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Revisit Your Basics

Trust your new hires; they can spotlight foundational flaws and areas for improvement.

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Revisit Your Basics
reading books in school
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Before Growth is a weekly column about startups and their builders prior to product–market fit.

I try to revisit my basics with every new project. Whenever I do so, the foundations of my work become stronger. In practice, these foundations are most often my habits and core beliefs.

Here’s a quote I like:

I’m not a great programmer; I’m just a good programmer with great habits.

Companies have habits, too. Bad teams have no control over their habits; great teams choose them carefully.

As Charles Duhigg explains in his book The Power of Habit, we can actively shape our habits if we track how and when they emerge. Mindful companies should actively look for chances to improve their workflows—for example, when a new person joins the team. New hires have to learn a company’s habits from scratch—but it’s often the company that should be learning from them, not the other way around. It’s a chance to review your group foundations.

Sometimes, the feedback’s harsh. A few weeks ago, I heard from a friend who works at a startup that had hired their first senior salesperson. The salesperson left just a week later. Why? They only had a chance to learn the company’s basics—and they ran away, terrified by what they had seen.

What are you building upon?

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Managing

Kamil Nicieja

I guess you can call me an optimist. I build products for fun—I’m a startup founder, author, and software engineer who’s worked with tech companies around the world.

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