Monday, November 16, 2009

70 hours times 6 founders

Currently a typical high-tech startup has up to three founders and, I would estimate, up to 50 hours of actual productive work per founder per week. (I would claim that most founders tend to overestimate their productive hours per week.)

One can have one of four strategies for scaling up the number of founders or increasing the work schedule to increase the number of productive man-hours:

1. Increase the number of founders, or the number of hours worked, without paying attention to the many difficulties that can ensue. Not too bright.

2. Don't bother increasing the number of founders or the number of hours worked, because it seems doomed to failure.

3. Increase the number of founders, and the number of hours worked, but understand the difficulties involved and take action to mitigate the risks and disadvantages.

The goal of option (3) is to go from the smaller to the larger rectangle, without suffering too great a loss in per-hour productivity:



How about we call the gray area "employees".


This would only be rational if the area of the larger rectangle corresponded to more value being produced. Without that hidden assumption there is no reason for this exercise. It is alluded to in "per hour productivity". Per hour productivity could also be increased in other ways such as using better tools and techniques, better winnowing of the important from the less important and so on. Increase hours worked as a top level topic seems rather empty.

Rolf Nelson

@samantha I agree you want to use the best tools and techniques available, and winnow the important from the less important, in any case, to improve per-hour productivity. None of this prevents one from also increasing hours worked. Total productivity = hours worked * productivity / hour.