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Instagram Finds Focus Under ‘Efficiency Guru’
April 13, 2017 | WSJ | By Deepa Seetharaman

Ms. Levine’s biggest contribution, Mr. Systrom says, is helping Instagram avoid the fate analyst Ben Thompson described: “Companies break every time they double.” [See reference to sublinearity in new book of Geoffrey West, “Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies” (Penguin). Specifically, "infrastructure growth scales in analogous sublinear fashion]

In 2014, Mr. Systrom said he realized he and his co-founder, Mike Krieger, needed help to grow Instagram. Facebook had bought the startup for $1 billion two years earlier, when it had just 13 employees. The pressure was on for Instagram to make money and roll out products at a more rapid clip, and the co-founders saw the need for an executive to manage the expansion.

Marne Levine is “an efficiency guru” who has helped the Instagram app avoid some of the pitfalls of rapid growth. Ms. Levine has skills that are in high demand in Silicon Valley, where startups often struggle to get past their adolescence. Uber Technologies Inc., for instance, is seeking a second-in-command to help founder Travis Kalanick repair the ride-sharing company’s image after allegations of sexism and sexual harassment and the departure of several top executives. “We want to be the 10x company,” Ms. Levine, 46, says. “That means we need to think carefully about how we set up our operations, how we grow and how we scale.”.....A seasoned manager can instill discipline and order, helping new companies avoid wasting time and resources while adding a veneer of professionalism to attract potential customers.
Instagram  Facebook  focus  scaling  growth  Snap  Snapchat  expansions  COO  efficiencies  sublinearity  powerlaw  product_launches  speed  blitzscaling  operational_tempo  10x 
april 2017 by jerryking
The Similarities Between Building and Scaling a Product and a Company – AVC
August 15, 2013 | AVC | by Fred Wilson.

Once you have a successful product in the market, you need to turn your attention to scaling it. The system you and your team built will break if you don't keep tweaking it as demand grows. Greg Pass, who was VP Engineering at Twitter during the period where Twitter really scaled, talks about instrumenting your service so you can see when its reaching a breaking point, and then fixing the bottleneck before the system breaks. He taught me that you can't build something that will never break. You have to constantly be rebuilding parts of the system and you need to have the data and processes to know which parts to focus on at what time.

The team is the same way. Your awesome COO who helped you get from 30 people to 150 people without missing a beat might become a bottleneck at 200 people. ....
How you fix your system and how you fix your team depends on the facts and circumstances of the problem. There is no one right answer. The key is removing the bottleneck so the rest of the system can work again. ...It is harder to instrument your team the way you can instrument a software system. 360 reviews and other feedback systems are a good way to get some data. And walking around the company, doing lunches with managers who are one level down from your senior team, and generally being open to and available for feedback is the way you get the data. When you see that someone on your team has maxed out and the entire system is crashing as a result, you need to act.
Fred_Wilson  scaling  teams  professional_service_firms  bottlenecks  COO  instrumentation_monitoring  soft_skills  turning_your_team 
october 2016 by jerryking
Four principles of operational excellence - The Globe and Mail
HARVEY SCHACHTER
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Aug. 05 2014,
COO  Harvey_Schachter  operations 
august 2014 by jerryking
4 Common Traits of the Best Chief Operating Officers
APRIL 4, 2014 | | Entrepreneur.com | Ryan Caldbeck.

1. They are strategic with a focus on details.
2. They appreciate talent.
3. They have no ego:
4. They are data driven:
COO  executive_management  ksfs  data_driven  humility  strategic_thinking  detail_oriented  best_of 
july 2014 by jerryking
The COO—An Enigma to Many | Venture Philanthropy Partners
When contemplating the COO role, it’s important to focus on substance over form. Specifically, the title of COO (the form) is much less important than an organization coming to grips with its need for effective operational management—that is, the management capacity (people, systems, and know-how) that allows an organization to ensure that its “trains run on time” (the substance). And, the colloquialism of the “trains running on time” means that things run effectively and efficiently, within budget, and with the information to know in a timely manner when they are (or aren’t) doing so.

But, an important caveat for good operational management comes from a favorite Druckerism: “It is more important to do the right thing, than to do things right.” I’d prefer a nonprofit producing meaningful, lasting outcomes for children and families that is an operational disaster to one that is “well-managed”, but having only incremental benefit in helping those they serve.

Effective operations must yield improved results. In business, this is measured in profits, market share, low employee turnover, and satisfied clients.... operational effectiveness? Well-written job descriptions, elaborate policies and procedures, human resource management guidelines and handbooks, expensive software systems, and a score of other things, in all honesty, have little to do with it. These are merely symbols, not the essence of good operations. If you have a clear vision of your work that is commonly shared, if people know what to do, if they care deeply and are well-trained and equipped for their work, if they feel respected and heard, if there is good internal communication, if programs are of high quality, if leaders demonstrate a continual need for the organization and those in it to improve, and if you establish a rigor and integrity in how all of this is managed by using timely, factual information and managerial common sense—then you can have “good operations.”
COO  executive_management  operations  Peter_Drucker  on-time 
july 2014 by jerryking
Using a Board Seat as a Stepping Stone - WSJ.com
NOVEMBER 4, 2010 | Wall Street Journal | By JOANN S. LUBLIN.
More boards now seek active executives below the CEO level, especially
those savvy about hot areas such as compensation, global marketing, risk
management and digital media. Non-CEOs account for 26% of new
independent members on the boards of Standard & Poor's 500 concerns,
concludes a Spencer Stuart analysis of their latest proxy statements.
That's up from 18% in 2000. (Both figures include some retirees).

Pursuing a business directorship involves "matching skill sets and
cultural fits,'' observes Denise Morrison, the new chief operating
officer of Campbell Soup Co. She spent years prepping for her first
public-company board assignment – by getting nonprofit experience first.
boards_&_directors_&_governance  cultural_fit  movingonup  executive_management  volunteering  nonprofit  Joann_S._Lublin  COO  Campbell_Soup  digital_savvy 
november 2010 by jerryking

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