Food for Thought #9: Unicorn (Un-) Culture, Startup Survival, Evernote’s Decline

Age of Product’s Food for Thought on October 4th, 2015 on the survival of the fittest startups in the coming post-unicorn era, Evernote’s decline, agile gamification jumping the shark, the importance of customer care for scaling, the AoP poll for the biggest agile challenge and Mark Suster’s unicorn rant:

Catarina Fake (via Medium): The Age of the Cockroach

A Plague is coming to kill off the Unicorns, predicted by tech prognosticators everywhere. Inflated and unsustainable valuations, a shaky stock market, a weak China, and the aftermath of excessive enthusiasm are all pointing to the inevitable. And as the Unicorns fall, they will take many smaller and unmythical startups down.

Eugene Kim (via Business Insider): The inside story of how $1 billion Evernote went from Silicon Valley darling to deep trouble

Evernote, the note-taking app worth $1 billion, is showing signs of an ailing unicorn.

Depending on where you stand, Evernote is either a sinking ship or a maturing company going through a normal transition cycle. But most people we spoke to seem to agree that the company has failed to take advantage of its red-hot growth and make enough money from much of its huge user base — and is starting to show early signs of being an ailing unicorn.

Stefan Wolpers (via Business 2 Community): No More LEGO® At Agile Workshops – I Am Tired Of Building Airports

Age of Product Lego at agile workshop fad or trend

How I Have Been Practicing Processes in Recent Agile Workshops During the last 12 months, I participated in three inspiring workshops–I enjoyed all of them.

If an organization starts venturing out into the Agile world, the biggest challenge is always trust. To my experience, very few stakeholders are willing to entrust their personal careers to other people for the benefit of the doubt, given the magnitude of their perceived loss of control. If an organization wants be successful at the Agile transition, it all starts with the stakeholders’ belief that there will be a (also personal) return on investment for them.

Christa Collins (via First Round Capital): Lessons from the Woman Who Built Squarespace’s Customer Care Team from 1 to 184

Establishing customer care early is a very public gesture. It broadcasts: we plan to invest as much when the product is in your hands, as we do when it’s in ours.

Horace Dediu: What it means to be great

What makes a product great? I struggle with this question because being great is not just being better than good. Greatness is to goodness as wisdom is to smarts. Just like getting smarter and smarter may never make you wise, getting better and better does not mean ever becoming great.

Greatness is transcendental. It’s hard to pin down. It inspires debate. It divides as much as it unites. It creates emotions as much as thoughts. It builds legends. It engages and persists. It lives in memory and penetrates culture. It implants itself in our consciousness persistently, to linger and dwell in our minds while we are bombarded with stimuli.

Stefan Wolpers (via Age of Product): Agile Challenge Poll: Your #1 Issue At The Moment

Biggest Agile challenge poll: Everyone of us is dealing with numerous issues related to becoming, improving or even staying Agile every day. I would like to learn more about the spectrum of your Agile challenges. If you invest three minutes of your time, that would mean the world to me:

Click to complete the Agile Challenge Survey at Google Forms

Mark Suster: Why I Fucking Hate Unicorns and the Culture They Breed

Something is rotten in tech startup land. Don’t call me a hater for saying so. It’s not that I’m anti innovation or a disbeliever in disruption or calling it a full-scale bubble or saying every darling startup is going to fail. None of those. Still. Somebody posted too many party fliers. The uninvited crowds have …

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