Out of curiosity, how many employees are over on AppSumo right now Noah?
Good read as all sumo writing is. Most salient point in though is less about not doing the little stuff, it is more about product development:
"I guess the ultimate balance comes from identifying what is important to you. I still like updating Excel each month with my finances vs. using Mint.com (which I helped build). Doesn’t make it the “right” choice, but it makes me happy."
I just explained to my son yesterday that the point of running a business, of building a product, or creating something is to 'make' people happy. If people aren't happy when they are using my product or service, then at some level I have failed. I don't know that anyone can ever get to the point of making everyone happy, and we shouldn't try, but that is the quest of all product oriented people ... make people (aka your customers) happy. Otherwise, they will go back to using Excel, even if they helped build the product.
Dharmesh- I always read your articles. When you have guest articles, make sure they are up to your standards. It is good to have advice- but language matters too. This article is pretty irritating with derogatory comments on a particular sector. Seems arrogant. Make sure to edit your guest articles...please.
Don't listen to Daisy. That's Noah's style, and he learned from one of the best copywriters. Maybe 1/100 won't like it and they'll voice their opinion, and ruin it for the other 99%.
I love this idea. The hardest part is finding that right person to outsource to.
Noah, thanks for bringing this up. It is a common problem that more and more entrepreneurs are facing these days as startup teams are getting smaller and founders trying to do-it-all.
That's just the "sumo swagg" that Noah and Neville possess.
Anyone who sells anything online should take a page out of the appsummo book.
Do sumos read books?
thanks for sharing Dharmesh/Noah
Noah, great write-up as always. I think the tricky piece is that often simple tasks that only take a few minutes, can be completed more quickly than they can be by handing it off to someone else. This is especially true of one-off tasks. If it is a more common task then the issue is finding the person that can "own" the task going forward in order to successfully take it off your plate without you having to spend a lot of time overseeing that the task is really completed.
This is something I am constantly working on so thanks for the helpful advice.
Opportunity cost, the only useful concept I learned in my pretty useless Echon class during my engineering degree. The reason why an exceptional laywyer should never do his garden, no matter how good at gardening he may be.
How do you find people in India to outsource to.
Sorry - pretty arrogant article. Little respect for people who write arrogant nonsense like this - doesn't matter whether they were #30 on facebook or not. Each person's time is valuable in their own merit. Delegating is important - point well taken.
I agree about delegating. I think the root cause of delegation issues is lack of proper structure and funding. For example, how does a solopreneur with limited capital funding delegate tasks out? I'll keep an eye out, but haven't found much to date...
I'm with Daisy. Business is not only about business. It's also about respecting people and using professional language.
So Dharmesh Shah are you generating $100,000 revenue a day? If not, why do you think you are qualified to criticize entrepreneurs who are multiples more successful compared to you? You should learn from THEM, and not the other way around.
If an entrepreneur could only select one of the following:
1)$100,000 daily revenue
2)Act like a hotshot MBA and delegate everything.
I would easily pick 1) and so would most smart entrepreneurs. But after this article, it's obvious, you would pick 2).
Excellent article! At one point in my own internet start-up, I was in a 'do-it-all' mode which comes by default with your commitment. However, the key to success here is knowing what to delegate and what not to delegate. The best way I discovered to identify this is by making a list of all possible activities in the business, grouping related activities into a business function and then going for hiring spree.
The above (opportunity cost & delegation) should be obvious to an entrepreneur. The issue that I have often found is:
a) Finding the right partner to outsource to
b) Often one needs to spend substantial time with the outsourcing partner to ensure quality and meeting requirements. Yeah, this is an overhead which often beats the whole purpose of outsourcing or using help to get something done.
I would really love to see a post on what you think can be outsourced and why?
I read some criticism in the comments. I believe what Dharmesh is trying to say through this article is "Work ON your business" and not "IN your business". It is vital,that you focus on highest value thing for your business to grow faster. Seeing your own business from outside is an art and if you are doing everything yourself, you will loose the opportunity to steer it in the right direction.
Thanks everyone for your comments.
In terms of the tone of the article, that's Noah's personality and writing style. I refrain from over-editing guest posts -- I try to let them make the point they are trying to make in their own style.
I'm primarily focused on whether an article is interesting/relevant/useful.
To all those who are offended by the author's voice. Go pound salt. It is well known that Job's was an ass, but how do you separate the asinine from the awesome? You don't. Just accept and go on. This guy Noah is perhaps no less of an ass. But his ass makes a lot of people a lot of money. Does yours? How then do you justify the right and wrong way? And who by the way died and made you the arbiter? Is there any right or wrong way? Please, if you must take yourself so damn seriously, please do not foist your expectation on the rest of us.
Apologies for the comment, I should have provided context that I too have a Jewish mother. If you grew up with a typical one (which is amazing) that sentence makes a lot more sense.
No intention of offending anyone but more on each person valuing their time more effectively.
We have around 15 teammates. You should never be hiring employees.
How valuable is your time? living life with this mind set,could you possibly miss out on something? This article reminds me of a prominent business man that shared the value of his time and what it's worth. He used an analogy about having been invited to a lunch meeting and the time being requested. He was asked to lunch for an investment pitch. He said no! He went on to say, my time is too valuable to take 60 minutes out of my day for a $20 dollar lunch, then he went on to say he was even insulted that the man would ask for an hour of his time, in trade for lunch. "What does he think, I'm only worth $20 dollars an hour, that's B...Sh...T!" This is one out look on how valuable time is, but in the defense of the pitch man, you gotta eat, right? I guess the point being is when do you know your too important to meet and discuss a potentially lucrative new investment? Good Question! So to all you pitch men/women out there, remember, this may be where a very strong elevator pitch comes in handy, and something along the lines of, I only need 10 minutes of your time.. Not an entire hour. Who knows if the meeting goes well, you will most likely get your hour and then some. Thanks for reading. biztag.com
Good post. I felt the need to expand on it regarding the Entrepreneur's Most Valuable Asset: Time. I talk about how to save it, and how to value it: http://goo.gl/SdldA
Daisy: I am a Jewish mother and extremely proud of it and the fine, young men I have raised. In fact, they are very respectful to me, women in general and senior citizens. Try to read the article with an open mind for the insightful information it provides and not looking to be politically correct and one who just wants to create a confrontation. You are way too sensitive.
Definitely agree with Jay. Great article once again Noah, you keep amazing people with helpful tips and raw information.
Keep it up.
@Noah Kagan - you are right. If we say it from our experience it will not look that bad. Appreciate your humble attitude. Thank you.
@Debra Burke: I am Jewish or not (or you)- it doesn't matter. It is not about individuality at all. Even president is not above the law-right? Maybe I am sensitive. I expressed what I felt.
This article has very good information and Noah updated the comment in his perspective. So I am not in the middle anymore. :)
Couple problems with this article...
1. you're hiring someone in India instead of home grown just to save a few bucks. How about supporting your own country?
2. $4 an hour? Seriously? Thats an insult. If you want to outsource, then do it right, or don't do it at all.
You should be ashamed.
The basic premise of the article is sound - delegate to the least-cost competent person - apart from basic microeconomics and financial commonsense, this is also enabling.
This is an issue I confront most days. In the UK (where I grew up), the business culture is to delegate to the lowest possible level. Here in Singapore, it's more or less the reverse - pass tasks up the line until someone refuses to take it.
Having said that, over the years I have found that there are certain menial tasks that it really does pay to do yourself. It may be doing the washing up or making a delivery. The point here is that the culture of 'everyone does everything' makes employees feel part of the team - vital in a startup.
As an organisation gets bigger you do have to make more of an effort to keep in touch with different parts of the operation. For example, earlier in my career I was a marketer in very large companies. Every month, I spent a day with a sales rep, and I learned an amazing amout - both by direct observation and through improved information flow from salespeople. I have always gone to the R&D department in person rather than rely on emails, memos, scheduled meetings etc. The reason is that (especially in large companies), few marketers deign to enter a lab, so I had a uniquely close relationship with the R&D team - again with improved results.
So, while I totally agree with the delegation message, it has to be tempered with the need to have enough direct operational contact to remain involved.
I think you are viewing this with flawed logic. Your logic assumes a zero-sum game. Your logic ignore that a startup delegating to a lesser cost provider enables themselves to achieve more and thus are more likely to grow. And with growth there is a need to hire local people who can join your team doing things that are much greater, and better paid, than simple tasks.
So a startup outsourcing simple tasks benefits almost everyone; it gives the outsourcee a good job for their country's standard of living and it enables to startup to grow so it can hire local people to join the team at much higher rates. As a serial entrepreneur who is now on to his 3rd viable growth company, I have proven this thesis many times.
Really, the only one who looses is the person who in our local country can't be bothered
with personal growth and wants to continue to get highly paid for a low value job. Fortunately for everyone else, those kind of jobs are headed for extinction.
P.S. I'm not talking about about large company outsourcing just to increase profits, please understand there is a clear distinction.
Good nice share thank you..
yep, dumb article... seriously. Here's what this article says "let's not waste our time on dumb shit and we'll be super successful making $36M a year." Wow, sounds like someone right out of high school.