Building a Startup That Learns

PC: Founder Factory 2017 in Philadelphia

In a startup, life comes at you fast. With a blink, what was once important becomes irrelevant. The pace quickens with each stride, like a marathoner exceeding a personal best.

In the heat of the chase, I’ve heard busy startup leaders describe learning as “a luxury,” “fluff,” or “something mature companies do.” I’d argue this is a critical miscalculation.

When a startup stops learning; it starts dying.

Tactically, there are three areas of focus when designing a learning culture:

  1. How we work together
  2. What our customers need
  3. How we implement change

How we work together

✐ TIP: Try having each member of your team create a user manual (here’s mine) and share them at your next team meeting.

What our customers need

✐ TIP: Have everyone in your organization take a support shift with customers. Debrief on learnings.

✐ TIP: Whenever possible, use your product internally. People are best at fixing their own problems.

How we implement change

✐ TIP: Hold a monthly retro with your team. Use it as a natural inflection point for enacting new learnings.

Let’s build a learning culture. The future of work demands it.

Organizational Development Nerd, Edcamp Co-Founder, & Learning Scientist