Polyvore CEO Jess Lee on what makes startups successful

From an interview with Jess Lee:

We have three values. The first one is “delight the user.” The others are “do a few things well’ and “make an impact.”

We believe that you have to keep things as simple as possible, edit out the things that are unnecessary or extraneous and focus on polishing the details. This applies to our user experience, as well as to the processes in the company. A pretty extreme example of this is that we did a “simplification month” in January. We just asked everyone in the company to make a list of everything that they do, identify the things that are important, and for the rest of the list, simplify it, optimize it or delete it so we can get the company to the simplest possible state. It’s really important to take the time to clean up all the entropy that otherwise will happen.

(1) Jess came from Google, and Google’s Ten Things We Know To Be True start with Focus on the user and all else will follow, and It’s best to do one thing really, really well. Jess has reduced Google’s ten principles to three — perhaps itself an application of the second principle, to focus like crazy.
(2) My experience in Seeking Alpha has been that extreme focus is only possible when you have a clear sense of what makes the biggest difference. Similarly, it’s hard to achieve excellence without extreme focus.
(3) So Jess’s three values are causally linked in reverse order: First, figure out how to maximize your impact. Second, from that derive extreme focus. Third, thereby delight the user.

2 thoughts on “Polyvore CEO Jess Lee on what makes startups successful

  1. Pingback: How to ensure your company is customer-centric, and the challenge for ad-supported services | A Founder's Notebook

  2. Pingback: A simple rule for pitching your startup or product | A Founder's Notebook

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