Startup Rules

I read a recent blog post by Mark Cuban on rules that startups should follow. This seems to be a popular topic in some blog circles. Mark was blogging in response to another blogger’s post on the subject. Some of the things Mark said made a lot of sense. However there were some controversial recommendations as well. I guess that is what makes for a good blog post.

Here are the hot topics that Mark recommended. He said there should be no offices in start up. There only needs to be one big open space. Startups should not buy SWAG. They should never hire PR firms. And they should also not buy espresso machines.

The real interesting part of the blog post was all of the comments. Some people said that although the rules made sense, they would be difficult to follow. Some readers felt that it was good for a startup to not spend money unless there was a current need. The main comments seemed to center around the rules about no offices. People chimed in that productivity of developers goes way up if you have offices. Other people pointed out that it would be detrimental to be on a sales call when there was a lot of noise in the background due to the open space.

A lot of people commented that they used PR firms successfully in startups. And a bunch of coffee drinkers said Mark was absolutely wrong about not having espresso machines. This seemed to be a religious debate issue.

Personally I drink soda with caffeine. I liked when a small company I worked for provided free drinks. It was a small cost to them. It paid off well with the developers. I can also attest that having a real office with a door helps both productivity and phone calls I need to make. There is something lost when you are not all in a room together. However I strongly prefer the office.

Startups are a special case of the normal workplace. You might have some rules that differ there. I bet the best rules may even differ between the types of startup. The emphasis should not be on the rules themselves. It should be on the value that the startup provides its customers. Or more importantly, how well does the startup company fare.