Ridiculous Resource Requests
Vol 3. Growing with a Startup
Hey everyone 👋
I’m back in London for the first time since I left for Denmark in December. Copenhagen is polished, East London is raw. It feels good to be back.
This week I’m trying blogumentation: blogging as documentation.
Startups are more likely to succeed if team members make ridiculous resource requests. Yet, I rarely receive any. This week, I dig into how I (and you) can solve that.
Hope you all stay safe,
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Ridiculous Resource Requests
Ridiculous Resource Requests make or break startups.
We all know Regular Resource Requests: "We are swamped. Can we hire someone next quarter?"
Ridiculous Resource Requests are over-the-top-requests that help you hit goals: "We won't hit this goal. Unless: Our CEO emails X person. And the COO sends a company-wide message that I need 3 hours of everyone's time. And we get input from the board on question Y. And we have a daily standup with the whole leadership team. And I get £10,000 to spend on expert consulting next week."
Ridiculous Resource Requests are valuable. Startups are Default Dead. Hitting goals is what keeps you alive, not 'staying within budget'. Resource requests signal what it would take to hit the goals, even when requests are not approved.
But they are rare. I'm writing this because we get too few at Aula.
Team members don't have access to the full solution set. For example, they rarely know the board of directors. Or how much budget we could move across teams.
Team members lack context on the relative importance of their work. They don't know what's reasonable to request.
And, of course, some companies don't value Ridiculous Resource Requests.
My best guess for how to get more Ridiculous Resource Requests:
1. Share examples of Ridiculous Resource Requests.
Requests you wish you were drowning in.
At Aula, we like to receive requests for:
Entire new teams. For example, we recently 2x'ed our engineering team size over an 8-week-period. We had low-balled our product roadmap estimates. Hard. As a result, we raised a bit of external financing. But we will deliver on time.
Advisor and board member time. We have access to expertise in every single functional area, from marketing to engineering. They can brainstorm on strategic questions, help recruit, and make introductions.
Short-term capacity. Outsource menial tasks within 24 hours on Fiverr; virtual personal assistants provide admin capacity within 48 hours; short-term expert consultants can deliver major projects within a week. E.g.' help design a customer journey.'
Daily standups. Cross-team projects with tight timelines and ambiguity need daily iteration cycles. For example, our first university-wide roll-out required all hands on deck.
Coaching or mentoring. For example, we recently put a stressed new leader in touch with an executive coach within the hour.
2. Explain the value of your goals.
For example, 'if we sign 10 customers in the US, our enterprise value grows by 30 % in our next financing round. Spend money accordingly.'
Or, 'winning that contract is worth £x,000. You can spend up to half that on marketing experiments to win it.'
3. Encourage Ridiculous Resource Requests.
For example, budget for ad-hoc requests that speed things up; celebrate requests publicly; give every manager a discretionary budget.
Hit reply with other ideas.
Snippets from the Internet
Talent: “For my next startup, my first hire will be a recruiter” (twitter)
To be tested: “Unfortunately I have a policy against wet signatures. Please inform your compliance team.” 😼 (twitter)
Focus: At PayPal, Peter Thiel refused to discuss anything but people’s #1 priority with them. (essay about PayPal early days)