bakewell on Montaigne … or these essays too.