Who I write for
Hi Friends! Sorry for the radio silence. With everything going on in Ukraine and with my own travels, I have been having trouble finding the right words. I put pen to paper last week and found myself writing an evergreen post to clarify the audiences I tend to think about when I write. There will be a mix of posts on here so I figured this would help clarify who I’m addressing with each one. I also got some loving feedback from my husband that my posts are too long so I promise I’ll try to shorten them!
I find that I end up writing for 3 audiences:
1) Founder/CEOs of companies that are scaling past the 50 employee mark, usually between 50-500 employees. It's a phase that I've spent a lot of time operating in, advising in, and talking about. It always feels like a complete shit show because it's the phase where you go from being just a team to being a real company, and everything that worked effortlessly and informally stops working all of a sudden. I love helping founders in this phase; it is when you have to really become a CEO and you have to really build a company in addition to a product. As examples, this is who I wrote the learners/guides post for (hoping to transfer over here and expand soon) and who I wrote the exec recruiting post for.
2) By extension, executives and managers inside of rapidly scaling companies tend to feel a very similar set of things to the founders mentioned above. A lot of the rules of thumb and advice I'd give to a founder scaling past 50 is the same thing I'd say to an executive or manger inside a company that is scaling to the hundreds or thousands. Both the posts linked above could just as easily be for a manager scaling their team in a bigger company, even though that’s not who I initially wrote them for. Being a manager in these companies is particularly complicated because you both have to deal with your own individual experience AND help your team. When your team goes from 2 to 50 in a year and you're both trying to keep your shit together and help everyone else, it is a particular type of rollercoaster. I know these feelings well to the point where it's become familiar and routine so all I can hope to do is pass some of the experience and lessons (and mistakes) on. Some posts I’ve been thinking about for all of you managers out there: “how to manage your high performers well”, “how to split someone’s role”, “the 3 fundamentals of management inside of the chaos hypergrowth”, etc.
3) the final audience is the individuals trying to navigate the particular chaos and opportunity of start ups as they build their career. This is who I originally wrote the Legos article for. Sometimes I think that nothing can prepare you for the experience of being inside a scaling start except doing it — “experiential learning” — but for those of us that have spent many years inside scaling start ups, it feels important to try to share what we know in order to normalize the experience and hopefully help folks thrive inside start ups, not just survive. I often think that the main thing the Legos article has done is tell people “what you're going through is normal” and “it's all going to be ok”. This is who I wrote the post about how you know when it’s time to leave for.
Ok so those are the 3 main audiences I think about when I'm writing. Maybe I'll even get around to labeling them at some point :)
I do want to acknowledge that I am constantly surprised when things I write apply to folks I never imagined. When the Legos article first came out, I got emails from every type of person imaginable including the types of people I had intended the article for — founders, leaders and employees inside rapidly scaling companies — and those that I hadn't — CEOs of 4 person companies, managers at companies as big as Safeway, etc. From your feedback I learned that posts I've targeted to founder/CEOs have been valuable for managers and execs. So you're always welcome to share feedback and thoughts — I learn so much from it. One of my main lessons from the last 15 years of both operating and sharing lessons is that work is emotional and it tugs on every part of our psyche (and working inside fast growing companies is like work at warp speed), and we don’t spend enough time talking about that or how to handle it.
Finally, as I regularly say, I love hearing what you want to hear about and what would be helpful to you so you are always welcome to email me with questions, comments, or feedback at email@example.com.
Hi Molly, I don’t think your posts are too long at all. They are long yes. They are also cogent and easy to read, and that is a skill!
Posts are ”too long” when the long content isn’t useful. That doesn’t apply at all to yours so please keep doing whatever you are doing.
PS: I’m a former operator scaling startups. Now a leadership and team coach and the lessons are still relevant.