Tyler from Less Annoying Business here. Here's what's new:
This is now a monthly newsletter
In my last newsletter, I asked for feedback about how often I should send emails. I was pleasantly surprised by how many people responded (people actually read this? No way!) and the overwhelming consensus was that a monthly newsletter would be better than a weekly one. I get the impression that as the popularity of newsletters has exploded recently, we're all feeling a bit burnt out.
So as of now, I'll be sending one email per month. This is the one for September. Sorry to the people who said they prefer a weekly newsletter. If you'd like more frequent updates from me, make sure to follow me on Twitter.
Should you sell a product before building it? [Blog post]
I hear all the time that you shouldn't start building a new product until you've already sold it to some people to validate the idea. I disagree.
The problem with thought leaders [Blog post]
Continuing the theme of disagreeing with the experts I decided to write about why I think most thought leaders aren't actually sharing the advice we need to hear. I prefer listening to operators (people in the trenches doing the work) instead of people who are paid to make content.
What I've been working on
Related to Less Annoying Business (the blog/newsletter you're subscribed to and reading right now), I'm toying with the idea of starting a new podcast since Startup To Last (my former podcast) is now defunct. I'm pretty nervous because Rick was the perfect person for me to partner with and I don't have anyone quite as obvious to work with now, but I'm exploring options. I'm also considering other formats such as Youtube interviews with guests, and other things.
One thing I'm reminded of is how important it is to take risks sometimes. I've got a pretty comfortable situation with Less Annoying CRM, and I don't often need to take risks anymore. But I'm so glad I made a podcast with Rick, and if I want that kind of fulfillment again, I need to reach out to new people and risk the possibility of failure.
On the Less Annoying CRM front, things are moving. We've pretty much fully onboarded the new developer, and we're working on hiring a new CRM Coach (what we call a customer service rep). I thought it might be worth diving into that decision, because the truth is we don't need another person on the customer service team. So why hire someone we don't need?
The reason is that we do need more bandwidth on other projects at the company including recruiting and running the coding fellowship (a program where we teach people to code). We debated whether or not to hire a dedicated person for that, and ultimately we landed on hiring another CRMC to free up time for multiple current CRMCs to help out with the other projects.
It seems counter-intuitive to have support people do things like recruiting instead of hiring a specialist but I think that things like recruiting, HR, DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) etc. shouldn't be thought of as separate departments at a company. Instead, they should be the responsibilities of everyone at the company. The best engineering cultures have their engineers deeply involved in the recruiting process. The most equitable companies put the responsibility of equity on the shoulders of everyone, especially leadership. To hire a dedicated employee to handle those things almost seems like a form of outsourcing.
Time will tell whether this was the right decision, but I feel good about handling these important projects within each team.
Good stuff on the internet
I've been wanting to do something like this for a while, and it's great to see an example. Everyone is different. Some employees like being acknowledged publicly while others feel uncomfortable in the spotlight. Some like to be pushed hard, while others get anxious when the pressure is on. Understanding how each person works could be really helpful, so we'll probably have LACRM employees fill out a survey like this at some point.