[Notes] The Founder’s Guide to Discipline: Lessons from Front’s Mathilde Collin

So this week I got the chance to read this article by Mathilde Collin (CEO of Front). I’ve listened to several podcasts and interviews with Mathilde this year so I knew this was going to be good and this article definitely lived up to my expectations. Here are my notes from the article.

  1. The pressure founders put on themselves to have a far reaching plan isn’t always helpful or realistic – and it’s certainly not a predictor of future success. → Note: Working on the company’s vision is important but figuring out whether you’re disciplined enough to make it happen or not is a lot more important.
  2. What mattered more was that we were determined to turn this kernel of an idea into a real company through sheer will. → Note: Even for someone that dismisses long term visions, the idea of making something happen through pure will is still dominant.
  3. Making Progress: What metrics are you using in order to see if the company is succeeding? How are you orienting your entire team around them? How frequently – and consistently – are you communicating updates?
  4. Managing Time: Does your calendar actually reflect the priorities from above every single week? Is there an activity you aren’t spending enough time on? Do you have the discipline to disconnect and step away? → Note: Split week day in talking to users and building product.
  5. Fundraising: How are you managing your investors? Are you sending frequent updates on your progress, tightening your pitch and proactively building relationships? → Note: Focus on aprox. 5 partners. Move conversations beyond small talk.
  6. Expand weekly meeting to include key metric + structure (see templates below)
  7. Templates for Updates
    1. Investor – Monthly Update [Template]
    2. Team – Weekly Update [Template]
    3. Team – Daily Update [Template]
  8. Concentrate on a single metric. If it’s not improving, resist the easy comfort of letting up and focusing on something else. Stay the course. Note: For us it’s DAU. If the metric isn’t where you want it to be admit it. Don’t change it. If you do it’s an excuse.
  9. Don’t prefill you calendar but each week create a detailed list of Golden To-Dos.
  10. Have dedicated times to go through your inbox (2 30min-chunks seem to do the trick).
  11. The objective of discipline is to achieve results not to be discipline for the sake of discipline.
  12. When to raise? 1) You feel good about the business, 2) Reaching a marker set in the previous round and 3) Requiring additional resources to attain a new ambitious goal.
  13. Your state of mind is incredibly important, so look for the moments that make you excited and capitalize on them.
  14. Bring discipline to your deck by focusing on the story. Focus on the story not the deck.
    1. Here’s why we started the company
    2. Here’s why it’s working
    3. Here’s why it could be 100x bigger.
  15. Conduct due diligence on your investors
    1. Share some examples of when they’ve been caring
    2. What types of things did they typically challenge you on? Was it helpful?
    3. Tell me about a time when they dissapointed you. Did you feel like you could have an open discussion and give feedback?
    4. Looking back on the early days of your working relationship, how would you interact with them differently?